The Inconvenient Truth?

Britain will face a food crisis unless people cut their meat consumption and consume more local food, according to new research commissioned by the Soil Association.

Based on research from City University London, the Soil Association's latest report - 'An Inconvenient Truth About Food' - states that the UK is on the brink of a food and farming crisis.

It claims that the current food supply chain is not fit to meet the challenges of climate change, rising oil prices and food-related illness and suggests that the government should take action to create a UK 'food plan' based on sustainable production.

Soil Association director Patrick Holden said: "We need to evolve beyond intensive food production systems, which use 10 calories of mainly fossil fuel energy to produce each single calorie of food. We have to cut greenhouse gas emissions from farming by 80%. This represents the greatest challenge that has confronted our food and farming systems since the Industrial Revolution.

"Action at every level - government, local communities and individuals - will be essential if the necessary changes are to be put in place. We have to act now to start cutting greenhouse gases. Diet-related ill-health is already causing misery to many and costing the UK billions of pounds. According to a UK Industry Task Force we could face serious price and supply problems with the fossil fuels our current farming systems rely on well before 2020."

The Soil Association has proposed a six-point plan "to secure sustainable and affordable food supplies of staple foods". Key recommendations include: increased use of renewable energy, rotational farming systems, localised food economies with more local processing facilities and abattoirs, rail distribution and a shift away from "excessive" meat consumption.

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