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Sustain Coronavirus Food Alert

Planning for the future

Sustain is deeply concerned that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is demonstrating the profound lack of resilience in our food system, as did the two rounds of no-deal Brexit preparations during 2019. This causes unnecessary everyday suffering and anxiety, especially to more vulnerable people, particularly those on low incomes, and it means we are taking a negligent approach to the people and natural systems that feed us.

Crises can bring people together or push them apart. They can lead to cynicism and a loss of faith in institutions, or to a deeper understanding of the role that our social and institutional structures can play to “build back better”. Billions will be invested in helping people and businesses to get through this Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. We must use those investments, our refreshed social networks and sense of common purpose, and what we learn through the challenging times to come, to drive a resilient, fair, low-carbon and sustainable system of food and farming that works for everyone.

We are also deeply concerned about the implications for how the UK meets the challenges of the climate crisis. Already we are seeing the speed of adaptation and response at a local and national level to face the current pandemice, and want to ensure that solutions will also be suitable for addressing the climate and nature emergency and a just transition.

Building food system resilience

Sustain has a role in championing better ways of organising and governing our food system. We will:

  • Continue to press for effective action to address the root causes of food poverty.
  • Continue to press for robust legislation and other policies on sustainable farming, sustainable fishing, international trade, environment and climate change. The resilience of our food system is dependent on a fair and sustainable approach to supporting farmers, fishers, food workers, the environment and nature.
  • Develop our work on championing a more diverse and resilient food system, including diverse farming, fishing and food enterprises, fair access to resources, fair trading systems and better routes to market.
  • Looking beyond the Covid-19 coronavirus, we will also look at what lessons have been learned from this crisis (and from preparations from no-deal Brexit which raised many similar questions for the food system). We will collect evidence and testimony throughout, to inform future review. We will invite others to share their insights and to campaign in future for specific changes in legislation and policy that could build a better food future.

If you have information to share on this theme, please write to:

Coronavirus Food Alert: Sustain's work on food resilience in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.We are helping secure food for vulnerable people and supporting local emergency responses.

The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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