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How Brexit Threatens Britain’s Food Security

by Tim Lang, City University London The situation created by the British vote to leave the European Union is momentous for UK food. It is on a par with the Repeal of the Corn Laws of 1846 when Britain decided its Empire could feed it, not its own farmers. And it is as important as the creation of the Agriculture Act of 1947 when after two bruising wars in which the population faced serious risk of starvation, the country decided to put its food house in order – to produce more of what it could and look after the land. Those events set the tone and framework for UK food for decades after. Brexit will do the same. It doesn’t help that the political elites are now knifing each other in a distraction from the genuine, looming effects. My concern is that the security of food might get lost in the debacle. The UK must not let that happen. Food stocks are low in a just-in-time economy, an estimated three to five days’ worth. The […]

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Does Food Sovereignty Starve the Poor and Punish the Planet?

by Gilles Billen, Luis Lassaletta and Josette Garnier Globalisation is not only a matter of clothing and mobile phones. Long-distance worldwide shipping of food commodities has also increased tremendously over the last few decades. Lassaletta et al.(2014) estimate that one-third of all proteins (a proxy for the nutritive potential of foodstuffs) produced globally are redistributed through international trade. Thus a recent study in France shows that the total volume of long distance commercial exchanges of food commodities, mostly originating from far away, account for over twice the national agricultural production (Le Noé et al., submitted). However, the positive value of a globalised food supply is being actively questioned. In industrialised countries, a citizens’ movement has arisen, sometimes supported by local public authorities, seeking to promote a local food supply. This movement aims to reclaim control of nutrition, re-create social links often destroyed by the extent of mass distribution, and develop the local economy. Developing countries are also attempting to strengthen their local food supply and recover part of their food sovereignty lost by decades of […]