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Future food considerations

This report has just been released by a working group in the Welsh Government, and lays out comments and expectations that frame the anticipated direction of food production in Wales in the coming 10-20 years.

Much of the focus is on branding products and business, rather than addressing the deeper core issues that lie at the heart of our unsustainable production and consumption of food. Levels of food waste thoughout the supply chain for instance, caused by a combination of supermarket purchasing practices and consumers throwing away 1/3 obuy, do not appear to be covered by the report. Whilst energy prices are factored into discussions, the absolute role of oil and gas in producing the fertilisers we need to grow our crops is not. Similarly, soil erosion doesn't get a significant mention.

One of the most important next steps is to help communities grasp the opportunities and benefits that they can derive from more localised food production - impacts of an order of magnitude more important than branding local products. The role of geographic communties is key to the future of food security as much as it is for climate and sustainaibility response; action, as always, will result from individual involvement.

Reader Comments (1)

Is it any surprise they're looking at it in old-fashioned ways? The people who put together the report are old-fashioned people, with respect - not food producers, nor even involved in thinking about sustainable food production, but simply politicians and bureaucrats. Branding, products and business are their terms of reference.

As ever, it's about the stories we tell ourselves and, crucially, what elements of that story have the most status. As long as it's about profits, we can go whistle. Changing the terms of the debate is, unfortunately yet unavoidably, the first step.

That means caring about how people survive and what THEY care about. When I worked, as a journalist, on the Welsh True Taste Awards, I encountered passion, creativity, immense skill, satisfaction and joy in the making of food. Markets were necessary, but didn't seem to be the drivers - though recognition ranked higher. The sense of quality and the integrity of food informed everything. People were proud of what they were doing. And farmers' markets were flourishing.

Frustratingly, it seems to me that it just needs a smallish shift in political will and we'll be there. Sadly as long as society is driven by greed and the impetus towards unlimited growth as an ideal, these "secondary" - but really paramount - values won't be at the centre of the discussion.

So come on, let's tell the stories, change the terms. As we are doing :-)

August 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristina Z

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