Political and moral obligation to raise our game on food

Yesterday (24 June), I went the IWA’s third Senedd paper debate: Good Food for All. I wanted my summary of the discussion to reflect a range of views, so I’ve used Storify – a neat little tool that integrates live social media posts with commentary – to share the story of Good Food for All with you: https://storify.com/rosarobinson/goodfoodforall

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One thought on “Political and moral obligation to raise our game on food

  1. Steve Garrett says:

    The many and expensive top down attempts by government agencies of all kinds to convince people to eat more of what’s ‘good for them (and relinquish what’s ‘bad’) have all tended to fail because as Prof. Morgan and others point out, the big food companies who make their profits from selling us their health-theatening junk food have much cleverer and better funded tools of mass persuasion at their disposal, but also because we are all drawn to consuming food (and other experiences!) which give us the most pleasure possible within the budget available to us. The better-heeled (amongst them many food-linked health professionals, civil servants and academics, of course) may head out to a nice restaurant on the weekends, while those with a tighter budget may be found with the family in Macdonalds, but the motivation is the same. To share food and enjoy themselves.

    The well-meaning attempts by well-paid professionals to ‘encourage and enable’ poor people to eat better often flounder on the rocks of the reality that, in our hugely unequal society, the opportunities to make healthy choices in the pursuit of eating pleasure are so constricted for those increasing numbers who are stuck at the lower end of the economic scale. And any attempt by the better-off to occupy a moral high ground when it come to eating choices is ‘unconcious privilege’ (i.e. ignorance) of an unforgiveable kind. They should know better, and maybe need talk more to people on low incomes to find out why they make the food buying and eating choices they do.

    In addition to Kevin’s well targeted pleas for a better allocation of public money in filling the public plate with healthy options, I suggest two other possible ways of significantly influencing food choices in a healthier direction for people who watch their food costs carefully. Firstly, limit, as far as is possible, the misleading propaganda which is so regularly dished out (pardon the pun) by the junk food industry (I’d include refusing planning permission to junk food outlets that want to locate near schools etc); and secondly, provide subsidies to healthier and locally produced food options, which would make them more affordable, thus increasing their take-up by the population, and reducing the massive health bill of dealing with the after-effects of excessive junk food consumption – and as an additional benefit also provide an economic boost for local, sustainable and healthy food producers of all kinds.

    If the Welsh Government is sincere in wanting to achieve it’s aim of having a healthier and more sustainable food system which provides ‘good food for all’ to all, they need to put more money where our mouths are. Anything else is just hot air, and we’ve had more than enough of that from them on this particular topic – perhaps the effect of consuming the metaphorical beans of policy without the meat of resources attached?

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