Last week saw the launch of A People’s Food Policy – a manifesto outlining a people’s vision of food and farming in England.
The report draws on 18 months of extensive, nation-wide consultations with grassroots organisations, NGOs, trade unions, community projects, small businesses and individuals (including LESS!) It has resulted in a set of policy proposals and a vision for sustainable food in the UK that is rooted in the lived experiences and needs of people most affected by the failures in the current food system.
It’s widely acknowledged that agriculture is one of the sectors that will face the most uncertainty as a result of the UK leaving the EU. Rising food prices is an issue that has already been frequently reported on in the media, while migration restrictions are set to have an enormous impact on the availability of workers in the agricultural sector.
In the face of this uncertainty, the People’s Food Policy proposes a way forward- arguing that policy, a legislative framework and a food act is needed that brings together the fragmented policy realms of food production, health, labour rights, land use and planning, trade, the environment, democratic participation and community wellbeing.
Heidi Chow, food campaigner for Global Justice Now commented:
“The new Environment Secretary. Michael Gove commented last week that the UK can have both cheaper and higher quality food after Brexit. But the experience of many UK farmers and growers suggests that cheaper food prices must be paid for through lowering environmental and social standards across the farming sector. Instead we need to see greater regulation of the food retail sector to ensure farmers everywhere are paid a fair price for their produce.’’
Many countries in Europe and around the world have already begun to adopt progressive frameworks like food sovereignty and the ‘right to food’ into regional and national legislation in an effort to create a more stable and just food system. Scotland is in the process of adopting national food policies and is currently developing a ‘Good Food Nation Bill’, while England has yet to make any progress.
It’s now time for the England to join this movement and the People’s Food Policy paves the way.
Dee Butterly, coordinator of A People’s Food Policy, said:
“The lack of a coherent, joined-up food policy framework in England is becoming increasingly problematic. In this country we have shameful levels of food insecurity, with food bank usage rising year on year, and an estimated over eight million people now in a state of such financial precarity they can’t afford to eat. The way our food system functions and is governed needs to radically change. We need to develop a national food policy in the coming years that transforms our food systems and that puts equality, resilience and justice at the forefront. As Brexit negotiations begin, we urge politicians to seriously consider this blueprint for a progressive national food policy which supports a food system where everybody, regardless of income, status or background, has secure access to enough good food at all times, without compromising on the wellbeing of people, the health of the environment, and the ability of future generations to provide for themselves.”
Download the report from www.peoplesfoodpolicy.org