National Food Strategy Published
The food we eat – and the way we produce it – is doing terrible damage to our planet and to our health. The global food system is the single biggest contributor to biodiversity loss, deforestation, drought, freshwater pollution and the collapse of aquatic wildlife. It is the second-biggest contributor to climate change, after the energy industry.
The Government has made a legal commitment to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, and pledged to ensure that 30% of our land is protected for nature by 2030. In order to meet these commitments, we will have to ask a lot from our land – and from those who tend it.
The farming sector itself will have to become carbon neutral: something the National Farmers’ Union has already committed to. But some areas of farmland will also have to be repurposed or adapted so that they actively sequester carbon, mopping up the emissions from those industries (such as air travel and heavy industry) that will still largely depend on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. All this, while maintaining a steady supply of affordable food. We will have to produce more food from the remaining land, without resorting to the kind of intensive farming practises that have already done so much damage.
The National Food Strategy contains recommendations to address the major issues facing the food system: climate change, biodiversity loss, land use, diet-related disease, health inequality, food security and trade.