Sustain Sustainable Farming Campaign Agroecology explainer

A future for horticulture

There is a huge opportunity – and need – to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and production in the UK. The Eatwell Guide recommends eating seven portions of fruit and veg a day. This equates to 15 million megatonnes of fruit and veg. Currently, we only eat 9.3 million megatonnes, of which 5.5 million megatonnes are imported (much from climate vulnerable countries).

Horticulture has not been properly supported through agricultural policy . ‘Seven a day’ translates to 40% of each person's diet consisting of fruit and vegetables yet only 1% of £3 billion in direct agriculture payments go to horticulture.

The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance was formed to act as a platform to develop a clear and coherent vision and plan for the sector based on health and sustainability. The alliance formed a new Edible Horticulture Roundtable.

The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance aims to:

  1. Create a united voice for greater support towards increasing UK production of fruit and vegetables.
  2. Enable collaboration between the UK horticulture sector and public health to create a strategy for helping to meet the UK fruit and vegetable requirements.
  3. Ensure that the roundtable is informed by a range of horticultural interests including scale, production methods, and supply chain models.
  4. Highlight the multiple health, environmental and economic benefits that would come from increasing consumption and production of fruit and vegetables.

To date, horticulture has shown huge resilience in the face of very little external support and is a highly innovative sector that does not necessarily want subsidy. However it does require support to increase capacity and meet UK fruit and vegetable needs.  

This support could take the form of strengthened or new schemes on:

  • Research and development
  • Support for capital investment
  • Land access opportunities
  • Productivity and profitability
  • Environmental enhancement
  • Skills and labour, including support for new entrants
  • Supply chain fairness and development of shorter supply chains
  • Demand incentives and marketing

With investment in the right areas, the horticulture sector will flourish thus helping to deliver multiple public goods, especially increased consumption of fruit and vegetables. The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance is here to help in achieving these aims. We will be the go-to source of input and advice on fruit and veg production and consumption, drawn from a hugely diverse range of actors within the industry and public health community. 
What the Fruit and Vegetable Alliance will provide:

  • A credible sounding board for government proposals on strengthening the sector and improving fruit and vegetable consumption
  • The development of a realistic and practical strategy for improving fruit and vegetable production and consumption
  • A one-stop shop for a variety of views and perspectives on the barriers and opportunities in the fruit and vegetable sector
  • A mechanism for helping the government ensure that public money is used for improving public health, a public good 

Who is backing this initiative?

A group of small and large fruit and vegetable producers, producer organisations, trade associations, and health/food charities have come together to make the case collectively for supporting the production and consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK to support the UK’s public health. Current members of the Alliance include (alphabetical order): British Growers, Bristol Food Producers, British Summer Fruits, Chris Rose Associates/Asplins PO, Community Farm, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network UK, Food Foundation/Peas Please, Growing Communities/Better Food Traders, G's Fresh, Kindling Trust, Landworkers’ Alliance, Organic Farmers and Growers, Organic Growers Alliance, Produce World, Social Farms and Gardens, Soil Association, Sustain, Tamar Grow Local, and Tyfu Cymru – Grow Wales (Lantra).

The Alliance would welcome new members. For more information contact

Sustainable Farming Campaign: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.

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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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