Tag Archives: food

National Food Strategy for England: have your say in the consultation

The government is developing a new national food strategy for England and is now consulting with individuals, organisations and businesses.  The strategy, which is due to be published in 2020, recognises that food production has a huge impact on the environment, human health and the economy.  It acknowledges that the growth of the human population poses huge risks to the food and water supply and that there are new risks posed by anti-microbial resistance. All of these factors would be improved by a move to a sustainable plant-based food production system and this is your opportunity to influence the strategy.

Please comment and say why we should move to a sustainable plant-based food system in the UK. The deadline is Friday, 25 October. Comments are welcome from individuals or vegan businesses.

The strategy will cover the entire food chain, from field to fork: the production, marketing, processing, sale and purchase of food (for consumption in the home and out of it), and the consumer practices, resources and institutions involved in these processes.

Requirements from the government

The government wants a food system that:

  • delivers safe, healthy, affordable food; regardless of where people live or how much they earn
  • is robust in the face of future shocks
  • restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation in this country
  • is built upon a resilient, sustainable and humane agriculture sector
  • is a thriving contributor to our urban and rural economies, delivering well paid jobs and supporting innovative producers and manufacturers across the country
  • delivers all this in an efficient and cost effective way

Points you may wish to make

Comments should be 1000 words or fewer. You might like to choose from the following points or make your own comments:

  • The government has declared a climate emergency so now is the time to put this into action in this food strategy. Eating animal products has a huge environmental impact and it is clear that we will not be able to meet the Paris Agreement, and achieve net zero carbon emissions, unless as a nation we make a rapid move towards plant-based diets.
  • The recent IPCC report on land use (2019) says that we must change the way we produce food and manage land. Agriculture and forestry produces almost a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. With a growing population we cannot continue to use land in the same way and we are now very close to dangerous tipping points.  Meat and dairy consumption will have to be cut and there needs to be a major shift to healthy and sustainable plant-based diets such as grains, pulses, vegetables, nuts and seeds.  Plant-based foods require less land, less water, produce less pollution on land and in the sea, and produce far less greenhouse gases than animal-based foods.
  • Oxford University research (Poore et al, 2018) found that adopting a plant-based diet is the “single biggest thing” individuals can do for the planet and EAT-Lancet, the latest international, peer-reviewed project of its kind, said that planetary boundaries and human health require a move towards plant-based diets.
  • Fish consumption should be cut drastically in order to prevent the loss of ocean biodiversity, habitat degradation and to reduce pollution (WWF, 2015). Ocean fishing produces nearly half of all plastic debris in the oceans (Lebreton, 2018).  Fish farming isn’t the answer: farmed fish are treated with large amounts of pesticides and antibiotics to treat diseases, particularly sea lice, which are rife in such overcrowded conditions, further exacerbating the problem of antibiotic resistance in humans. The farms pollute the surrounding water with faeces and food waste, contaminating the water and producing methane, a potent greenhouse gas (Poore et al, 2018).  One alternative for areas currently dependent upon fish farming is the move to properly managed seaweed farming which is currently underexploited in Europe (Campbell et al, 2019).
  • Poor diet is now the number one cause of death and disability in the UK resulting in a rising burden of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer (Newton et al, 2015). Wholefood plant-based foods are healthier than meat and dairy and reduce the risk of these diseases which cost society billions, relieving pressure on the NHS and care sector (Fraser, 2009).
  • There should be a rapid move from subsidies that support animal farming to subsidies for plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, pulses and grains. This would help farmers to move to plant-based farming and improve the availability of healthy plant-based foods throughout the country.
  • Plant-based foods, particularly those produced without the use of animal manures, cause less food-borne infections than animal-based foods such as chicken and eggs. The move to plant-based foods would reduce the incidence of these diseases and therefore relieve the pressure on health care systems.
  • Plant-based foods bring investment into urban and rural economies, e.g. Heather Mills’ “vegan northern powerhouse” is already bringing investment into the north east of England.
  • The move to a plant-based diet could be encouraged by implementing inclusive and sustainable policies for public sector institutions such as schools, hospitals and care homes to offer good vegan meals as standard on menus every day. Skills in cooking plant-based foods should be part of the school curriculum so that all children are able to create healthy and tasty meals.
  • Farmers should be supported financially and practically, in the move away from farming animals to producing sustainable plant crops or ecological restoration. The Vegan Society’s Grow Green campaign should be extended and widely promoted.

National Food Strategy art

Leave your comment with the government now

Three onion dip and Tangty pesto dip, from Veganuary film and talk night

Veganuary 2019 food

Andrew created two dips to be served with crudités.

3 onion dip

Inspired by Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen range, this dip contains the following ingredients mixed together:

  • soya milk
  • silken tofu
  • coconut yogurt
  • nutritional yeast
  • sunflower oil
  • mustard
  • garlic
  • cider vinegar
  • spring onions
  • red onions
  • chives
  • salt

Tangy pesto dip

Jazz up your supermarket-bought pesto by blending in the following:

  • vegan pesto
  • chickpeas
  • spinach
  • onion
  • mild curry powder
  • lemon
  • pine nuts

26 Aug: CANCELLED: Pot luck picnic in #Todmorden Centre Vale Park

Bandstand by Betty Longbottom
Bandstand – Centre Vale Park
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Betty Longbottom – geograph.org.uk/p/540474

UPDATE: Sadly we have chosen to cancel this event due to the poor weather forecast. Apologies to all interested.

Come and join us for our annual pot luck picnic!

  • Sunday, 26th August at midday.
  • Centre Vale Park, Burnley Road, Todmorden OL14 7DE. (*)
  • Meet at the band stand (see photo).

As usual, everyone is welcome to come along, we just ask they you only bring vegan food or drink to share (thank you for respecting the wishes of our vegan members). Please bring your own cutlery and plate. We will probably be sitting on the ground, so you may wish to bring a portable seat or blanket.

If you want to come, please send us an email. Dogs are welcome too.

Here are some photos from previous years. See you there!

(*) Quoting from Calderdale Council:

Centre Vale Park is located on the A646 Burnley Road, Northeast of Todmorden town centre, adjacent to the cricket ground. A car park is situated off Ewood Lane, West-side of the park and adjacent to the Sports Centre. Pedestrian access to the park, is by one of the six entrances surrounding the main park area. The town centre, bus and railway stations are a 5 minute walk away.

23 Jun: Incredible Festival of Ideas

Food – the Heart of a Sustainable Community

  • Todmorden Community College, 44 Burnley Rd, Todmorden OL14 7BX
  • 10am-5pm,
  • Saturday 23rd June 2018.

We will have a stall for 3 Valley Vegans – please let us know if you can volunteer a couple of hours to help out!

Read more on the Incredible Festival of Ideas website.

Incredible Festival of Ideas timetable

We ran a demonstration, showing people how to make  summer rolls (top-left of image below).Plate of delicious food at IFI

A plate of delicious food offered by the volunteers of TLC Cafe at the Incredible Festival of Ideas

Food Chain Global Champion Award 2018: nominate now

Global Food Chain Award 2018-croppedThe Food Chain is a food programme on the BBC World Service that, one could argue, lacks any ethical vision.  It is currently seeking nominations for global food champions and we think that opens up opportunities for us vegans to nominate people who are really making an ethical difference to food.  You might wish to nominate a vegan celebrity, politician, food company, campaigner or similar.
The judges are predominantly mainstream chefs but vegan nominations will at least make them realise that there are other ways of looking at food than theirs.  You may wish to show how your nomination has a global impact.

Review of Folk music night for #WorldVeganDay 2017 in #Todmorden

What a fun night we had! Over 70 people filled the Fielden Centre in Todmorden to watch and dance to the energetic Lazlo Baby, headlining our celebration of World Vegan Month 2017!

World Vegan Month support acts
Video and photography by Harriet and Ronan Quilty

We opened the evening with Raw Rob and Clem Fandango (vegan musicians from our group), then moving deftly into the country blues part of the evening with the meticulous vocals and guitar playing of Steve ‘Manifold’ Anderson, decorated with blues harmonica melodies.

World Vegan Month crowd
Video and photography by Harriet and Ronan Quilty

Dinner was served in the form of home-made tater pie and mushy peas, followed by a variety of cakes made by some of the group’s generous volunteers and Kind Cake Co. (thank you again!). Although the food was all vegan, many of the people who attended were not, and it was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to enjoy plant-based food without drawing direct attention to our principal topics of being healthier and kinder to the world and those who live in it.

World Vegan Month lead acts
Video and photography by Harriet and Ronan Quilty

Back to the live folk music! As we graced into the Irish section, we were serenaded by the haunting singer Trixxi Corish. Shortly after, our very own Phil Reed delighted us with his use of a loop pedal with bodhrán and whistle development. Finally, we reached the dizzy heights of the night and danced the last hour away to the energetic and addictive five-piece experience that is Lazlo Baby.

Once again, we would like to extend our enormous gratitude to the people who donated their time and effort to making this event possible.

YouTubeSee video of Folk music night for World Vegan Month 2017