Food justice and food sovereignty are common threads which bind much of our advocacy and campaign work together, driven by our belief that nutritious, sustainably produced and culturally appropriate food is a basic human right, and that those who provide it should be entitled to dignified livelihoods.
We advocate for government policy and legislation to be grounded in a fundamental Right to Food, and to be guided by the six principles of food sovereignty: that food is produced for people, not profit; that food systems operate on a local and regional scale where possible; that control is centred in the hands of local communities; that food producers, farmers and growers are valued; that land-based skills and knowledge are nurtured and developed; and that food production works with nature and not against it.
See below for more information on our food justice campaign and policy work in England, Wales and Scotland.
National Food Strategy
In 2021 our Horticulture Campaigns Coordinator Rebecca Laughton was part of the Advisory Panel for Henry Dimbleby’s government-commissioned National Food Strategy review. The report looked at the whole food supply chain, from farm to fork, and outlined a set of comprehensive recommendations for future policy and legislation. The Government have promised to publish a White Paper in response to the findings of the report, which will outline a cross-departmental strategy for building a better food system in England. The White Paper is due to be published in spring 2022.
You can read our response to the National Food Strategy yma.
Right to Food
Dee Woods, our Food Justice Policy Coordinator, is also active in the national Right to Food campaign, led by MP Ian Byrne together with Fans Supporting Foodbanks and a range of other local and community organisations. The Right to Food campaign is calling for access to food to be a legal right for all, and to put an end to food poverty, you can read more about the campaign yma.
Welsh Food Bill
In November 2021 the Welsh Senedd voted in favour of supporting a Food Bill proposed by Peter Fox MS. We will be working with MSs to ensure that this piece of legislation supports small-scale producers, promotes agroecological farming and land-use practices, and strengthens localised food systems and short supply chains. You can read more about the Food Bill yma.
Community Food Strategy
The current Programme for Government includes a commitment to create a new Community Food Strategy. Very little detail has been announced yet, but we will be campaigning for an ambitious strategy that builds a localised, sustainable food system in Wales.
Local Food Strategy
The Scottish government has put forward a strategy for the future of local food in Scotland, and consulted the public on this strategy in late 2021. To respond to this consultation we brought together the voices of members from across Scotland to ensure producers are centred in discussions about local food.
Our response outlined how a local food strategy must empower food producers and local communities, in keeping with the principles of food sovereignty. It must involve the creation of decentralised food systems based on short, direct supply chains, without reliance on big supermarkets. In order to achieve the aims of the local food strategy, there is a need for greater support for local food producers in Scotland. The local food strategy must be closely linked with policy on environment and agricultural transition, and include a focus on the crucial role agroecological farming can play in the development of local, sustainable food systems. We also used this opportunity to highlight the amazing work our members do to contribute to genuinely local food supply in Scotland, in the face of significant systemic challenges.
Our full response to the consultation on Local Food Strategy in Scotland can be found here.
Good Food Nation Bill
Scotland faces significant challenges related to food, from inequality to ill health to ecological damage. The Good Food Nation bill is a piece of framework legislation put forward by the Scottish Government to try to address these challenges. Initially intended to be introduced in 2020 following a lengthy consultation process, the Bill was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and was instead first brought before the parliament in late 2021. We’ve been working as part of the Scottish Food Coalition (SFC) to campaign for this legislation to be ambitious, just, and give us all more power in our food system. This includes demanding that the Good Food Nation bill incorporates the Right to Food in Scottish law, and ensuring that the implementation of the bill is overseen by an independent statutory body. More information about this campaign can be found on the SFC website.