Food and farming are hot issues currently, and likely to remain so for some years to come. One reason is that accelerating climate change is increasing food security issues, arising from crop failures globally and in the UK. Another reason is that UK farming and food policies are currently under debate, as new frameworks are created post-Brexit. These policies need to address a multiplicity of issues, for example the need to increase domestic food production, and also to make substantial land available for forestry and rewilding. Food policies also need to balance multiple priorities, including health, sustainability, and affordability. For blogs on these issues click here.
Food security means reliable access to enough affordable, healthy food. Climate change is already impacting food supplies, and is forecast to create much greater disruption in the years ahead, both in the UK and across the world. However, future weather patterns in the UK bring opportunities as well as threats. With adaptive cultivation methods, changes in crops, and support from consumers, the UK could increase its food security and reduce its vulnerability to imported supplies.
Seeding our Future has commissioned research to explore these issues. The report on Growing through Climate Change is now available as a free download: see link below. One aim of the research is to support Seeding our Future’s pilot work on these issues in the Bridport community (see more information here). While the research focuses on South West England, many of its conclusions can be extended to other parts of the UK.
- Which locally grown foods are most at risk in the future from climate change
- What adaptive cultivation practices could help, for anyone from an allotment holder to a large-scale farmer
- How vulnerable crops, or substitutes, could be grown in South-West England
- Ways for consumers to adapt, including support for local producers, diet changes, and community initiatives
Overall, it’s clear from this report that producers and consumers in South-West England, and in Britain generally, have plenty of opportunities to increase the resilience of local food supplies: but grasping these opportunities will need determination, funding and a willingness to innovate before the problems get more severe. Changing crops and cultivation methods requires time, investment and assured markets. South-West England is blessed with a good range of independent, clear-thinking producers of all scales, strong communities, and many other assets which could be built on to form a robust local food economy.
For more information click the following links.
- A dedicated website with information, e.g. on local suppliers, food banks, etc.: http://bridportfoodmatters.net.
- Encouraging more people to grow food at home, with climate adaptive practices.
- Increasing both demand and supply of local food, especially vegetables and fruit.
- Raising awareness of the climate impact of our dietary choices.