photo by magnusfranklin (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Britain must grow more food, while using less water and reducing emission of greenhouse gases, to respond to the challenge of climate change and growing world populations, the environment secretary, Hilary Benn, said yesterday.


U.K. environment secretary Hilary Benn has called for a change in how Britain consumes and produces its food. The British government’s 20 year plan highlights research, technology and sustainability, and is consumer-led, with the onus on the public to buy green, waste less and grow more. The idea is that if the buyers demand greener products, then British businesses will follow suit and produce them. The U.K. already has a high percentage of people who grow their own fruit and vegetables – a third according to the Department of the Environment. The government would like to encourage more of this along with increased consumption of produce from local farmers. Less meat consumption and a move to more organic, ‘green’ foods has multiple benefits in terms of health and sustainability as well as the pressing issues of pollution and climate change.

Criticism of the plan came from the group Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, who described the changes as ‘minor’ and lacking in crucial topics such as children’s consumption of junk food. The Soil Association described various government statements concerning diet as ‘confusing’.

Read more about the U.K. government’s national food strategy in the Guardian article entitled ‘Britain must grow more sustainable food, says Benn’.