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					   Food Security in a Change of Age

Inaugural Royal Society of Public Health Scottish Lecture


                            Tim Lang
                    Centre for Food Policy
                    City University London
                       t.lang@city.ac.uk



           Faculty of Public Health Scottish Conference
                     Peebles Hydro, Scotland
                      November 12 & 13 2009
                                                          1
               Summary
• Food security a key issue for public health
• Neo-Malthusian talk returns but is crude
• New & Old Fundamentals face C21st food
• The new Age needs Ecological Public Health
• This means omni-standards
• Public health messages to consumers and
  the food system need to change
• Key notion will be sustainable diets
• Everywhere needs to grow, process,
  distribute and cook food sustainably
                                           2
1. Food security overview




                            3
World food production, per capita
           1960-2007




                                                      4
  Source: FAO figs / Defra Food Pocketbook 2009 p35
Proportion of undernourished
  people, global, 1990-2007




                                 5
      Source: FAO SOFI 2008 p7
Ratio of world grain stocks to
  consumption, 1990-2007




      Source: FAO figs / Defra Food Pocketbook 2009 p36   6
Origins of food consumed in UK, by
     unprocessed value, 2007




                                                      7
  Source: FAO figs / Defra Food Pocketbook 2009 p35
 Trade Gap Food, Feed & Drink,
          1988-2007




                                                    8
Source: FAO figs / Defra Food Pocketbook 2009 p35
UK food production, 1988-2008




                                                    9
Source: FAO figs / Defra Food Pocketbook 2009 p37
 Self-sufficiency ratios for a sample of
commodities 1980-2005 Defra (2006) Fig 6-2, p 34




                                               10
UK weak in EU production eg. Fruit




                                     11
2. What’s the problem in
        all this?




                           12
         A bigger picture looms
•   Pace of output dropping
•   Massive inequalities
•   Waste: 25% in UK
•   Fragility: oil-dependency
•   Coming problems: climate change, water
•   Under-investment
•   Policy drift
•   Politics: not our problem but LDC
•   Consumer expectations                    13
          Defra 2006 FS paper
• “Poverty and subsistence agriculture are root causes of
  national food insecurity. National food security is hugely
  more relevant for developing countries than the rich
  countries of Western Europe.” (p23)
• There is enough food to feed the world
• Self-sufficiency is an undesirable goal for a
  trading nation (and won’t work anyway)
• UK can and should buy on open markets
  and work for CAP reform (HMT & Defra
  2005 A Vision for the CAP)
• Contingency planning is needed (p51)
                                                               14
             UK debate hots up
• Altered by 2005ff prices
• Counter positions:
  – Threats: Chatham House
  – Company worries
  – D.A. positions stress output
    (Scotland, Wales)
  – EFRA Comm.ee: grow more
  – Sustainability: SDC et al
  – NGOs
                                   15
     Flurry in Whitehall (2000s)
•   Curry Commission (2002)
•   HMT / Defra Vision for the CAP (2005)
•   Defra Food Security & the UK (2006)
•   Cabinet Office Strategy Unit review 2007-08 
    Food Matters (July 2008)
•   HMT Global Commodities paper (2008)
•   Defra Ensuring UK’s FS (July 2008)
•   Foresight Land Use + Food projects (2008-10)
•   Defra indicators project (Oct 2008-09)
• EFRA Committee (2009)
                                                    16
    Policy complicated by a web of
    different notions & meanings…
•   Food security: access, availability, affordability
•   Food nationalism: self-sufficiency, autarky
•   Food defence: feeding in dire circumstances
•   Food control: the actions of state (rationing)
•   Food resilience: capacity to withstand shock
•   Food risks: factors which threaten goals
•   Food sovereignty: ensuring societal control
•   Food democracy: full social engagement
•   Food capacity: capability to produce
•   Community food security: local food systems
                                                         17
            Risks from shock
       (legacy of 2000 lorry strike)
• UK is resilient with some problems exposed:
  Cranfield 2006 study for Defra
  http://www.defra.gov.uk/science/project_data/DocumentLibrary/FT0352/FT0352_4705_FRP.doc

• Potential shocks in FS discourse:
   –   Power (centralised + no back-up)
   –   Supply chain management
   –   Environment: long-term climate change?
   –   Health: avian ‘flu impact on labour?
   –   Transport: fuel prices up? (SDC study)
   –   Power: Russians turn off the gas?
   –   Taut supply chains = less storage?
                                                                                        18
3. The New Fundamentals
   for Food Policy today




                           19
        New (& Old) Fundamentals

•   Climate change        •   Population (9bn 2050)
•   Fuel / oil / energy   •   Urbanisation
•   Water                 •   Affluence (BRICs +)
•   Land use              •   Inequality
•   Biodiversity          •   Nutrition transition
                          •   Healthcare costs
•   Labour
                          •   Waste


                                                20
This is a more complex world:
     e.g. what is land for?
• Amenity (leisure)      •   Food (consumption)
• Culture (identity)     •   Carbon sinks (climate)
• Health (exercise)      •   Water (aquifers)
• Buildings (property)   •   Biodiversity (life)
• Transport (roads)
                         •   Fuel (biofuel)
                         • Fibre   (biomass)

                                                21
                               E+W AGRIC LABOUR FORCE 1996-2007
                                        NB 1983-1996 decline of total agri labour force was 28%
                                            (1996= change of data collection methodology)
                                                                       Total agricultural labour force 1996-2007

                               440.0




                               420.0




                               400.0
    Labour force (thousands)




                               380.0




                               360.0




                               340.0




                               320.0




                               300.0
                                       June 1996 June 1997 June 1998 June 1999 June 2000 June 2001 June 2002 June 2003 June 2004 June 2005 June 2006 June 2007




Source: Defra 2007 Labour force statistics. York Dec 2007                                                                                                   22
Food’s impact on environment
• Food consumption accounts for 31% of all
  consumption related GHG emissions
 source: EC (2005) life cycle environmental impact of products [EIPRO]


• Waste from UK homes – c.30% wasted:
  – 40% cannot be recycled
  – 5.2 million tonnes of food-related packaging
  – 6.7 million tonnes of food waste
 source: WRAP 2007

• Food is heavy water user:
  – UK agriculture uses 742 million m3 of water
  – Food & drink industry 155 million m3 used
 source: Defra (2007) Water use in the supply chain
                                                                         23
     Products’ virtual water content (litres)
•   glass beer (250ml) = 75                      • 1 potato (100g) = 25
•   glass milk (200ml) = 200                     • 1 bag of potato crisps
•   glass wine (125ml) = 120                        (200g) =185
•   glass apple juice (125ml)                    • 1 egg (40g) = 135
    =190                                         • 1 hamburger (150g) =
•   cup coffee (125ml) = 140                        2400
•   cup of tea (125ml) = 35                      • 1 cotton T-shirt (medium,
                                                    500g) = 4100
•   slice of bread (30g) = 40
                                                 • 1 sheet A4 paper
•   slice of bread (30g) with                       (80g/m20) = 10
    cheese (10g) = 90
                                                 • 1 pair of shoes (bovine
                                                    leather) = 8000
                                                                           24
                                                 • 1 microchip (2g) = 32
     Source: WWF (2006) Rich Countries, Poor Water.
              www.panda.org/freshwater
New ‘narrative’ emerging: eg. H2O per
           calorie (health)




                                          25
source: Joanne Zygmunt / Waterwise 2007
4. This means returning
   notions of Health &
  Progress away from
engineering and fixes to
ecological public health


                           26
Old roots to the debate: 3 M’s




                                Gregor Mendel
Karl Marx   Rev.Thomas Malthus Monk & geneticist
1818-1883       (1766-1834)       (1822-1884)
             An Essay on the Principle of    27
                 Population (1798)
C19th Agricultural progressives




                             Justus von Liebig
   Sir John Bennet Lawes    chemist (1803-1873)
    agricultural research
         (1803-1873)
                                                  28
  C19th Health progressives




     Rudolf Virchow               Sir Joseph Bazalgette
Public health physician, Berlin   Sewerage engineer, London
        (1821 – 1902 )                  (1819 - 1891)
                                                              29
early C20th social progressives




B Seebohm Rowntree
UK Social researcher        F Wibaut
and reformer (1871-    Amsterdam alderman,
                        welfare & housing        School meals
       1954)                                                  30
                       champion (1859-1936 )   (1906 in England)
C20th ‘welfarism’: linking food,
   health, income & justice




John Boyd Orr
 (1880-1971)                        George Stapledon
 public health   Elsie Widdowson      (1882-1960)
1st D-G of FAO      (1908-2000)       soil scientist
                     nutritionist                31
  The C20th policy formula
    (the Productionist paradigm)

Science + capital +
distribution  output 
cheaper food
 health = progress

                                   32
            Consumption:
     for the rich or the masses?




    Thorstein Veblen          Alexis de Tocqueville
       (1857-1929)                 (1805-1859)
Theory of the Leisure Class   Democracy in America    33
Modernity: celebrities, burgerisation
     & supermarketisation?




                                  34
5. C21st food challenge is
    about how to link
ecology, culture & costs



                             35
  Politics: is the
problem population
    or wealth?
   source: Hertwich & Peters / Sustainable Consumption Institute
                              (2009)
http://www.sci.manchester.ac.uk/medialibrary/copenhagenpaper.pdf




                                                                   36
 Meat & fish: how much more?




                               37
Source: FAO/Worldwatch 2008
Fish: eat more, less, differently or none?

 • YES (nutritionists)
    – long chain omega 3s / 2 portions a week (one
      oily)
    – FSA, Eurodiet, WHO etc
 • NONE or LESS (environmentalists)
    – Stocks running out
    – strong evidence: FAO (SOFIA), RCEP 2004,
      Pew 2003
 • DIFFERENTLY (eco-business)
    – Marine Stewardship Council, Organics, China38
   Fat is overproduced yet
consumers are told to eat less




         WHO/FAO (2003) Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention   39
             of Chronic Diseases.WHO TR 916 p.18
6. Policy begins to engage
   with this bigger EPH
          picture



                             40
The good news: pressure on Govt
• Some companies realise big changes are needed:
  –   Co. actions eg Marks & Spencer Plan A (choice-editing)
  –   Coalitions eg Tesco et al TNC coalition launched Oct 09
  –   Wal-Mart’s Sustainable Product Index
  –   Company advisors: BSI’s PAS2050, Carbonostics, etc
• Civil society has flourishing experiments:
  – Fife Diet, Vancouver 100 mile diet, Growing
    Communities, London Food Network 2012, etc
• Academic networks spawning good policy
  – e.g. Food & Climate Research Network
  – e.g. IAASTD 2008
                                                           41
Sweden takes the
 lead?
• Offers evidence-based eco-
  nutrition guidelines (May
  2009)
• Now submitted to the
  European Commission
• Joint work by National Food
  Administration & Swedish
  Environmental Protection
  Agency
• Other input (e.g. Swedish
  Board of Fisheries)
• Framed around eco-
  conscious consumers,
  rather than population
• Focus on key food groups
• BUT PREMISSED ON:
  - thoughtful consumers
  - voluntarism

                                42
 NL Ministry of Agriculture, Nature
    & Food Quality June 2008
• Policy Document on Sustainable Food: towards
  sustainable production and consumption of
  food http://www.minlnv.nl/portal/page?_pageid=116,1640321&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_file_id=39545
• Objectives
     – Stimulating sustainable innovations in the Dutch agrifood
       complex
     – Enable and entice Dutch consumers to buy sustainable
       (and healthy) food
     – Influencing the international agenda
• Approach:
     – voluntarism, information, innovation (GMOs),
                                                                                               43
       productivity, etc
      UK stirs into action?
Two UK Cabinet Office 2008 reports




                               44
  Recent Whitehall developments
• Sustainable Development position
   – Securing the Future (2005) White Paper
   – Climate Change Act (2008)
• Obesity crisis
   – Foresight 2008 Tackling Obesities Change4Life
• Call for policy integration:
   – Cabinet Office Food Matters (2008)
• Institutional reform
   – Council of Food Policy Advisors created (2008)
   – Cabinet Domestic Affairs (Food) Committee (2009)
• But tensions over food security / UK food production
   – Defra Food Security papers (2006, 2008)
   – SDC Food Security paper (2009)
                                                        45
But UK now multi-level system
• Scotland and Wales developing policy
• Scotland:
  – Recipe for Success
  – Scotland’s National Food and Drink Policy
• Dangers of sectional interests too:
  – Eg Scotland: exports whiskey and meat
  – Eg Wales: concern for small farmers



                                                46
             The EU picture
• General silence on ecological food policy
• Some action on environment:
  – Pillar 2, Agri-environment schemes, HealthCheck
• Weak position on health:
  – information-led; only ‘soft’ powers
• CAP is on the defensive just when it should
  be modernised for ecological public health
• Europe will be key food producer by 2030
  – Water crisis; Climate change; Peak Oil
                                                47
Different messages for different products at different sectors
Source: Sustainable Consumption Institute 2009 pg 22




                                                          48
7. Key tasks ahead




                     49
i. ‘Omni-Standards’ not trade-offs
 Quality:                      Environmental:
 •   Taste                     •   Climate change
 •   Seasonality               •   Water
 •   Localness (?)             •   Land use
 •   Fresh (?)                 •   Biodiversity
 •   Identity / authenticity   •   Waste reduction
 Social values:                Health:
 •   Pleasure
 •   Animal welfare            •   Safety
 •   Working conditions        •   Nutrition
 •   Equality                  •   Access / affordability
 •   Cost internalisation      •   Information & education
 •   Trust
                                                         50
     ii. Politics: appropriate use of the
    full range of levers (‘soft’ to ‘hard’)

•   Advice               • Licensing
•   Labeling             • Subsidies
•   Education            • Competition rules
•   Public information   • Taxes & fiscal
•   Endorsements           measures
•   Welfare support      • Bans
•   Product standards    • Rationing

                                               51
iii. Less choice, more choice-editing?




            Source: Lang, Barling & Caraher (2009)   52
               Food Policy, OUP
  iv. Experiment & share lessons
• Regions: Toscana, Wales, Scotland, Cuba
• Cities: London (2012), Toronto, Belo Horizonte,
  Amsterdam, Roma
• Food Policy Councils: 100 in USA, Toronto
• Markets rebuilt: Barcelona, Borough (London)
• Transition towns: Europe
• Urban agriculture: Africa, Asia
• Projects: Incredible Edible Todmorden, Fife
                                             53
     v. Clarify ‘sustainable diets’
•   Priority is to cut down on meat & dairy (Stern)
•   More plants (fruit and veg) = ‘win, win’
•   Eat more locally, seasonably to be low carbon
•   Get biodiversity into the field & onto the plate
•   Build exercise when shopping (NL model)
•   Support tap water not bottled drinks
•   Accept price signals will change
•   Launch an International Panel on Sustainable
    Diets (model: IPCC or IAASTD or CSDH ?)

                                                   54
Conclusions




              55
     Can we feed the world & UK
           sustainably?
•   Yes, probably…
•   …but only if there is big change…
•   …on many fronts…
•   …by everyone…
•   …government, supply chain…consumers
•   …all at once
•   …very fast!

                                          56
   So the big questions are:
• Q 1. Do we change fast enough now?
  – Answer: No, not fast or deep enough yet
• Q2. If not, will we be forced to change?
  – Answer: probably - by shocks such as war or
    water
• Q3. How could we get change quicker and
  more deeply?
  – Answer: with difficulty but we must try
• Q4. Is there any hope?
  – Answer: yes, there are signs of movement but
    we need to work very hard!                 57
    Thanks!

t.lang@city.ac.uk




                    58

				
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