Food production should aim to feed people, now and in the future, healthy nutritious food. However, the current food production system falls short of achieving that, and not only in remote countries but here in the UK too, where some of the causes of food insecurity include rising food prices and lack of accessible shops stocking affordable healthy food.
The Agroecology (Food Security) Bill is an initiative of the Agroecology Alliance in response to the ecological, food security and social justice shortfalls and risks inherent in the current food production system.
International scientists, economists and sociologists, most notably gathered together in 2009 within the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) have agreed that agroecological approaches to farming (including organic, agro-forestry and permaculture) would provide a more sustainable and just way to farm and produce food for all.
Agroecology is not well understood by the majority of parliamentarians in Westminster.
The Agroecology (Food Security) Bill will bring the subject much closer to the legislators. This will enable us to open a meaningful dialogue with them about the over-riding case for agroecology to become the mainstream form of agriculture, food production and land management in the UK.
The UK could take the lead in such an important area of policy, impacting on the wellbeing of the nation as well as some of the most pressing international concerns. It needs though to adopt a strategy to make agroecology the mainstream form of agriculture in England (as Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have devolved powers for agricultural policy) and to support agroecology in the international negotiations of DFID, BIS and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Food quality, animal welfare and the environment would improve, reversing the damage to soil, water, air, biodiversity and the rural economy wrought by our fossil-fuel-intensive industrial farming and livestock production. In order to do that, the Bill recommends:
- Funding of research in wildlife and soil restoration, crop rotations (incorporating farm animals), effective use of farming inputs (i.e. water), recycling of farm wastes, breeding for genetic diversity
- Use of financial incentives to support agroecological practices and to discourage environmentally and socially damaging farming systems
- Shortening of food chains to improve local economies and quality of food
- Provision of training and advisory services for farmers
- Sensitisation of the public to the benefits of agroeocology and the use of public procurement
The Bill is supported by a range of national organisations, but, to raise its profile, it needs you to