This article was written by Andy Middleton following the launch of the Wales Food Manifesto at the National Botanic Gardens on 9 February 2018. Andy is a environmental activist and social entrepreneur who is Founder and Chief Exploration Officer at TYF St.Davids, a Founding Partner at the Do Lectures, a Non-Exec Director on the Board of National Resources Wales and a member of the Innovation Advisory Council for Wales.
There’s a forester’s saying that the best time to plant a tree is 25 years ago, and the next best time is today. The same goes for changes to our food system needed to restore resilience and productivity to the natural systems that provide us food, water and resources. A wide range of organisations have been calling for transformational change to the way we grow, process and consume food, with far-reaching recommendations that would shift an industry on its axis if adopted widely.
The World Health Organisation have made causal links between red meat and cancer, and recommend reducing its consumption. Compassion in World Farming are calling for an end to factory farming to preserve the world’s biodiversity. Research from Cambridge University and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change call for reductions in meat and dairy consumption for carbon reduction.
Brexit meanwhile brings its own set of challenges that need to be balanced by an understanding of the trade deal balances between UK and food exporting countries. In new technology, innovators such as Aerofarms and Growing Underground are extending the boundaries of possibility with hydroponic growing whilst ‘safe meat’ businesses such as Memphis Meats question our assumptions further. Changing diets are shifting meal choices towards meat-free menus, with nearly a third of UK dinners now vegetarian or vegan dishes.
Humanity is already making new choices about the food that it grows and eats. In Wales, we can plan a route to a resilient future by putting food and farming at the centre of a journey that leads to the wellbeing of citizens, communities and nature.
The principles and actions in this latest draft of the Wales Food Manifesto are offered for the discussion, improvement and debate that leads to the scale of response needed.
Download the second draft at Food Manifesto Wales Second Draft Apr 2018, then please let the team at Wales Food Manifesto know:
- What changes would you would want to see for you and/or your organization to declare support for the ten principles?
- What comments do you have on the calls to action? Would you choose different ones?
- Can you help us work out how to achieve these goals? For instance, maybe you or your organization are already working in these areas and can share your thinking, or maybe you could commit to actions that would inspire others to join in.
Please reply to hello @ foodmanifesto.wales, neu ysgrifennwch at helo @ maniffestobwyd.cymru.
(You can see the current draft here: first draft of the Manifesto)