It is my belief that the first priority of government is to feed its population, but ours has really dropped the ball. The following is taken from the vegan society links above
The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. There is sufficient evidence to show that, with the additional threat of fossil fuel depletion and the urgent need to stop our dependency on it, the further away our food comes from, the higher the risks to food security. Indeed, the UK over-
consumption of meat plays a significant role in threatening the food security of those countries where vast areas of agricultural land are used to grow crops to feed animals for a minority of world countries.
Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products. United Nations (2010) Global warming is accelerated by unsustainable fossil fuel fed agriculture and ever greater ruminant meat consumption. Professor P. James. Past-President World Obesity Federation – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. EGEA Conference Proceedings. (2015)
In spite of the numerous initiatives, especially at grassroots level, that advocate for the importance of growing food locally and consuming it seasonally, the UK is still in the irrational situation where, as a nation, it exports nearly everything that it produces and imports almost everything it needs.
In 2014, the UK traded the equivalent of nearly 400 million dead farmed birds. That is to say, the UK imported 423,386 tonnes and exported 352,792 tonnes of ‘poultry meat’. With the Netherlands alone, the UK exported 108,046 tonnes and imported 182,100 tonnes in 2014.
Approximately 900 million birds are killed each year in the UK for humans to eat. Considering this, it is understandable that approximately one fifth of direct UK food chain emissions in fact occur outside the UK.
The impact of globalised food systems, to which the UK is a contributor, has triggered a large growth in the international trade of food and
feed. Far more agricultural produce is traded today than 30 years ago, and as a result, food security outcomes are connected across space
and time. This means that food-price shocks have become a global problem; what happens in one country or region has ripple effects
To what extent should the public sector be encouraged to “buy
British”? (a) What are the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach?
The UK could be virtually self-reliant in staple foods – grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits – and many other foods as well – seeds, herbs, and some nuts and spices. We need to play our fair role in how food supports a healthy, sustainable, just world. This means largely meeting our own needs for staple foods, whilst trading in a fair, sustainable way for luxuries which do not grow well in the UK, such as chocolate, coffee, tropical fruits, and many nuts and spices. This will support people in the Global Majority World to feed their own communities. The Vegan Society stands in solidarity with those fighting against all injustice, to humans as well as to non-human animals.
The case for UK plant protein supply
Currently, much of the protein for milk or dairy substitutes in the EU comes from soya production in the Americas, although this represents a tiny fraction compared to the vast majority of soya produced to feed livestock in Europe and further afield. 70% of European Union livestock protein feed is imported, mostly as soya from the Americas. The feed conversion factor (energy in to energy out) is 3-6 for chickens and pigs, and 14-20 for ruminants.
Consequently, even if emissions from transport of soya are taken into account, the GHG emission potential per unit protein is between 2-fold (eggs and poultry) and 12-fold (beef) that from consumption of imported soya protein directly in northern Europe. Although because of inefficiencies in feed to food conversion, actual imports of soya would be unlikely to increase significantly if a meat and dairy free diet was more widely adopted in Europe, emission of GHGs would be reduced further by producing alternatives to meat and dairy locally. This would also increase UK food security. Currently production of soya is not viable in the UK. Fava beans (Vicia faba) have about 25% less protein than soya beans, but grow well in the UK with equivalent GHG emissions per unit protein as soya.113 As they have a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, they require less nitrogenous fertiliser, which reduces costs to farmers and reduces the GHG emissions from
Changes to farming practices – for example, more efficient use of fertilisers – can reduce GHG emissions and the carbon footprint. However, losses of energy during the production process mean that animal agriculture is inherently inefficient in comparison to direct
consumption of crops by humans.
Dr Paul Hill, Bangor University, Wales.
The failure of protein crops to spark widespread interest from UK farmers can be traced to a number of barriers. These barriers are complex, interwoven, and exist at dierent levels of the food system.
At the farm-level protein crops are not widely cultivated due to lower economic returns compared to other, more profitable, alternatives. Subsidies, an important revenue source for UK farms, are not currently directed more towards protein crops than other alternatives.
Zero carbon diets in the UK, concordant with EAT-Lancet guidelines, are an important part of our contribution to global climate justice under ‘fair share’ principles. The British Empire, our role in theIndustrial Revolution, and our ongoing economic activities have disproportionately, and to some extent, cumulatively, added to global atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Plant-based UK food systems are a vital way for us to be part of global climate justice.
A recent report estimated the total ‘hidden’ cost of all UK food to public health and the environment as £1 for every £1 we spend, totalling over £120 billion. The ‘hidden costs’ of current public sector food procurement could therefore be over £2 billion.
Plant-based public food procurement has significant potential to improve UK rural livelihoods. Farmers and other land managers must be fully and fairly paid for their fundamental role in ensuring
tasty, healthy, sustainable, affordable, ethical local food in our schools, hospitals, prisons, local government offices and other institutions. The contribution of land management, agriculture and forestry at 2% of rural England’s Gross Value Added (GVA)19 is currently significantly undervalued: they represent 16% of rural businesses.
Nigel notes, Should we now wake up and stop companies profiteering from food production? I often wonder why we haven’t seen the coming food supply crisis in the same way we did before world war 2?
I’d like to see a free food revolution we need to stop be reliant on globalisation and slaughtered animals. Every county should be self sufficient distributing fresh seasonal produce through local markets, we have the technology to link up every garden or spare land to produce free food?
“Some local producers/outlets are looking to quickly set up online shops as well as ‘local delivery ONLY’ technology that allows local customers to order. This means a viable local delivery run can be
set up where the van also collects produce grown by local people for the local delivery service.
Broader adoption of this could encourage people (and especially schools) to grow, cook, and trade food. Having the opportunity to partake in this collaborative system would be a win-win, as it forms
part of the solution whilst engendering a sense of pride in how growers can actively contribute to and benefit their local community.“
Whys there not a free food app🙄