June 1st, 2020
Well, it’s June 1st, the first day of the summer months.
‘Lockdown easing’ has started in England; and barbecues, those traditional English favourites, are allowed (with restrictions, of course…).
To herald this piece of news, the accompanying photo I saw was of rows of sausages – unlikely to be vegetarian sausages…?! I wonder if one day it will be ‘normal’ to enjoy a picnic/meal outdoors without sausage rolls…?!
Last year the National Food Strategy was launched – I think I might have mentioned this in an earlier ‘post’: I wrote to Henry Dimbleby, the ‘independent lead’ of the project, and he replied with a sweet pledge to do the best he could for my grandson….!
The NFS is the first independent review of England’s entire food system for 75 years. Included in its ambitious aims is ensuring our food system ‘restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation in this country’.
The statement above this aim says the system needs to be ‘robust in the face of future shocks’.
I doubt anyone was prepared or could have imagined how soon the countryside and farming, and the whole world, would be tested by this year’s shock of coronavirus.
One of the review’s plans was to create Citizens’ Assemblies (so important, to consult people, everyone seems to agree…) – I was too late to contribute to that process (how many of us knew it was going on, I wonder..?). And now, I’m told, “The National Food Strategy team has temporarily paused our work, so that we can concentrate on helping the Government ensure that food gets to the most vulnerable people in society over the coming weeks…” Fair enough.
‘Henry and the National Food Strategy team’ went on to say, “This is a vital endeavour…more so than ever, in fact. We will be returning to the work with renewed vigour as soon as we are able to and we will stay in touch through a strong, national network of food system ambassadors.”
So, check out the National Food Strategy website if you’re involved in farming, food supplies and/or have opinions about the future of these – from a ‘tweet’ at the beginning of last month, it looks as if Henry Dimbleby is gearing up to get going again….(please also follow my tweets, if possible, by the way, at #grandmaglobal)
I hope he remembers his ‘story of hope’ back in 2019 , to ‘pivot this system ….delivering sustenance, pleasure, jobs and (for some!) profit, to one that does that while simultaneously restoring and enhancing our environment, sequestering carbon and that stops making us sick’. I think he was referring to obesity ‘sickness’ – now the virus must make us re-think too….
In his speech to the Oxford Farming Conference in January this year he said: “We need to start framing the carbon problem as one of both production and consumption. The current production-only climate change targets make no sense. What is the point of doing the enormous amount of work required to create a net-zero farming economy here, if we then just import that carbon from other countries?”
I’m sure all (6?..) my ‘readers’ buy local food as far as possible – influencing family and friends is the start of changing demand: we’re all customers/consumers.
So, connected with barbecue/picnic time, I’ll quote Professor Joe Smith, chief executive of the Royal Geographic Society, who told BBC News: “For many people, the recent long sunny spell is simply ‘nice weather’. In a wider context it’s a signal of the increasing unpredictability of the UK’s climate. Planning for the growing season is starting to resemble a night at the gambling tables. “The fact remains that bold early actions to slash emissions can still cut the larger risks associated with climate change in the UK and around the world.”
Eating no meat would contribute to ‘slashing emissions’….
And, finally on the outdoors summer theme, my attitude to wasps (unwelcome picnic ‘guests’) has changed – even since last summer….!
I’m still anxious to keep away from them, for my grandchild’s sake mainly, of course, but I can admire them from afar – that vibrating on wooden surfaces is them ‘eating’ paper to use for their nests (a skill my nephew told me about ); but, more important for the environment is that wasps as well as bees pollinate plants. So, don’t kill their busy, buzzing please!