The government's intent to publish a Food and Farming plan in 2017 was affected by the election. Elements relating to a sustainable food system (one that encompasses the aspects of social, environmental and economic sustainability) have subsequently been publishished in the government's 25 year Environmental Plan (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/25-year-environment-plan), and in the Clean Growth strategy (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/clean-growth-strategy). While it is pleasing to see the environment receiving attention, the two intiatives are owned by separate departments, and a comprehensive plan looking at the entire production to consumption chain is still lacking. The complexity of the food system means that a ‘systems’ (or ‘joined up’) approach is necessary if effective policy responses are to be developed by business and government. The need is great; growing environmental pressures, including climate change, soil degradation, disruption of water cycles, expanding pathogen ranges and increasing regularity of extreme weather events, coupled with population growth and migration impact, will continue to affect the food system.
What IFST is doing about it
IFST has published a report on Sustainable Food Systems, which provides a framework for future activities and partnerships, to focus our efforts in what is an extremely large topic area. We recognise the valuable ongoing work by many organisations in this area and wish to engage where we can add the most value. If you or your organisation is interested in partnering with us in any of the areas discussed in the report, please contact John Bassett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The report and more on our policy on a Sustainable Food System is available here.
IFST has signed the Courtauld Agreement initiated by WRAP and is committed to supporting WRAP in the activities that are progressing under this agreement.
Update: March '18. We have published a list of priority project topics that we are seeking partners to work with on. IFST will encourgage and support funding bids in these areas and connect projects with expertise from our membership, and help communicate outcomes. We are a team member of a project that has received seed funding from STFC (https://www.stfc.ac.uk/), which will investigate the potential for a more comprehensive activity aiming to provide real time capability in the fresh produce supply chain, to divert product and minimise waste from delays. We are interested in other projects relating to the priority areas particularly, but also other areas outlined in our framework.