Dear Friends and Colleagues
A People's Food Policy for England
It is widely acknowledged that agriculture is one of the sectors that will be faced with the most uncertainty as a result of the UK leaving the EU. Rising food prices are an issue, while migration restrictions are set to have an enormous impact on the availability of workers in the agricultural sector. Meanwhile, resilience in the face of weather or economic shocks, rather than efficiency alone, has emerged as a major agricultural concern. Over 8.4 million people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland experience food insecurity and struggle to eat even one meal a day.
A manifesto called 'A People’s Food Policy' has been launched, outlining a people’s vision of sustainable food and farming in England, which is supported by over 80 food and farming organisations, and giving policy proposals for transforming the food system. The report draws on 18 months of extensive, nation-wide consultations with grassroots organisations, NGOs, trade unions, community projects, small businesses and individuals.
The report identifies fragmented policy-making and a democratic deficit as the two main problems with the governance of food in England. It argues that policy, legislative framework and a Food Act is needed that, “integrates the compartmentalised policy realms of food production, health, labour rights, land use and planning, trade, the environment, democratic participation and community wellbeing.”
It also identifies the industrial farming model as the factor that has led to an ecological crisis, a crisis for farm livelihoods and a crisis in diets in the UK. As such, “the real solution is not to tweak or to conform to the current system, but rather to transform it based on the principles and practices of agroecology”.
The report calls for a people's food policy to be based on: practising the principles of food sovereignty; democratising the governance of the food system; changing the way food is produced including promoting the use of agroecology; making good and healthy food accessible to all; reforming land governance; valuing work and improving social conditions; designing a food system that works with nature; improving education, innovation and research; reorganising food trade and localising markets; and funding a better food system.
The full document is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lmNM8IZCecNlBHWVl3QzNFTWs/view
With best wishes,
A PEOPLE'S FOOD POLICY
Transforming our Food System
Section A: Working Towards a People's Food Policy
We have a vision of a food system where:
There is strong democratic control and participatory governance over our food system. Food and farming policy-making includes the active participation of a vibrant and politically engaged civil society.
Sustainable farming, fishing and horticulture provide healthy food for all, while enhancing the environment, strengthening communities and supporting good livelihoods for farmers, food workers and fisherfolk.
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.
Land is recognised and valued as an essential resource for food and shelter and the basis for numerous social, cultural and spiritual practices. Land is no longer treated and traded as a commodity; instead, it is understood as a common good of the people.
We enjoy a healthy and thriving food system that supports the wellbeing, social welfare and economic stability of people working in it. Everybody earns a living wage and works in a safe environment, free from all forms of exploitation, discrimination and racism.
Resilience is at the heart of farming, fishing, processing and distribution. Our food systems works within the finite limits of our earth, protect and regenerate natural resources and communities, build soil, cool our planet and preserve our rich inheritance of agricultural biodiversity.
People’s values and perceptions have shifted to support a more democratic and diverse food system by building stronger links between farms, food workers, schools, adult education programmes and communities. This system provides for the intellectual and cultural needs of everyone, as well as their nutrition.
Food is still traded internationally but is not treated simply as a commodity ripe for speculation.
There are a diverse range of places where food can be purchased including farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture schemes, online distribution networks, and independent and community retail outlets. These markets provide nutritious, delicious and affordable food for everyone.
Justice, sustainability and resilience have been prioritised by the government, as an investment in the wellbeing and prosperity of our future generations. This is a food system which guarantees everybody’s right to food, that protects and regenerates our land, rivers and seas, and pays people fairly for the work they do.