Time for a food revolution?
The Soil Association warmly welcomes ‘The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change’ report which looks at the synergy of malnutrition, obesity, and climate change, framing these as a ‘syndemic’ of human health pandemics with common societal drivers and interlinked solutions.
The report calls for a shift away from ultra-processed foods and signals the need to re-orient food production around agroecological farming systems like organic.
Findings from the study
Produced by an international panel of experts including 43 biologists, climate scientists and policy experts, the report urges a “radical rethink” of business models, food systems, civil society involvement and national/international governance to address these challenges holistically.
The report says “a holistic effort to reorient human systems to achieve better human and planetary health is our most important and urgent challenge”. The Soil Association believes that prioritising organic should be at the heart of this effort, and could create a ‘positive feedback loop’*, a food and farming system addressing multiple health and environmental challenges with spiralling benefits for all.
Rob Percival, Soil Association head of food policy, said;
“We desperately need a ‘real food revolution’ to tackle obesity and undernutrition, while mitigating climate change. This is particularly the case here in the UK, where 51% of family food purchases are of ultra-processed foods, the highest proportion in Western Europe.
“UK health policy must focus on shifting diet’s towards fresher and minimally processed ingredients, and UK agricultural policy must ensure these foods are produced in climate-friendly farming systems, such as organic. The Agriculture Bill provides an immediate opportunity to join up food, farming and human health, and to incentivise agroecological and organic production.
“The Commission notes that farm animals are integral to many well-functioning agroecological systems and that permanent grazing pastures can be important for storing carbon, but it’s clear that we need to eat less, but better meat. Most importantly, action needs to be taken to curb industrial animal farming, which is a disaster for both human health and the climate.
The Commission states that a redistribution of power is needed – away from Big Food, and into the hands of citizens and farmers. The long-promised ‘national food strategy’ provides an opportunity set out how this re-distribution of power may be achieved here in the UK.”
The Soil Association is the UK charity dedicated to building a greener, healthier food and farming future. To achieve this, real and lasting change must be implemented from the ground up. As an organisation, we are in a unique position to work with people throughout the food chain to change the way we farm, eat and understand food. We couldn't continue to do this work without the help of our supporters.