Food matters

Our thoughts on food

Scroll down for information and our thoughts on the following:

Photo by Preston Browning on Unsplash
  • Rewilding
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Permaculture
  • GM food
  • Food banks 
  • Plant based diets and veganism 
  • Community Supported Agriculture
  • Food waste
  • Farm shops, veggie boxes
  • Food miles
  • Post Brexit – ELMs and Trade Deals
  • Biodiversity

Rewilding

Photo by Jan Meeus on Unsplash

Britain should be teeming with wildlife. Instead, many of our wildlife populations – from songbirds to insects and plankton – are collapsing. To repair our planet, we must urgently achieve net carbon zero — and natural climate solutions can contribute significantly to this aim. Rewilding believes that protecting our living world and our climate are largely one and the same. And rewilding, the large-scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature can take care of itself, plays a vital role in both.

https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/

What we think

God’s first ask of humanity was to ’till and keep’, or ‘serve and preserve’ the garden (Genesis 2:15). We are dramatically failing in our duty. Rewilding, together with climate stability, offers us a way to restore God’s creation.

Regenerative agriculture

Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming which is based on the theory that healthier soils lead to healthier plants, while helping to remove carbon from the atmosphere and thus counteracting climate change. It is based on 4 principles:

1. Minimising soil disturbance – Micro-organisms create soil fertility but disturbing them through tillage or by using chemicals destroys the soil structure that acts as their home.

2. Keeping the soil covered – Keeping soil covered protects it from wind and water erosion, while preventing moisture evaporation and weed seeds germinating.

3. Maximising plant or crop diversity – Increasing the range of crops and animals in the system decreases pest and disease pressure while supporting biodiversity and improving soil health.

4. Integrating livestock – Livestock grazing of cover or cash crops on arable land not only provides a natural source of organic matter, but also encourages new plant growth, which stimulates the plants to pump more carbon into the soil.

https://regenerationinternational.org/

What we think

As children of Adam – which means ‘son of the earth’ – we must work with the earth and not against it. Protecting soil, diversity and integrating livestock in the most natural way that we can while benefitting from the latest research on carbon sequestration fits well with our calling to protect Creation.

Permaculture

Permaculture is a design approach based on understandings of how nature works.

At its heart permaculture has three ethics:

  1. Earth Care
  2. People Care
  3. Fair Shares

Permaculture is used to design regenerative systems at all scales – from home and garden to community, farms and bioregions around the world.

The word permaculture is originally from ‘permanent agriculture,’ then ‘permanent culture‘. The concept originated in Australia, bringing together a long history of practices from indigenous cultures around the world, and combining them with the science of ecology, design approaches and appropriate technology.

With permaculture, people are treading lightly on our planet, in harmony with nature. Taking care of people and fellow creatures. Making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come.

The Permaculture Association has been supporting people to learn and apply permaculture for over 36 years. We are building a network of people with the power to create healthy cultures and ecosystems. We can help you learn more and connect with the global permaculture movement for change.

https://www.permaculture.org.uk/

GM food

Genetically modified foods can be defined as organisms (ie plants or animals) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.

Some people will not want to buy or eat GM foods however carefully they have been assessed to ensure their safety.

In the UK, foods must say on their label if they:

  • contain or consist of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • contain ingredients produced from GMOs

This means that all GM foods, including flour, cooking oils and glucose syrups from a GM source, have to be labelled as GM.

For GM foods sold ‘loose’, information must be displayed immediately next to the food indicating that it is GM.

Foods produced with the help of GM technology do not have to be labelled. An example of this is cheese produced with the help of GM enzymes which are used to clot the milk in the production process. These are not ingredients in the cheese.

Products such as meat, milk and eggs from animals that are fed on GM animal feed also do not need to be labelled.

https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/genetically-modified-foods

What we think

Green Christian recognises that we are in a crisis of biodiversity and climate and anything we support must be based on whether or not the GM technique under discussion helps our soils and nature and is beneficial to reduced emissions. There are also ethical issues with the prohibition of saving seeds and the need for harmful pesticides. We remain unconvinced that GM should be supported and are a member of GM Freeze. GM Freeze is working to help create a world in which our food is produced responsibly, fairly and sustainably. They campaign for a moratorium on GM food and farming in the UK.

Food banks

The nationwide network of food banks provides emergency food and support to people locked in poverty.

Many of these foodbanks are supported by the Trussel Trust which also campaigns for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

There are more than 1,200 food bank centres in the Trust’s network, about two thirds of the food banks in the UK. These food banks provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis (for instance by advice agencies, GPs, social services and schools), as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.

More than 14 million people in the UK live below the poverty line. The Trust understands that every person’s struggle with poverty is different and that it takes more than food to end hunger. So it brings together the experiences of food banks in the network, and their communities, to challenge the structural issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

www.trusselltrust.org

What we think

The need for foodbanks is just one example of how our current economic model is failing us. Green Christian’s Joy in Enough project is a challenge to Christians in Britain, and an invitation to all people of good will, to join in building a just economy within the ecological limits of the Earth.

Plant based diets and veganism

Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash

A plant-based diet is any diet that focuses around foods derived from plant sources. This can include fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and meat substitutes such as soy products.

People often have different interpretations of what ‘plant-based’ eating looks like.

Some people still include small amounts of animal products such as meat and fish, while focusing mainly on vegetarian foods – this is referred to as a semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet. Plans that cut out meat but still include fish are referred to as pescatarian diets. People who don’t eat meat or fish but still include dairy and eggs are referred to as vegetarian, while those who cut out any animal derived products, including dairy, eggs, honey and gelatine are referred to as vegan.

https://plantbasedhealthprofessionals.com/expert-tips-on-how-to-thrive-on-a-plant-based-diet

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-plant-based-diet

What we think

Many of Green Christian’s members will be vegetarian or vegan. The ‘Animal-friendly’ part of our LOAF principles does not proscribe meat-eating, but does ask us all to consider the welfare of the animals and animal products that we consume.

Community Supported Agriculture

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between farmers and consumers in which the responsibilities, risks and rewards of farming are shared.

CSA helps to address increasing concerns about the lack of transparency, sustainability and resilience of our food system. It is one of the most radical ways that we can re-take control and ownership of our food system.

The approach can vary. Consumers, often described as CSA members, are closely linked to the farm and the production of their food, and provide support that goes beyond a straightforward marketplace exchange of money for goods. This involvement may be through ownership or investment in the farm or business, sharing the costs of production, accepting a share in the harvest or providing labour. 

The most common produce for CSA farms is vegetables, but they can also include eggs, poultry, bread, fruit, pork, lamb, beef and dairy produce. CSA farms are also developing around woodlands for firewood and also more recently fish.

https://communitysupportedagriculture.org.uk/

Food waste – eg FareShare

Wasting food is bad for the environment – including the climate.

·       One third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted.

·       The average family in the UK spends £470 a year on food which is binned or not eaten.

·       100 million pints of milk are tipped down the drain the uk each year.

·       240,000 tons of food is wasted by UK supermarkets every year.

The wasted food has taken much water, land and labour to produce. If it were a country, food waste would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/food-waste

FairShare is the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors, made up of 18 independent organisations. Together, they take good quality food surplus food from across the food industry and get it to more than 10,500 frontline charities and community groups (as at July 2021).

https://fareshare.org.uk/

Farm shops, veggie boxes

Photo by Sara Scarpa on Unsplash

Fabulous Farm Shops provides a comprehensive directory of farm shops across England.

https://www.fabulousfarmshops.co.uk/

Having vegetables delivered to your doorstep every week has a host of benefits – it’s convenient, healthy and supports small producers rather than large supermarkets. Many boxes offer organic and Fairtrade produce and the contents are usually seasonal too.

Box schemes differ so it’s worth looking around before you sign up. Many boxes set their own contents, which often change from week to week.

Occasional reviews of ‘the best’ schemes are available online, e.g., at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/review/best-veg-box

Food miles

Food miles is the distance food is transported from the time of its making until it reaches the consumer. Food miles are one factor used when testing the environmental impact of food, such as the carbon footprint of the food.

The concept of food miles originated in the early 1990’s in the United Kingdom. It was conceived by Professor Tim Lang at the Sustainable Agriculture Food and Environment (SAFE) Alliance and first appeared in print in a report “The Food Miles Report: The dangers of long-distance food transport”, researched and written by Angela Paxton.

Some scholars believe that an increase in the distance food travels is due to the globalization of trade; the focus of food supply bases into fewer, larger districts; drastic changes in delivery patterns; the increase in processed and packaged foods; and making fewer trips to the supermarket. These make a small part of the greenhouse gas emissions created by food; 83% of overall emissions of CO2 are in production phases.

Several studies compare emissions over the entire food cycle, including production, consumption, and transport. These include estimates of food-related emissions of greenhouse gas ‘up to the farm gate’ versus ‘beyond the farm gate’. In the UK, for example, agricultural-related emissions may account for approximately 40% of the overall food chain (including retail, packaging, fertilizer manufacture, and other factors), whereas greenhouse gases emitted in transport account for around 12% of overall food-chain emissions. Researchers are currently working to provide the public with more information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_miles

What we think

The problem of food miles is the basis for the ‘Local’ in Green Christian’s LOAF principles. And you can’t get more local than your own back garden or windowsill!

Post Brexit – ELMs and Trade Deals

Three new Environmental Land Management Schemes were announced by the UK Government in March 2021:

·       Sustainable Farming Incentive

·       Local Nature Recovery

·       Landscape Recovery

These schemes are intended to support the rural economy while achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

Through these schemes, farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering the following:

·   clean and plentiful water

·   clean air

·   thriving plants and wildlife

·   protection from environmental hazards

·   reduction of and adaptation to climate change

·   beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-land-management-schemes-overview

What we think

In our view, land management and all of our trade and consumption should be set within a framework of the UK’s responsibilities for climate and Creation. This is why we support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth, in all its forms and all its interactions. If that sounds bewilderingly broad, that’s because it is. Biodiversity is the most complex feature of our planet and it is the most vital. “Without biodiversity, there is no future for humanity,” says Prof David Macdonald, at Oxford University.

The term was coined in 1985 – a contraction of “biological diversity” – but the huge global biodiversity losses now becoming apparent represent a crisis equalling – or quite possibly surpassing – climate change.

More formally, biodiversity is comprised of several levels, starting with genes, then individual species, then communities of creatures and finally entire ecosystems, such as forests or coral reefs, where life interplays with the physical environment. These myriad interactions have made Earth habitable for billions of years.

A more philosophical way of viewing biodiversity is this: it represents the knowledge learned by evolving species over millions of years about how to survive through the vastly varying environmental conditions Earth has experienced. Seen like that, experts warn, humanity is currently “burning the library of life”.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/12/what-is-biodiversity-and-why-does-it-matter-to-us

What we think

Do order our biodiversity leaflet for your church or community.


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Author: Ruth Jarman | Date: 21 February, 2022 | Category: Food LOAF | Comments: 1


Comments on "Food matters"

Iain Climie:

February 14, 2022

Is this of use or interest: https://regenfarming.news/articles/791-future-food-security-must-focus-on-supplies


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