There are many important strands in the food chain where it would be helpful to have ‘joined-up thinking’, such as:
- 20% of UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to the UK food chain (7% due to agriculture). The overall figure is estimated to be 30%, if land use change (including forest) is counted proportionally for the UK. (Ref. 1)
- A quarter of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) miles (and almost half the HGV tonnage) in the UK in 2009 were due to food transport, not including food transport from abroad or the miles that food is transported within the UK prior to export. (Ref.2)
- Land use. Water use. Biodiversity.
- Supporting high environmental standards in British farming.
- Food waste. Waste from food and drink packaging.
- Obesity and health and well-being issues.
- The decreasing levels of minerals and other essential nutrients in food resulting from modern production methods. (Ref 3).
- A quarter of the world’s population does not have enough to eat and there is a need to reconsider the types of food we eat in UK and where and how our food is produced. (WWF)
- Effects of soy and palm oil production on rain forests and its ubiquity through the UK food chain.
- Sourcing local food, as long as it is low carbon throughout its lifecycle, can contribute to lower carbon emissions, increase the vibrancy of local economies and positively reconnect people with food. (Ref.4)
- Food security – with issues such as: the projected increase in world population; the increased demand for a ‘Western diet’; rising energy costs; effects of unpredictable weather patterns on food production; unpredictable political and economic conditions internationally.
- Soil erosion.
- Depletion of global resources, e.g. phosphates.
- The importance of livestock grazing and mixed species pastures for soil fertility, the ability of the soil to sequester carbon, and for animal and human health. (Ref 3).
- Increasing acidification of seas and oceans. Depletion of some fish stocks. Damage to the marine environment by some fishing methods.
- Employment and livelihoods.
(1) Audsley, E., Brander, M., Chatterton, J., Murphy-Bokern, D., Webster, C., and Williams, A. (2009). How low can we go? An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system and the scope to reduce them by 2050. WWF-UK.
(2) Defra’s food transport indicators.
(3) “The Carbon Fields” and “We Want Real Food” by Graham Harvey.
Evidence of impact on local economy:
Also: Nottingham City Hospital and Nottingham County Council,
and The Cornwall Hospital Food Programme.