Ely Food Group page
Beneath the ever growing list of exotic foods available at our supermarkets, a worrying truth looms— global and local food systems, enabled by cheap fossil fuels, are not secure.
The prospect of diminishing supplies of fossil fuels coupled with climate instability could be nothing short of catastrophic for the modern, highly complex, industrial agricultural system.
This in turn has implications for our ‘food security’.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation defines food security as existing:
when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life
This, it adds, involves the following conditions:
- adequacy of food supply and availability;
- stability of supply, without fluctuations or shortages from season to season or from year to year;
- accessibility to food or affordability, and;
- quality and safety of food.
The UK food system
There is little or no slack in the UK food system and the situation is not improving.
As Felicity Lawrence, in a recent article in the Guardian, points out:
Official government figures show that there has been a steady erosion of any slack in the system. In the UK, stocks of all food are typically downs to 11 days of supply. The UK now carries just eight days’ worth of frozen foods, and 10 days of perishable goods. Globally, grain stocks are down to 50 days.
Situated in the middle of one of the most productive food-growing regions in the country, Ely has the opportunity to fare relatively well if it begins now to develop a robust, resilient regional food system.
The Ely ‘foodshed’
One of our main projects is an examination of the Ely foodshed.
What is a foodshed?
A foodshed represents all the stages between where a food is produced and where it is consumed. This includes the land it grows on, the routes it travels, the markets it goes through, the tables it ends up on.
The term was first coined to describe the global flow of food. More recently the term is commonly used to describe local food systems and efforts to create more resilient, fair and sustainable ways of producing and consuming food.
- The Tracing Paper blog – Food in East Anglia section
- East Anglia Food Link – Helping develop a resilient food system for the East of England
- Soil Association – local foodworks
- Food Ethics council
What others are doing
- Growing Communities (Hackney, London)
- Growing in Haringey (Haringey, London)
- Incredible Edible Todmorden (Todmorden, West Yorkshire)
- Somerset Community Food
- Hungry City – Carolyn Steel
- Feeding People is Easy – Colin Tudge
- Michael Pollan – In Defence of Food
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