If we are to meet our net-zero targets and tackle the climate and ecological emergency, we are going to need to transform every aspect of our society and economy, including our food and agriculture system. The production of food accounts for around 20% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, agriculture accounts for close to 30% of all emissions. If we are serious about addressing the climate crisis – which we must be – the COP26 summit later this year must be used as an opportunity to address this head on, and build a sustainable food system fit for people and planet.
But redesigning food and agricultural production to tackle this crisis also presents us with a huge opportunity – to once and for all fix our highly commodified, broken food system and ensure everyone, everywhere has access to nutritious food. 10 million people in the UK are suffering from food insecurity and 1 in 20 households relied on an emergency food parcel last year. In the UK 3.6 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year, 2 million tonnes of which is still edible. That’s enough for 1.3 billion meals, from the UK alone. As it stands our food system is prioritising private profit over what should be its primary, and perhaps sole purpose, feeding people.
Any just transition to net-zero therefore has to involve a wholesale restructure of how we feed people in the UK and across the world – to tackle these dual crises.
Already groups, businesses and individuals across Hallam and throughout the country are building alternatives. From community kitchens, using surplus food to tackle food insecurity, food waste and isolation to small local businesses setting their own climate targets and taking steps to decarbonise. From UK-wide campaigns calling for a National Food Service, to Parliamentarians pushing for the Right to Food to be enshrined in law.
At our next Hallam Citizens’ Climate Manifesto event we are going to discuss how we can build on these movements and continue to grow our vision for an alternative food system in Hallam and across the country.
We will be joined by incredibly exciting speakers from across the movement:
- The Foodhall Project, Sheffield’s multi-award winning community kitchen and public dining space, who founded the National Food Service campaign and during the pandemic have fed over 13,000 people in our city.
- The Bakers, Food and Allied Food Workers Union (BFAWU), who defend the rights of workers in every aspect of the food industry, from production at factories through to sales in shops.
- Local Hallam business, Our Cow Molly, who are working to green their dairy farm, by capturing and using their cows’ methane as green energy, experimenting with vertical hydroponic farms, and producing highly nutritious food for the city without any use of fossil fuels.
So please join us on Tuesday 6th April at 5.30pm for an extended hour and a half Assembly, to hear from these groups, and continue to build our Hallam Citizens’ Climate Manifesto.