4 How can we adapt our food systems to mitigate these effects?

4.1 Developing a resilient food system

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.

Activity 1

Read the following resources:

‘Can Britain Feed Itself’? by Simon Fairlie (2007). You can find it at Transition Culture.

The Soil Association’s plan for climate-friendly food and farming.

Also read examples of different approaches taking place in transition towns:

Can Totnes Feed Itself?, an article on the website of Transition Town Totnes.

Food Availability in Stroud District (2008); available from Stroud District Community Websites.

In 2006 I started to look at this issue in Milton Keynes, though at the time there was not the sense of urgency around climate change and peak oil. The emerging local food movement that was identified in my report has yet to really flourish in Milton Keynes though some progress has been made in getting the importance of local food planning into the Council's Core Strategy planning document, challenging the dominance of the supermarkets and setting up an urban farming demonstration project, which is supplying some of the city's restaurants with locally grown salads. There is still much to do and it would be useful to apply some of the more recent food planning frameworks to Milton Keynes.

See my report, Food MK: Using Food to Build Communities in Milton Keynes, by Alissa Pemberton published by Food Train in 2006.

3.2 The impact of climate change on industrial agriculture

4.2 The need for structural change