‘Feeding Britain, Our Food Problems and How to Fix Them’

‘Feeding Britain, Our Food Problems and How to Fix Them’ by Tim Lang

We currently do not have a national food policy. This book is a call for British Food Democracy. Lang says it is time we stopped telling others how to improve their food systems when we are not doing this for our own. Major challenges are known to be facing the UK food system: climate change and ecosystems stress, public ill-health caused by diet, food poverty caused by social inequality, leading millions to depend on food handouts, and more. We have no political response getting a grip.

Food Security is important. The UK only grows a little over half its food needs, and relies on just-in-time complex supply chains that can easily be disrupted. However there is a belief that we are rich and can buy food on ‘open markets’ and that our modern food system is highly efficient. The UK is not immune from ecosystem stress, and the countries we already rely upon for food will also be negatively affected. We ought to be planning to protect and regenerate land for growing food here, as well as helping others to adapt and prepare.

Food Quality is even more important. There is a need for the UK to create a food culture in which sustainable diets from a sustainable food system are the norm. A new national framework ought to rein back the runaway production and consumption of High Fat, Sugar and Salt that warps not just our NHS but healthcare globally.

A ‘Great Food Transformation’ is, however, needed to realign food production with human and ecosystems health in a socially just and economically sustainable form.

Sustainability is both the key to food defence and an end in itself. The link between human and environmental health is the base on which policy and planning must now be built. Good-quality food requires us to treat ecosystems carefully, not to mine them. Diet is a major cause of public ill-health, not just obesity but a range of non-communicable diseases too. Drug bills and hospital care that arise from failing to prevent food being a cause of poor health are a gross waste of time, money and effort.

The Sustainable Food Cities network, a localist food renaissance, shows a rise of interest in food culture. However, to turn round the UK food system is unlikely to happen unless there is a renaissance of bottom-up food governance to rebalance top-down control.

Th National Food Strategy Review led by Henry Dimbleby has been set up to investigate the intensive farming practices that have caused serious damage to the environment, and the food related disease costing the NHS billions and drastically harming the lives of millions. (further details on the very interesting web site nationalfoodstrategy.org)

Malcolm Davison

‘The Uninhabitable Earth – a Story of the Future’

‘The Uninhabitable Earth – a Story of the Future’ by David Wallace Wells

You asked for details on books that might be of interest. I have just finished reading ‘The Uninhabitable Earth – a Story of the Future’ by David Wallace Wells

It is an extremely well researched book that draws its material from a wider range of scientific material on climate change – almost 60 pages of notes and references – but it does it in a way which is accessible. I feel I can’t do any better in terms of a review than to refer to the assessment by Mark O’Connell of the Guardian

‘Enough to induce an honest to god panic attack ….a brutal portrait of climate change and our future lives on earth… extremely effective in shaking the reader out of complacency …… To read the Uninhabitable Earth is to understand the collapse of the distinction between alarmism and plain realism.

Barry Warrington

Tour round a Passivhaus

A group from CASAV (Climate Action Stokesley and Villages) had a tour around this Passive House on January 25th 2020. Pete & Joy Smith agreed that Mike Newton, a group member, would make a YouTube of the Passive House so a much wider audience come understand what was involved and might be influenced to modify their own home. The YouTube lasts for 18 minutes and it is well worthwhile watching to the end as Pete gives an excellent description of all aspects of the Passive House.

Meetings in January 2020

14th January – Action planning meeting

7:30 – 9:00pm in The Globe, North Rd, Stokesley

23rd January – Transport themed evening.

Shared meal between 6:00 and 7:15pm: bring a dish to share, along with your plate and cutlery.

Followed, from 7:30 to– 9:00pm, by updates on the Transport group’s actions including the Endeavour Cycleway, improvements to train services, electric vehicle charging points and multi-user routes. The Globe, North Rd, Stokesley.

25th January – Visit to Passiv house

Energy group visit to house in Great Busby.  

31st JanuaryFlood Alleviation Scheme

Information event, organised by the Environment Agency, in Stokesley Town Hall from 3pm – 7pm.