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Food system shakedown overdue, but gathering pace

Just in case it has escaped your attention in all the noise from Westminster and Brexit, there are some fundamental changes coming downstream in the UK food system in the years ahead. Firstly, after two years work the RSA Food, Farming & Countryside Commission has just released its report called Our Future in the Land, together with a supplementary guide called Field Guide for the Future.

For a long time, many people involved in the UK’s food system (from farm to plate) have been concerned about the interconnectivity of a multitude of troublesome issues – such as farm impacts on the environment, the degrading rural economy, and the linkage between the condition of our soils, animal wellbeing, and human health. As pointed out at the report’s London launch event, more people are now dying from “conditions” contributed to by poor diet, than are dying from the “diseases” that so heavily affected previous generations.The Commission’s work has taken a uniquely joined up view of these highly systemic issues.

If implemented the Report’s recommendations will have far-reaching consequences, not just for those involved in the food sector, but for the population as a whole over the next ten years. We strongly recommend taking a deeper look. The Launch event can be watched on video here:

https://www.thersa.org/events/2019/07/our-future-in-the-land

And the report can be read here:

https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/future-land

What is particularly compelling is that the Secretary of State for the Environment, The Rt Hon. Michael Gove has now appointed Henry Dimbleby to head up the development of a National Food Strategy. Many people in our sector will know Henry as one of the founders of Leon Restaurants, and London Union. Fewer will know that he is also a Non-Exec Director of DEFRA.

His work will see the publication of a number of “visions” for the food system by the end of year, which will then be developed into identification of the transitionsthat need to take place, at which point the plan will be delivered to DEFRA for development into a government White Paper.

More details can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/developing-a-national-food-strategy-independent-review-2019/developing-a-national-food-strategy-independent-review-2019-terms-of-reference

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