Many of us have worked hard to provide surplus food to those in need through food banks and charities. But it is increasingly clear this is only a sticking plaster – food aid cannot be a long-term solution to waste or poverty.
The Government has the tools to solve the distinct problems of food waste and poverty, and must use them urgently.
Halving food waste would slash emissions, save cropland to feed the UK through low-waste agro-ecological farming, and save millions of hectares to restore nature. We need ambitious regulation to speed slow action to date – including mandatory food waste reporting and reduction targets for larger businesses – and increased funding for waste prevention.
To ensure everyone can afford to eat, we need to end poverty and its basis: vast inequality. The Government must introduce measures to share wealth more equally, including introducing a living income, fairer taxation, strengthened social safety nets prioritising adequate financial assistance and a right to healthy, sustainable and culturally appropriate food.
If we design a better economic system which wastes less and shares more equally, we can ensure everyone has healthy, sustainable food to eat. That should be central to the government’s food strategy.
This is Rubbish
Professor Raj Patel
Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN)
Real Junk Food Project
Land Workers Alliance
Slow Food in the UK