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food security

Food Security

Our food system is centralised and unstable. We need our food supplies to be diverse, with much more food grown locally. We're organising a new conversation in Wales, based on the work of Professor Tim Lang, about building "food resilience".

Other countries are preparing for emergencies and showing the way.

  • Canada and Germany are drafting comprehensive food plans that address resilience.
  • France requires cities to have a plan to feed their populations from their rural hinterlands.
  • Latvia and Sweden have a total defence plan for emergencies, with information for all citizens.
  • Sweden advises every household to have an emergency stock of food and water.
  • Lithuania and Switzerland have national food reserves/stockpiles.
  • ….. but in Wales? Nothing…(yet)!
food bank

Across the UK, we experienced panic buying and empty shelves during Covid, preventing health and emergency workers in particular from accessing food. Food poverty is already escalating as war, climate overheating, and trade barriers drive up the price of food delivered through global food supply chains. 20% of people in Wales experienced a shortage of food in 2021-2022 (IPSOS and the Trussell Trust, Hunger in Wales, 2023).

What could we do?

We’re developing a programme to work out with key stakeholders what Wales should do, but in the meantime, we’ve listed some of the things Professor Tim Lang is suggesting.

What we could be doing.

Our action

Pierhead Building, Cardiff

Food Shocks: Is Wales ready for an unstable global food system? Food Security event with Professor Tim Lang at the Senedd, 16th April. Hosted by the Wellbeing of Future Generations Commissioner and attended by the Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs and a cross-party panel of MSs.

Some photos of the event
local veg

We'll present the findings of Professor Lang's report, as they apply to Wales, on a new website, based on the four levels of action he recommends: national, regional, community, and household.

conversation

Working with sector network organisations, we'll organise conversations for, among others, local governments, Public Service Boards, town & community councils, sustainable food partnerships, local resilience forums, farmers, and higher education institutions.

Seeding

We'll make proposals for national, regional and community level actions following the conversations. We'll also make proposals for the National Food Strategy being proposed by the Future Generations Commissioner.

Threats and vulnerabilities

flooding in Crickhowell

Threats

Destruction of farming by extreme weather events and natural disasters driven by climate overheating - droughts, floods and fire.

Shortages of the resources needed for food growing and transport that drive up prices – oil, labour, capital, phosphate, clean water.

Aggression – wars and terrorism disrupting food transport, particularly through pinch points (e.g. Red Sea), and software/satellite systems controlling logistics.

Economic barriers – trade friction, theft/piracy, currency fluctuations.

Social disorder – panic stockpiling, rioting, looting.

Technology failures – software, infrastructure.

Health emergencies – pandemics, epidemics.

demonstration

Vulnerabilities

Climate heating and biodiversity loss.

Political instability – loss of trust, deliberate spread of falsehoods, weak/incompetent government.

Economic inequalities – people on low incomes are more vulnerable to sudden increases in food prices.

Weak society – poor general health, low awareness of food risks, lack of political entitlement, lack of skills.