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January Update

Mounting concerns about feeding the world with rising food prices and an unpredictable climate has been a focus in the news recently. There were further pertinent questions at a new economics foundation (nef) / Food Ethics Council Food Justice Conference and at the City Food Lecture attended by myself and members of the Slow Food UK team this month. Yet, while food prices escalate and speculation fuels the volatility of small-scale producers across the world, we ignore one fact: that after World War 2 the UK spent one third of its domestic income on food; and now that amount is at just 9%. We spend so much less on our food, and eat so much more.

As nef’s report An Inconvenient Sandwich states, in the UK alone we spend £10billion a year on cheap, fast food, yet we rarely factor in the additional social and environmental costs – or the cost to the poor farmer who is spending 60 to 80% of their income on food.

So, what about an alternative to cheap and easy processed and frozen food, such as Tom Bean’s community pizza oven? We highlight individuals who are finding simple solutions right on their doorstep. Food prices may be rising, but so is enthusiasm and support for a transition to better food systems. What’s inspiring you? We want to hear! Cat

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