University of Cambridge > > Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) > Feeding Britain: should this rich country feed itself more or rely on others’ land and labour?

Feeding Britain: should this rich country feed itself more or rely on others’ land and labour?

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The lecture will explore the state of UK food security and ask whether it should be growing more food or continue to rely heavily on imports. The UK Food Security Report (Dec 2021) painted a picture which could either reassure or concern us. The UK is heavily import dependent. Home production has slowly fallen since the 1980s. It provides c.54% of what is consumed. There is a c.£25bn annual food trade deficit. Nearly a fifth of its population report being food insecure. The Cost of Living crisis means food is squeezed, hitting not just people on low incomes. Diet is already a major driver of ill-health and environmental damage. Why is this situation being accepted? Is it being normalized? Food receives little political attention, compared to energy costs. As a rich economy, is the UK being quietly taken back into a quasi-imperial situation where it will buy food from where land and labour are cheaper? Does this matter? If we wanted to grow more food, how could this be delivered? For what purpose? What are the blockages? With the Russian invasion of Ukraine reminding us how dependent food is on fossil-fuels, is time for a big rethink? The London Government sidelined the July 2021 Dimbleby report but might events make this change? Is the the public interest being left to Tesco et al?

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This talk is part of the Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) series.

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