A People’s Food Policy

A People’s Food Policy is structured across nine thematic chapters covering governance, food production, health, land, labour, environment, knowledge and skills, trade and finance – each with an in-depth analysis and policy proposals for transforming the food system in England.

A People’s Food Policy (PFP) is both a document and a process undertaken in England and created with the aim of advancing the food sovereignty movement in the UK. Our intention was to build networks, increase capacity and to generate a document that could provide the basis for strategic campaigns and actions in the coming years.

We began the process with a visioning workshop at the UK Food sovereignty Gathering in October 2015, when participants were invited to think about how our food and farming system would look if there were a cross-departmental national food policy, based on the six pillars of Food Sovereignty. The workshop inspired a working group to form and adapt the process to collect the ideas from workshops with another 30 grass-roots organisations, over an 18 month period. In addition, we launched an online questionnaire, based on the visioning workshop, to collect further perspectives and prompt nation-wide discussion among grassroots organisations, CSOs, trade unions, community projects, small businesses and individuals. A collaborative writing and editing process, involving many of the contributing bodies, resulted in a document that is truly grounded in the knowledge of people working across the food and farming sector.

All of this was accomplished with a small donation of under £30,000 and the hard work of a committed group of volunteers. A People’s Food Policy, was launched in June 2017 – a manifesto outlining a people’s vision of food and farming in England that is supported by over 90 food and farming organisations. It includes a set of policy proposals related to nine themes6, and provides a vision for change that is rooted in the lived experiences and needs of people most affected by the failures in the current food system.
The PFP is an important contribution to the debates on food and farming, providing a set of policy proposals within the frameworks of human rights, food sovereignty and agroecology.

A People’s Food Policy emphasises the interconnectedness between problems such as labour rights, environmental destruction and health, and the need for holistic integrated approaches to achieve food sovereignty. It articulates how these problems arise from a neoliberal and narrow market-led paradigm and it emphasises a shift to a paradigm where the well-being of people, community and the natural world, here and afar, are at the centre of governance.

Two years on from the original publication, the PFP is even more relevant today; unfortunately, there has been very little improvement in food policies in the UK since the publication of the document.
Since A People’s Food Policy was published, the PFP continues to be organised by our steering group of committed activists as a platform for action under the banner of People-Food-Power. The group is building and elaborating on the ideas and actions proposed in A People’s Food Policy. Recognising that transformative change for true social justice and sustainability will not be possible until social movements, communities, marginalised people and the like gain power and agency in decision making, the PFP steering group emphasises the deepening of democracy and the importance of supporting bottom-up organisation. The PFP connects with international movements that are advancing the ideas of food sovereignty, agroecology and the Right to Food – all of which have gained more traction in national and global policy-making in many countries around the world than they have in the UK.

What we love about it: What the People’s Food Policy shows us what is possible when a process is collaborative and the power to give direction is shared.

More info: www.peoplesfoodpolicy.org

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