Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The 'Food 2030' Report: What does it mean for Horticulture?





The government's new food strategy entitled 'Food 2030' has received a great deal of press coverage and some criticism for what it has set out in the final report.  There have been rumblings of contradictory proposals and questions around  how we can reduce our consumption without it having a detrimental effect on the economy, as well as other important areas.  Questions that most definitely need attention and a great deal of ironing out.  After all it wouldn't be politics without controversy and questions.  When we put these issues aside, and without trying to minimise such downsides, we have a document with aims that provide some encouragement for the future.

The main aims of the strategy relate to sustainable food production, public education, reduction of greenhouse gasses resulting from meat production, food waste and its management, scientific advancement and health promotion.  I have attempted to pull out some issues that bear influence over the future of horticulture and other areas of horticultural interest.

Some of these issues may be slightly contentious and none more so than the issues contained under the banner of sustainable food production.  This heading harbors questions about how we increase crop yield without negatively affecting the environment (increasing the need for resources such as water and soil).  This is not an old issue but ultimately it leads us on to GM crops which are not the most appealing of alternative options for many.  

On the other hand, when we look at the positives there are two particularly encouraging outcomes.  Firstly, there is a call for the 'Growing Schools Programme' to expand and offer a further 65,000 pupils, their families and staff members a package of education and hands on experience in growing their own food.  This grass roots approach is a positive step in equipping future generations with the tools to grow their own food and when looking towards food security this seems like a logical step forward.  It will also mean more jobs for professionals in the field.

Secondly, the government has committed to freeing up much needed growing space for communities with local authorities developing, what the document calls, 'meanwhile leases'.  This will utilise otherwise unused pieces of land and give them purpose.  And we all know what this could mean.  If communities and individuals work on growing their own produce this will ultimately reduce demand on the large scale food producers. 


There is a lot more to this document than I have pointed out here and I would urge you to read it in full to get the full picture.  What do you think of the report?

6 comments:

  1. I will have to read it. Thanks for bringing it up. I'm really excited about the school gardening ideas.

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  2. Exciting times ahead. I myself am part of an organisation in the New Forest,called The New Forest Food Challenge,we are working towards encouraging people to grow their own or at least by local in season produce..We did a very interesting trail where people from all different backgrounds kept a diary of food they ate and where it came from,With the encouragement to eat at least a couple of things a week from local producers.

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  3. I think it's great how more and more schools are getting involved in educating children on how to grow food. We used to see our parent's or grandparent's growing food, but unfortunately, alot of children don't see so much of this these days.

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  4. Have only heard brief snippets on the tv news Ryan - paperless for two days mainly because of the weather. Will have to see if there is information on the internet but both the outcomes you mention sound positive.

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  5. Encouraging people to grow their own food is a great place to start.......

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  6. Well, they did it all in 1941, so I am sure they can bring it about again now.
    Nothing new under the sun.

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