In order to increase our food security and reclaim our food sovereignty, a systemic and structural change must take place in how we plan our food systems. This will require a radical transformation of farming methods and reconstruction of more regionalised food processing and distribution networks.

It is not about aiming for complete self-sufficiency, however, but rather aiming for a way to develop a resilient food system that can respond positively to global shocks.

Work is already being done by individuals and communities on how to bring about this change despite the government’s insistence on continuing to promote policies that prop up trade liberalisation and the global market.

There will need to be a massive recruitment drive and re-skilling for low carbon farming. Many more people will need to be involved in food production, replacing the fossil fuel driven machinery that has replaced human energy. This is not to advocate a return to solely human labour.

Much of this must come about alongside a change in diet and tastes towards more plant-based foods that are less processed.

We will have to eat less meat, and the meat we eat will need to be reared outdoors on extensive pasture systems, preferably with an increasing emphasis on utilising wild animals whose meat is a by-product of sustainable management.

Farming methods will need to adapt and organic farming will need to be the minimum. Permaculture and agroforestry will have to play a much greater role in achieving multiple functions from land. So, as well as producing food, land must produce fuel, wildlife habitats and sustainable livelihoods.

Systemic changes in where we live, how we live on the land, and our patterns of settlement will need to change radically. We will need to work towards the principle of ensuring that where possible our staple foods are produced close to where they are consumed in order to reduce food transport and support food security.

There will need to be more small farms, more mixed farming and family farms alongside producer cooperatives, larger farms and some imports. Where food is imported it must be only if it cannot be produced internally, and it must be traded fairly to avoid the so-called ‘food swaps’ where governments seek to raise taxes by importing similar amounts of foods to those they are exporting.

Many land reformers promote the idea of re-ruralisation; in other words, re-populating the countryside with low impact, localised agricultural communities. The government has many strategies around what it calls ‘sustainable communities’; however, at present our planning system does not support this kind of development, a fact that will be considered in the next chapter.

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