Food for thought
Christmas is a time when, among other things, we focus on food - for celebration and for want. But do we need a fundamental rethink?
That is the contention of Professor Tim Lang, who is one of the more radical and experienced thinkers on the Food Council established by Hilary Benn.
In a recent speech he highlighted:
* Oil and energy: "We have an entirely oil-based food economy, and yet oil is running out. The impact of that on agriculture is one of the drivers of the volatility in the world food commodity markets."
* Water scarcity: "One of the key things that I have been pushing is to get the UK government to start auditing food by water," Professor Lang said, adding that 50% of the UK's vegetables are imported, many from water-stressed nations.
* Biodiversity: "Biodiversity must not just be protected, it must be replaced and enhanced; but that is going to require a very different way growing food and using the land."
* Urbanisation: "Probably the most important thing within the social sphere. More people now live in towns than in the countryside. In which case, where do they get their food?"
Professor Lang argues that in order to feed a projected nine billion people by 2050, policymakers and scientists face a fundamental challenge: how can food systems work with the planet and biodiversity, rather than raiding and pillaging it?
Select the newsletter(s) to which you want to subscribe or unsubscribe.