The Soil Association has published a new report, Food Futures: Strategies for resilient food and farming.
It calls for a new cross-Governmental food strategy, and includes a series of recommendations for building resilience into our food systems including:
- Raising the target for greenhouse gas cuts in agriculture from 6% to at least 20% by 2020, in line with other sectors;
- Increasing farm payments to those farmers who maximise carbon storage in the soil – and making the minimisation of soil carbon losses a condition of the Common Agricultural Policy subsidy payments;
- Increasing research and development funding for sustainable farming from 11% to at least 50%;
- Promoting healthy diets linked to the outputs of a more sustainable food system – i.e. less meat and much more seasonal and organic vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and starchy carbohydrates (with red meat and dairy reared on grass preferable to intensive pork and poultry reared on grain);
- Supporting public sector caterers to increase the amount of unprocessed, locally-sourced and organic food they serve; and
- Encouraging local authorities to re-introduce ‘growing belts’ and market gardens close to urban centres – and create more allotments to encourage family and community ‘grow your own’ initiatives.
The Soil Association’s Policy Director, Peter Melchett, said:
“We’ve got to make fundamental changes to food and farming if we’re going to meet the Government-agreed climate target of a cut in greenhouse gas emissions of 80% by 2050 and reduce the £6 billion burden on the NHS from diet-related illness.
“We need a joined-up strategy that links changes in diet to changes in our food systems. We can’t make plans for what people might eat in future in a different box to how that food is produced.”