This post is by Jim Elliott, senior policy adviser and Tom Booker, policy assistant at Green Alliance
Lab grown meat and dairy, produced from a group of starter cells or from genetically modified microorganisms, rather than animals, is fast becoming a reality. Recent news revealed that a US company had won approval from Singapore’s food regulator to sell lab grown meat in the country. Meanwhile, a test restaurant has been set up in Israel, though it is waiting on the state regulator for approval to sell its lab grown chicken to the public. Media coverage has tended to focus on consumers, addressing questions like what lab grown meat tastes and feels like, whether people will want to eat it, or be able to afford it. But there are also big questions about what these technologies will mean for the food system, for farmers and for our environment. To find out more about this, we surveyed people working in NGOs, research organisations and farming groups to gauge their perceptions, and what opportunities and risks lab grown meat poses.
In 2018 I carried out a series of interviews with family farms in the North York Moors. I was researching what impact the twin changes of leaving the EU and transitioning to a ‘public money for public goods’ subsidy system could have on their lives. Those I visited welcomed me with open arms and, although many had struggled in recent times, they were keen to make the new system work. And we need this system to work. A new RSPB report reveals a “lost decade” for British wildlife. Restorative land use takes time, so we really don’t have many more opportunities to get it right.
This post is by George L Young of Curtis Farm, Fobbing, Essex, a zero-tillage mixed farm. It is a shorter version of a post on his own blog.
There are many issues with the current farming and food system. Long, convoluted supply chains dilute nutrition, and farmers can be an undervalued and underpaid part of the chain. Read more
This post is by Tim Lang, professor of food policy, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London. It has also been published by the Food Research Collaboration.
The Agriculture Bill published last week was long awaited. It’s mostly about money: those £3.2bn Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies which will start evaporating in seven months.
The long awaited agriculture bill has had a pretty resounding thumbs up from environmentalists. Greener UK described it as “a huge step in the right direction”. Wildlife and Countryside Link called it “an important step forward for farming and wildlife”. WWF’s Tony Juniper tweeted: “For all of the 35 years I’ve been in conservation, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been one of the biggest threats to our wildlife & environment. Today I hope that the tanker begins to turn.” Others heralded “a landmark day” or said that Michael Gove had “fired the starting pistol for change”, or viewed it as “a welcome statement of intent about this Government’s future policy ambitions”. Read more