The world needs to feed a growing global population in a less damaging and more sustainable way. That applies in a UK context as well as globally. The Government's approach appears to be focussed on the concept of 'sustainable intensification'. Intensifying production risks damaging the environment and society. The Government needs to make sure this does not happen.
The Government does not yet have a strategy that unifies policy areas that impact on food production, supply and demand in a way that drives the system as a whole towards greater sustainability. The Government's Green Food Project could provide part of the answer, but is not covering all aspects of sustainability and risks delivering a food policy which focuses too much on increasing yields at the expense of delivering a more fair and a more equitable food system. It could be used, nevertheless, as a foundation for the joined-up cross-departmental food strategy which is required to deliver a food system in the UK that is sustainable and takes account of people's health and the needs of their communities, as well as the environment. In particular, that food strategy must:
- Provide producers (including local and small producers) with fair access to markets, and customers with access to healthy and less environmentally impacting foods (including local food networks);
- Provide consumers with the knowledge and information they need to make informed choices about food that is better for their health and the environment and reduces waste; and
- Deliver research in the priority areas which we have identified, to improve and develop existing agricultural, food processing and distribution practices with fewer environmental impacts.