A food dystopia: Is Britain sleepwalking into a crisis?

Terry Marsden and Kevin Morgan, Cardiff University

Back to the future?

The historical ability for the UK state to periodically create self-inflicted harm upon its own food system seems to be raising its head again as the country triggers Article 50 to remove itself from the European Union. We should remember that the repeal of the Corn Laws in the 1840s, opening up the UK to cheap food imports (based indeed on subsidised imperial preferences to its colonies), in exchange for colonial penetration of its financial and manufacturing interests and sectors, created the conditions for a long- running agricultural and rural depression in the UK, lasting well into the 1930s. That Imperial regime of ‘free trade’ created much harm to the British food system, its rural areas, and indeed shaped a dependent food diet based upon imports from colonies and other Logo_brexit_new_size2.pngEuropean nations (like Danish  Bacon and Dutch eggs and pork). What is ironically labelled as the ‘full English’ breakfast up and down the land derives from the successful import penetration of its component parts from overseas. The decline in our food-based infrastructure was so bad that, by the onset of the 1st World War, Lloyd George had to go ‘cap in hand’ to the likes of Henry Ford to plead concessions on building his tractors on these shores in order to resolve food and rural labour shortages. Even by 1941 the national farm survey found the agricultural situation in a parlous state, even before the U-boat campaign further disrupted food supplies and led to a  period of prolonged public food rationing until 1954. Continue reading “A food dystopia: Is Britain sleepwalking into a crisis?”

Delphi report: ‘Governance as the main vulnerability in the EU’s food system’

As part of WP5 of TRANSMANGO a Delphi method was conducted, where 45 international experts participated to identify global drivers of the food system affecting EU food and nutrition security. This method was aimed at analysing vulnerabilities and transitions at EU Level. The main objectives of WP5 are the following:

  • Characterize how the different types of vulnerabilities are expressed at the EU level and map hotspots;
  • Elaborate stakeholder-developed conceptual models on scenarios about the functioning of EU food systems, identifying interrelations among key building blocks, vulnerabilities and global drivers;
  • Develop normative transition pathways for desirable future EU food systems (2050);
  • Design potential transition pathways.

Continue reading “Delphi report: ‘Governance as the main vulnerability in the EU’s food system’”