Mike Small S Aconf2010


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Presentation from Mike Small (The Fife Diet) at the Soil Association annual conference 4 February 2010, The Custard Factory, Birmingham

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Mike Small S Aconf2010

  1. 1. Globalised Food Culture & Local AlternativesMike Small BA MA FRSAmike@fifediet@co.ukhttp://fifediet.co.uk<br />
  2. 2. “The absurd last-century idea that eating limitless piles of cheap, low-grade meat and dairy was some sort of democratic entitlement needs to be looked upon as an aberration in world history.”<br />Joanna Blythman<br />
  3. 3. What do we know?* At present the system of growing, distributing and eating food is hugely costly to the environment, to our health and to our economy. * The multiples have no real incentive in delivering healthy, affordable, unprocessed and low carbon food. They have every interest in delivering highly processed mass-produced food, and their infrastructure mitigates against participating in short supply chains or engaging with the local economy. * Fife has the highest per-capita of childhood obesity in the UK. In the UK childhood obesity rates have more than trebled in the past twenty years and if they continue at this rate it is predicted that more than half of British children will be obese by 2020. *Stuffed & Starved phenomenon: 6 billion rural poor likely to be one of the starved. Poor urban dweller you are likely to be one of the stuffed. The global food system doesn’t work.* The food system in the UK whilst seemingly monolithic is fragile and dysfunctional. <br />
  4. 4. <ul><li>Food is the average household number one contribution to climate change, responsible for nearly a third (31%) of our greenhouse gas emissions (for only 3.5% gdp) - through an accumulation of emissions from primary production, transportation, processing, storage, consumption and waste.(Source: Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead speaking at the debate on food policy at the Scottish Parliament)
  5. 5. The food we eat also has a major impact on the nation's health through the familiar litany - obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and allergies. According to Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, poor diet has overtaken smoking in Scotland as an avoidable cause of cancer.
  6. 6. While DEFRAS Food 2030 report offers some enlightenment, it is still policy dictated biotech companies, GM corporations and the multiples. It is still food policy driven by commercial interest and technological solutions rather than on the basis of socio-ecological need. Scottish Government remains completely opposed to GM. </li></li></ul><li>Realities of Food Miles<br /><ul><li>Pork - exports 195,000 / imports 240,000 tonnes
  7. 7. Butter exports 49,000 / imports 47,000 tonnes
  8. 8. Poultry exports 170,000 / imports 363,000 tonnes
  9. 9. Fresh Milk exports 119,000 /imports 114,000 tonnes
  10. 10. Live Pigs exports 110,000 pigs /</li></ul> imports 200,000 pigs<br />Source: The Absurd UK Food Swap’ C. Lucas ‘RelocalisingEuropes Food Supply (2001)<br />
  11. 11. £9 billion: the annual cost of food miles to the UK, including time lost from congestion, road wear and tear, ill health from pollution and noise, and road crashes.Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005<br />898: the average number of miles we drive to shop for food each year, compared with 747 in 1992 Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005<br />25%: the percentage of food transport delivered by HGVs on British roads. Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005)<br />15%: the estimated HGV mileage due to drivers getting lost.Source: Telford and Wrekin Council)<br />
  12. 12. 900: flying 1kg of asparagus from California to the UK uses 900 times more energy than the home-grown equivalent.Source: Independent newspaper 2005<br />13%: food accounts for 13% by weight of air-freighted goods worldwide.<br />47%: the percentage growth (by value) in the last three years of imports of food to the UK.Source: Food Climate Research Network<br />There must be an end to inter-continental trade in perishable food items. The realities of runaway climate change will impose dramatic changes in our food culture. The concept of ‘enough’ will become familiar.<br />Martini Food<br />
  13. 13. The apathy of business as usual <br />Contradictions - the excuses to say no to change<br />Political Fear <br />International solidarity<br />Greenwash from supermarkets <br />Challenges<br />
  14. 14.
  15. 15. <ul><li>Started in October 2007 and has run as a voluntary network growing from 14 members to over 650 in that period
  16. 16. Built membership through an ongoing series of ‘Community Assisted Lunches’ over the past three years hosted by people in their own communities. This is on the basis of ‘with not for’: opposite of passive consumerism.
  17. 17. Began to map the region for producers and develop a networkBegan to reclaim regional & national food culture (s)
  18. 18. Working with Fife Council to influence procurement policy around Free School Meals launching 2010 (Primary 1-3)
  19. 19. Now wholesaling basics (oats & flour)
  20. 20. Developing an 80-20 model of local eating ie 80% sourced within the region, 20% from wider Scotland or further afield</li></ul>The Fife Diet project...<br />
  21. 21. Now offering households tailored carbon account of their GHG reductions around food as tracked against baseline figure over a year long period <br />Aiming to build membership from 650 to 1500 and beyond over the next year<br />Helping to launch NOURISH: Scotland’s sustainable food network (Feb 2010)<br />The Fife Diet project...<br />
  22. 22. <ul><li>Saving money by eating a purely seasonal diet (£25 a week on a low-meat diet)
  23. 23. Reduce GHG emissions per household dramatically by combining local eating with reduced meat and dairy, increased organic and minimising food waste. Research published Spring 2011
  24. 24. Improved health benefits from avoiding embedded salt and sugar in industrialised food products
  25. 25. Strengthen local economy in time of economic failure (“No more boom and bust”)</li></ul>Benefits of eating locally by Fife Diet methods...<br />
  26. 26. Shift away from export led growth targets <br />Enforce enlightened public procurement policy<br />Engage mass conversion to organic methods<br />Develop horticultural / agricultural training, education & apprenticeships<br />Planning: strict controls of supermarkets<br />Complete ban on GM <br />Large-scale urban agriculture<br />Engage the concept of food sovereignty<br />Change work patterns: three day week<br />What can be done (legislative)?<br />
  27. 27. Scottish Climate Change Bill<br />* at least 80% cuts of all greenhouse gases (on 1990 levels) by 2050<br /> * a 2020 target of at least 42% reduction in greenhouse gases<br /> * include the full effects of emissions from international aviation and shipping from the start<br /> * requires ministers to report on consumption-based emissions - i.e. emissions produced anywhere in the world that result from Scotland&apos;s consumption of goods and services<br /> * a strong duty on all public bodies to make a full contribution to tackling climate change and<br /> * strong energy efficiency measures to tackle fuel poverty and save energy<br />
  28. 28. What can this mean?<br /><ul><li>Institutions re-localising
  29. 29. Transformative innovation in what we grow
  30. 30. Councils/ Local authorities responding and showing leadership
  31. 31. Closed-loop systems (ie waste, fuel, compost)
  32. 32. Continue to grow the Fife Diet project model elsewhere (Munster, Forth, Cornwall etc)
  33. 33. Presenting some real leadership at a national level about food sovereignty not just food security
  34. 34. Land being shared and worked collectively
  35. 35. Better food for better connected communities</li>