New report calls for ‘major changes’ to food and farming policy

Ten UK organisations including the Soil Association, Friends of the Earth and the National Trust have united to challenge future Governments 'to fix our broken food system' and invest in sustainable farming.

The organisations, which also include the Food Ethics Council, Sustain and the RSPB, have today (14 July) published a new report called Square Meal: Why we need a new recipe for farming, wildlife, food and public health. (Scroll down for full report).

The report focuses on four key areas, including ‘Investing in a resilient farming system’, which it claims ‘is crucial to securing our food supply in the face of shocks to the system likely from climate change, rising populations and dwindling resources’.

The Soil Association’s chief executive Helen Browning said: “The future of our farming industry depends on meeting consumers’ expectations for healthy food, a thriving, beautiful, and wildlife friendly countryside, while cutting pollution, resource use and greenhouse gases – quite a challenge.

“This report sets out some of the solutions, and aims to start a debate on how we achieve them.”

Long-term view

The Square Meal report demonstrates the need for ‘major changes to national food and farming policy’; calling for more transparency, traceability and fairness across the food supply chain, ‘so that we all see the benefits, from field to fork’.

It aims to start a collaborative discussion in the run up to next year’s General Election and to influence future Government policies on these issues.

The Food Ethics Council’s executive director Dan Crossley said: “Ensuring transparent, traceable and fair supply chains, investing in environmental sustainability and taking a long-term view are all crucial steps to achieving sustainable food and farming systems.

“And acknowledging the links between poverty, inequality, the environment and poor nutrition is another crucial step in providing good food for all.”

Wider discussion

The RSPB’s head of agricultural policy Abi Bunker added: “We know how deeply people care about nature. The ongoing disappearance of iconic and much-loved wildlife from our countryside, set out so clearly in the recent State of Nature report, needs to stop.

“We hope this report stimulates a wider conversation that will help us devise better food and farming policies to get what we all want and need in the future.”

Square Meal concludes with calls for stronger Government leadership in planning the future use of land, food policy, farming and conservation in England and for wider public engagement on issues that affect the whole of society.

REPORT: Square Meal: Why we need a new recipe for farming, wildlife, food and public health


Luke Nicholls

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