Saturday 2 May 2015

Food, Food banks, Sustainable food production

It seems impossible that in Britain today anyone should be short of food, not when Supermarkets are throwing food away and selling so much that families also discard food that has just past a sell-by date. However, it appears that people are being referred to food banks more frequently than we can ever remember. Something is going wrong. The main reason that individuals have been given food vouchers is that they have problems with their benefits, and it appears that this means people on low wages as well as un-waged. According to the BBC:

"Nevertheless, the UK is not alone in seeing an increase in food bank use. The problem is also in evidence elsewhere in Europe and the US. As the UN has noted, the problem of food poverty is a reflection of greater societal inequality, not just fluctuations in a local economy." (

The economy may be improving, but wealth is not being filtered down to most people. So what can be done about this? The Green Party have many plans to redistribute the wealth of this nation, and they are committed to making sure that even a low wage is a Living Wage, the amount of money you need for the basics of life. We also want to ensure that nutritious food is available to everyone at prices that they can afford. The Manifesto also has a lot to say about food production and would encourage more sustainable farming methods as opposed to industrial farming.

Not everyone wants to leave this to politicians, however. Today I met a group of people in Melbourne (Derby's) who have formed a Transition Group ( who want to take action as a community to counteract the effects of climate change and fossil fuels. One of their projects is Whistlewood Common, a co-operatively owned piece of land where they are practising Permaculture (, planting edible trees with crops below them, making multiple use of the land. I am not suggesting that the people using food banks should get out their trowels and start digging, that may not be practical where they live. But if politicians cared about equality; supported the sustainable use of land; gave incentives for small farmers, small businesses and local food supplies as well as giving a living wage, then more people would be able to afford to eat and food banks would no longer exist.

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