Here's Martin Lines, chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network's thoughts on the Food Summit hosted by the Prime Minister and DEFRA this week:
"The last 18 months have highlighted the fragility of our food system, which has lurched from one crisis to another. With extortionate input costs, weather extremes and soaring food prices, it’s been a challenging period, to say the very least. What can’t be ignored in conversations about food security is how these circumstances lock heads at the same intersection: climate change, nature loss and dietary ill-health.
Clearly, we need to devise solutions, and it’s welcomed to see food and farming moving higher up the political agenda. The Summit has helped sharpen minds on the need for remedial action. There were welcomed announcements in better support for our beleaguered horticulture sector, renewed commitments on trade, maintaining the independence of the Grocery Code Adjudicator and reviews into supply chain dealings.
But whether the Summit’s mission to tackle food security drives tweaks of the status quo or genuinely grasps the complexity and enormity of the challenge, addressing the root causes and not just the symptoms, remains to be seen. Questions about the long-term resilience of our food system very much remain.
The Summit was narrow in scope, owed to the tight window the collective had to right the food system’s wrongs. Self-sufficiency was a talking point. Welcomed, in my view, if it weren’t for the glaring omission in linking self-sufficiency and our own security to the pressures of impending climate and ecosystem breakdown."