Farmers and consumers across East Devon can take part in the first major review of the UK’s food system for more than half a century.
The government has launched a ‘call for evidence’ so that everyone has a chance to shape the way food is produced, sold and consumed.
Views shared will inform the country’s biggest review of the food system in almost 75 years.
Led by entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby, the review aims to ensure the food industry is ‘fit for the future’, supports growth, enhances the environment, and is resilient to the challenges posed by climate change.
The review will look at what is working well already and the role of new technology to revolutionise our food supply – from innovations like vertical farming and robotics, to carbon neutral manufacturing and crops that tackle climate change.
Defra says ‘no idea is too big or small to be considered’.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “As well as keeping us alive and healthy, food plays a central role in our culture and our national life. The threats from climate change, loss of biodiversity and the need to deliver safe and affordable food gives rise to new challenges we must address.
As we leave the EU and seek to capitalise on the opportunities this can provide for the UK’s farmers and food producers, we have the chance to reshape our food system from farm to fork to ensure it is ready to deal with these 21st century pressures.”
Mr Dimbleby said: “We’re launching the call for evidence to gather insights and inspiration to help transform our food system.
“These could be policies or ideas that make it easier for us to make more informed decisions about the food we eat; that make food production more environmentally sustainable; that help food businesses and communities to thrive; or that could put our country at the forefront of innovation in the coming years.
“Whether you are someone who works in a food business, a farmer, a food processor, an interested citizen – whoever you are – we want to hear from you. We can’t wait to read your submissions and hear about your ideas”.
Food system ‘tinkered with’
Prue Leith CBE restaurateur, food writer, cookery campaigner and broadcaster believes the UK has ‘tinkered with food and food education’ for too long.
She said: “We really need to grasp the nettle and do something radical. The National Food Strategy is an opportunity not to be missed, for our generation and for our children and grandchildren.
Minette Batters, National Farming Union President, said: “British food is amongst the best, safest and most affordable in the world and UK farming plays a crucial role in providing the raw ingredients that form the backbone of our country’s food system. It’s time we took pride and interest in our food industry, which is worth over £120 billion to the national economy and employs 4 million people.
“The NFU is pleased to work with Henry Dimbleby to continue the development of a food system that delivers high quality, safe and affordable food for all.”
National Food Strategy
Professor Judy Buttriss, Director General of British Nutrition Foundation, said: “The call for evidence to help develop Defra’s National Food Strategy provides an opportunity to shape a strategy that looks at food, nutrition and the environment in the round, through multiple lenses. The opportunity should not be missed.
“Good nutrition is as much about eating more of some things as it is about cutting back on others. The integrated message of variety, balance and nutrient density – making every calorie count – needs to be reflected in food production right through to what we teach children in school.”
Iain Ferguson, Industry Co-Chair of the Food and Drink Sector Council, said: “The National Food Strategy offers a once in a generation opportunity. We encourage everyone in the industry to contribute their ideas to help create the sustainable food system of the future. The Food and Drink Sector Council will give Henry Dimbleby and the review its full support.”
To take part in the review or for further information, click here.