New food systems

In my book 'Bittersweet Brexit' I argued that we could use the £3+B 'CAP' subsidies that go to landowners to pay landworkers instead, getting them up to Living wage status. But how would we physically do it? Difficult, especially as DEFRA is so bad at distributing 'EU cash'.

Since then I thought it may be better and more feasible for the money to go to local authorities to distribute according to local needs - realising that producing local food is not only the best thing to do for the environment globally, it is also the best thing for rural neighbourhoods (see Preston Model'). We can also make a good case that short food chains are a lot better for our health than ultra-processed food.

But here is a step further! Beetroot Bond suggests: "Every person in the UK could be given a monthly dividend to spend on fresh, healthy, locally produced food as part of radical proposals to reform the farming system and avert the twin crises of climate change and deteriorating public health.

We need a new vision for global governance that is much more localised.

"An updated version of Keynes’ idea of a global central bank, the International Clearing Union or ICU, and an international currency keep the global economy in balance. ... both deficits and surpluses would essentially be taxed. The money raised would be channelled into a global sovereign wealth fund that could be used to invest in things that were of use to the global community. Varoufakis recommends using such a fund to invest in a global green new deal. "

A successful food system is one that delivers "high well-being, social justice and environmental stewardship. This New Economics Report identifies eight indicators "

Rethink going in the opposite direction

National Food Strategy launched to plan a radical shake-up of the UK’s food industry.

'British shoppers will be able to buy environmentally friendly, healthy and affordable food'

New Green Deal

"Whilst farm payments and the replacement of the EU Common Agricultural Policy in a post-brexit Britain have received much attention, this is not the case for other areas of government spend that could be harnessed within a Green New Deal. Prioritising sustainability in work funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (repatriating between £6bn and £10bn of EU structural funds); the Food and Drink Sector deal; and funding for research and innovation; all should be used towards the priorities of a Green New Deal, investing in enterprises that are pioneering the way for a more circular food economy, reusing surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, and keeping value in the supply chain. Or investing in local food infrastructure such as abbatoirs,processing and markets, which would benefit communities across the land. More policy, planning and investment support for diverse food retail could create enterprise and jobs whilst rejuvenating high streets." from 'What could a New Green Deal mean for food & farming'

This echoes moves in USA

"The Green New Deal must replace these costly, destructive policies with expanded public investments, supply management, and parity policies that prioritize fairness and assistance for small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers and related businesses that make up the backbone of rural economies."

Food Citizens

How about Food citizenship rather than food consumers?

"This idea tells us, and others, that we are not just consumers at the end of the food chain, but participants in the food system as a whole. It tells us that we have the power not just to choose, but to shape the choices on offer. " Full Report
Sustainable Food Cities can can join up local and national food strategies "What do we “get”? What is our gravity? What draws us together is the natural instinctive understanding that food is the staff, the stuff of life.
'Beacons of Hope' 21 case studies from around the world about how people have transformed their food systems. "By sharing experience we can connect diverse experiences and strengthen our understanding of how to transform food systems'Become a food citizen rather than consumer. "We are not just consumers at the end of the food chain but participants in the food system as a whole. We have the power not just to choose but to shape the choices on offer, and to make our food systems fairer. We can and indeed are starting to work together, seeking not just what’s best for ourselves as individuals but what’s best for us as communities and societies."


We need to establish our 'Identity' in order to determine what sort of food and farm future we want. This is complex and starts - especially for the English, in terms of what being 'British' means.


Written 10 years ago, by Marwood Yeatman in the ‘Last Food of England’: "“To re-establish itself as a place to eat, rural England needs relabeling as terroire, populated by terrroire-istes, as in France and other European countries. It is already happening through the EU rather than because of any interest in food shown by the British government. The rest is up to customer participation and fidelity, a funny, old-fashioned idea thrashed into me by a pitiless parent. If you keep asking for the pork in Tamworth, you will get it.” I once bought a Tamworth pig for our farm, from the border country...see book for the tale. This is another worrying aspect of Brexit, as we may loose these interconnections we had with friends and EU funds to exchange ideas like 'terroire'!Food Assemblies across UK


Dig deep for fair pay on farms quotes Julie Brown, Growing Communities’ director, who says "her mission is to feed urban communities locally in a way that is fair and sustainable in the face of corporate dominance and climate change". P 219 in Bittersweet Brexit says "Workers in some food industries will feel threatened. At present the whims of markets control what is going to happen. However, we are looking a long way ahead. The changes proposed are not going to happen overnight. For organised workers this is the time to implement ‘just transition’ arrangements". Detailed debate

Local Food

Unlike a Globalized Food System, Local Food Won’t Destroy the Environment" Look at the ecologically sound ways of producing food that have percolated up from the grassroots in recent years. Small farmers, environmentalists, academic researchers, and food and farming activists have given us agroecology, holistic resource management, permaculture, regenerative agriculture and other methods that can alleviate or perhaps even eliminate the global food system’s worst impacts: biodiversity loss, energy depletion, toxic pollution, food insecurity and massive carbon emissions. "
Strategy for Rural Economy House of Lords
Urban Food Futures special Issue shows that there is continued need to expand and celebrate values beyond monetary and business-related attitudes, including health, quality of life, and social relationships. 'Local' is not enough - production needs to show 'values' too.
How we could use CAP funds to encourage local food production - see Preston Model


Throughout the EU 'Agroecology' (my site) is a driving force. Recent summit called Agri-Innovation shows how to integrate ecology and economics. It explores "exchanges on the benefits of interactive approaches promoted by the EIP-AGRI (Operational Groups supported under the Common Agricultural Policy and the Multi-actor projects funded by the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation Programme) to the agro-ecological transition. " (More)
Ten Years for Agroecology in Europe TYFA scenarios were constructed in order to test the credibility of a generalisation of agroecology on a European scale. "The objective of climate mitigation is put in the broader perspective of transitioning towards a sustainable food system. The scenarios are not easily compatible with the objective of carbon neutrality, but offer many co-benefits: biodiversity, natural resources, adaptation, health."
Will Brexit bring demise of such initiatives in this country?

Subsidise our food

Like we subsidise our health. in order to improve the health of ourselves and the planet we need to invest more in the land and labour. However customers love their cheap food, and that will not change anytime soon. We all want 'free health at the point of need' and so are prepared to pay for it through our taxes. We should do the same to provide healtheir food - especially for less well off. There is an immediate source to set the ball rolling - what were the EU CAP subsidies. At present £3+ of that is paid to land owners - for doing nothing. I know some do useful things, but that shoul dbe up to us. We shuold be able to say we want more local fruit, veg and animals, and give peopke to produce them. that is a short food policy - and is to challenge givnig the EU money for conservation - that is important but has not worked u till now.
Tim's quote in Farming Today (till end of Sept) from 9 mins on Support Family Farms..and why, with Alan Titchmarsh
My talk. at Hebden Bridge. Last but one slide! Plunkett celebrates 100 yrs of community cooperative investment
SeedsSeed and the Commons outlines innovative projects and movements, Open Source Seeds, have emerged in response to the control of over 75% of the global seed trade by just ten companies
Lancaster : Seed Library for local gardeners & growers to share & save seeds from their own patch of earth.
UN backs Seeds Sovereignty It "formally extends human rights protections to farmers whose "seed sovereignty" is threatened by government and corporate practices. "

Proof of the Pudding


Imagination is our strongest weapon. A report from #CTRLshift2018 billed as “an emergency summit for change". Was this a watershed from which much may flow that had previously been unthinkable?Please Sir Tell me the Truth! TV presenter Adam Hensen wants all schools to sign up to "making their food supply chain transparent, using technology to deliver into school dining rooms the journey of every plate of food". More on how schools could involve with food - Edible Curriculum


Glocalisation Glocal foods are locally-grown foods with breeding and heritage that comes from all four corners of the earth. "Can heritage Mexican, African or Chinese foods be grown in a cold European climate — enough food at a good enough price to meet food security, multicultural, sustainable and affordability needs of a modern cosmopolitan city?" It responds to major cultural and population shifts, and is tuned to the taste, nutrition and cultural preferences migrants, foodies and 'culinary tourists'. Seed Voyage links local growers and eaters of interesting food (in US/Canada only)
Commission throws Short Chain Food Supplies ball to EU capitals. "Producing and consuming locally is seen as a way to achieve fairer remunerations for farmers and higher quality local food products....An increasing number of farms sell directly and are very popular among consumers and caterers. according to ECVC (European Coordination via Campesina" another phenomenon in development is the creation of partnerships between consumers and producers, in the form of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)


The Power of Produce shows how in the US, SNAP incentives in the form of coupons, vouchers or debit cards can make fresh produce more affordable for families with lower incomes in communities across the country. "Simultaneously increase consumption of nutritious produce and stimulate local economies by unlocking demand for fruits and vegetables. Moreover, when linked to local agriculture, the benefits expand to support the foundation of local economies and the livelihood of farmers: As shoppers buy more food for their families, farmers make more money, serve more customers, sell more food, and grow more food".Growing food growing momentum (FEC blog) Develop rural entrepreneursIs local food good for the economy?
Community supported agriculture - the antithesis of global food chains, is more prevalent in Belgium where seeing a mini-boom in model of farming where growers sell direct to consumers.
More than just food - Community schemes in Doncaster & Barnsley
Welsh government have a Food & Drink Action plan to increase sales of locally produced food.

Chile Challenge

Follow Chile's war on obesity "Facing skyrocketing rates of obesity, it is waging war on unhealthy foods with a phalanx of marketing restrictions, mandatory packaging redesigns and labeling rules aimed at transforming the eating habits of 18 million people." Facing industry opposition for 10 years, they have forced multinational behemoths like Kellogg to remove iconic cartoon characters from sugary cereal boxes. Beverages high in sugar include an 18 percent tax, which is among the steepest soda taxes in the world.

Promote ourselves

Preston ModelFollowing the crash of 2008 and its plans for a massive shopping complex, public money encouraged local produce. A new market has opened proud of its local supplies.. Preston’s guerrilla protectionism suggests how it might break down". Public Procurement Presentation to Preston Food linking producers and procurers. We are adding this page on Preston's case studies..I spoke about the Harris Museum Preston April 2018 , outlining the relationship between 'town and country'. They are the most improved city the UK - see Preston Model
Crickhowell The overall winner in the government-run Great British High Street Awards 2018. Putting it down to 'people power' the individual high street hero, Emma Corfield-Walters says "“It was a matter of explaining to people what they did when they spent money in their local economy.” For example, if the 2,000 people who live in the town spend just £5 extra every week in a local shop it instantly generates £500,000 over a year." More
TodmordenTodmorden Burnley Road is a 'Rising High Street' in same Awards. That may well have something to do with Todmorden's Incredible Edibles, that have been encouraging growing fruit and veg in open public spaces for some years. I am on the Board of Incredible Edible Farm there. There are over 200 Incredible Edibles now worldwide. Incredible Edibles
Growing our local food economy aims to make sustainable and healthy food a defining feature of Lancaster District Tuscon, 1st UNESCO city of Gastronomy in USFind out your local food stockists Thanks to Big Barn


The three key principles that should guide and govern a food system better for those who consume and produce food are:Provide nutritional requirements in interesting and varied waysSustainable in the long term both for the environment and rural economiesNot dictated by the laws of the market, but the needs of people and the planet.


A People's Food Policy"aims to map out what an integrated food policy would look like if people were put at the heart of decision-making"Integrated Food Policy in <2minsDraft London Food Policy A Fresh Approach to Food Pollcy City UniversityPublic policies for Food Sovereignty3 Food Policy Professors ReportSoil Association Food Manifesto WalesCompassion in World Farming Transition to NOURISHING, SUSTAINABLE, EQUITABLE AND HUMANE FOOD SYSTEM.CPRE New model Farming outlines changes needed for the Government to increase the diversity, sustainability and resilience of the farming sector10 Critical Transtions to Transform Food and Land Use. Food & Land Use Coalition believe there is "urgent need to transform the way we produce food and use our land for people, nature and climate. We have been working to build a shared narrative since 2017 because we believe the change, which we know is possible, can only happen when it is collective".
Bolivia to become food independent by 2020 by investing $40m in small farmers.


Transforming the UK food system. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will announce a call for "research to fundamentally transform the UK food system, by placing healthy people and a healthy natural environment at its centre. Proposals will be invited for interdisciplinary consortia to take a food systems approach, linking healthy and accessible diets with sustainable food production and supply to help drive food system transformation." Two Workshops in October

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