Let’s reclaim food

Setting the tone for an evening of discussion, connection, and empowerment for a better food future, organised by South Cotswolds Liberal Democrats in association with the Royal Agricultural University. 7th March, 6.30 to 9.00pm. Details at the end of this piece. 

Food is fundamental. In an increasingly divided Britain, our need for food is something that unites us all.

Access to nutritious food in the crucial years of childhood affects brain development and future health prospects – which in turn influence prospects of getting a good job and earning a decent living.

Producing good food locally and without harmful chemicals directly benefits the health of our soil, rivers, and wildlife, and healthier soil absorbs more carbon dioxide and also more water, reducing the risk of flooding.

Traditionally, food has been at the heart of family and community life – growing, cooking, and eating together has been the mainstay of society. Eating isn’t just a biological necessity – it is a ritual, a celebration, a way of remembering that humans are intimately connected with each other and with our landscape.

Yet now we live in a country where…

Excessive consumption of ultra-processed food, which currently makes up half the UK diet, leads to obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and general poor health. Treating these preventable diseases is contributing to the crisis in the NHS, and ultimately the cost is borne by the taxpayer, by all of us.

2.2 million tonnes of food packaging contributes to litter and landfill, while food transportation incurs millions of food miles – around 20% of all CO2 emissions.

Supply chain disruptions in our globalised food system lead to shortages of foods on supermarket shelves, raising question marks over our food resilience and self-sufficiency.

Britain has a long and rich history of farming, yet we now import nearly half of the food we consume. Meanwhile, the UK has among the highest food poverty rates in Europe, with nearly 10 million adults facing food insecurity, and 4 million children in food poverty, including over half of Universal Credit claimants.

I believe it’s time we reclaimed British food from big multinational corporations who sell us food that destroys our health, while reaping massive profits that enable them to send powerful lobbyists to curry favour with central government.

I’d like to see a fair deal for British farmers that enables them to do what they want to do – grow food while making a decent living. I’d like to see more support for farmers’ markets, reconnecting food growers with their customers.

I’d like to see community gardens springing up everywhere, in cities towns, and villages, so that anyone who wants to can enjoy the mental and physical benefits of gardening, getting to know their neighbours, and learning how to grow their own fruit and veg.

It’s time we democratised food. It’s going to be a huge challenge, but there’s so much we can do within our communities to improve access to good, healthy food. I am incredibly inspired by projects like Kemble Community Gardens, which show what’s possible when people come together with a shared mission.

A small team of us are organising an event in partnership with the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester to explore these and other ideas on Thursday 7th March, 6.30 to 9.00pm. Our event is called Fairer Food, Better Britain. Tickets available on Eventbrite, £5 waged, free to unwaged/students.

I very much hope to see you there!

Other News:

Yesterday I was at the ITV studios in Bristol for a tour and reception with fellow parliamentary candidates from across the region. Great to reconnect with my fellow Lib Dem candidates, and thanks to the ITV team for hosting.

Looking at this photo, I realise we need to work on our diversity – we do have male candidates too, honestly!

(L-R: me, Anna Sabine of Frome and East Somerset, Sarah Gibson of Chippenham, Caroline Voaden of Totnes and South Devon, Tessa Munt of Wells)

To keep up to date with me and my campaign, please follow me on Facebook! Or on LinkedIn, if that’s more your style.

We’re keen to welcome more campaigners to our team to help with deliveries and/or doorknocking. Please consider lending us an hour or two a month. Email my wonderful Campaign Organiser, Poppy Fair, for more details.

We are especially looking for help with media liaison and social media. 
Ideally 4-8 hours per week. Details available on request. No obligation – please get in touch!

We are also looking for financial support. Every pound matters – even the price of a weekly latte would help. If you’re ready for positive change in the South Cotswolds, please put your money where your mouth is by hitting Reply to this email, and I’ll let you know how. Thank you! 🙏

Quote(s) of the Week

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
—  J.R.R. Tolkien
Have a great week!


Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

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