What should our food strategy look like?

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What should our food strategy look like?

At present the Government is looking at a new food strategy for England. The Vegan Society is talking to Westminster and the devolved governments about the need for a transition to a plant-based food system as a priority. Here we outline our vision for a sustainable and ethical food system and the policies that may take us there.

There are proven ways to radically improve every part of our food system. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change affirms that diets higher in plant-based foods – vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds – and lower in animal-based foods, tend to be more sustainable and healthier.

The UK Committee on Climate Change have said: “Changes in people's diet, if this leads to reduced UK production of products such as beef, lamb and milk, could have a significant impact on emissions.”

We challenge the Government to re-frame their vision to:

  • Ensure safe, healthy food, that is affordable for everyone;
  • Build a food system that is robust to future shocks;
  • Restore and enhance the natural environment for everyone, including free-living nonhuman beings;
  • Make the transition to resilient, sustainable and humane plant-based land management;
  • Support all communities, enabling sustainable livelihoods for everyone involved in land management and food production, to empower them to innovate;
  • Guarantee extensive support for people moving toward plant-based methods.

Policy recommendations

Our policy recommendations for sustainable, plant-based farming and vegan-friendly catering include:

  1. Plant-based options on all menus in public sector institutions.
  2. Public campaigns to help people adapt their eating.
  3. Guaranteed access for all e.g. through subsidies.
  4. All schools teaching every student how to prepare plant-based dishes.
  5. Free plant milks in primary schools, and local fruit & veg in all schools.
  6. Reduce VAT on vegan restaurants.
  7. Make plant-based food the heart of healthy eating strategies.
  8. No restrictions on plant product names e.g. burgers.
  9. Support farmers who want to transition out of animal farming.
  10. Funding for people new to plant-based land management.
  11. Advisory services for all food chain actors, especially on pulses.
  12. Direct subsidies to protein crops, more than animal farming.
  13. Funding for research to improve protein crops, identify priorities & improve collaboration.
  14. Funding for woodlands on land unsuitable for other crops.
  15. Climate change mitigation, public health & animal protection proportionately given ‘public money for public goods’.

We need a plant-based revolution to make the UK leading innovators in food sustainability.

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