Plants must be the heart of a re-designed global food system
Our global food system needs a fundamental re-design, a major UK Government Foresight report has concluded. The Future of Food and Farming highlights that feeding grain to farmed animals undermines sustainable food supply, and also fuels competition for land and water. Stock-free farming – without any animal inputs – is a proven alternative for sustainable, profitable and delicious food production.
Nigel Winter, Chief Executive of The Vegan Society said today: "I am pleased that the Foresight Food and Farming report recognises that ‘Nothing less is required than a redesign of the whole food system to bring sustainability to the fore’. A shift to stock-free farming and plant-based diets can help tackle global hunger, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide delicious healthy food. Policy makers need to help farmers, manufacturers and consumers to make more sustainable food choices."
The UK Government report calls for urgent action to deal with the growing global food crisis. The report says, "Dietary changes are very significant for the future food system because, per calorie, some food items (such as grain-fed meat) require considerably more resources to produce than others. …major increases in the consumption of meat, particularly grain-fed meat, would have serious implications for competition for land, water and other inputs, and will also affect the sustainability of food production."
Urgent action clearly must include a fundamental re-assessment of animal farming.
Nigel Winter went on to say: "Stock-free farming, without any animal inputs, is commercially viable, makes efficient use of land and water and creates bio-diverse environments. There is a secure and profitable future for farmers, manufacturers and retailers if they produce sustainable plant-based foods. Seaweed biomass production could be greatly increased to make a significant contribution towards feeding the increasing human population so making use of the marine environment without depleting fish populations.
"Catering colleges need to teach chefs to produce imaginative, tasty food using pulses, grains, fruits, vegetables, fungi and sea vegetables so that their customers will realise that there is a mouth-watering and sustainable future for us all."
Already we are seeing food riots in Algeria and other poor countries. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation called an extraordinary meeting in Rome yesterday [Mon 24 Jan 2011] to discuss the price of grain.
We need to emphasise plant-based farming and diets to bring about a sustainable global food system.
For more information about The Vegan Society’s vision for global food security, please see: www.vegansociety.com/references/food-security.aspx
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Notes for Editors
- Foresight. The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and choices for global sustainability. Final project report. London: The Government Office for Science, Mon 24 Jan 2011
- The Future of Food and Farming 2011 p. 12.
- The Future of Food and Farming 2011 p. 14.
- "The global food system will experience an unprecedented confluence of pressures over the next 40 years. On the demand side, global population size will increase from nearly seven billion today to eight billion by 2030, and probably to over nine billion by 2050; many people are likely to be wealthier, creating demand for a more varied, high-quality diet requiring additional resources to produce. On the production side, competition for land, water and energy will intensify, while the effects of climate change will become increasingly apparent. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate will become imperative. Over this period globalisation will continue, exposing the food system to novel economic and political pressures.” The Future of Food and Farming 2011 p. 9.
- Founded in 1944, The Vegan Society promotes vegan lifestyles - which exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. Registered Charity No. 279228, Company Registration No. 1468880 Registered in England & Wales, VAT Registration No. 448 5973 95