Farming faces crisis unless the government takes action to create secure “food plans”, experts have warned.
Britain’s farming system is “not fit for purpose” to meet the challenges of climate change, costlier oil, or improving people’s health, claims the study.
The report, An inconvenient Truth about Food, is based on research by experts from City University, London.
It was launched at the Soil Association’s organic food and farming conference in Bristol on Tuesday (18 November).
Soil Association director Patrick Holden called for a national campaign to develop a UK food plan, based on sustainable production rather fossil fuels.
“We need to evolve beyond intensive food production systems, which use 10 calories of mainly fossil fuel energy to produce each single calorie of food.
We have to cut greenhouse gas emissions from farming by 80%.
“This represents the greatest challenge that has confronted our food and farming systems since the Industrial Revolution.
The Soil Association is proposing a six-point action-plan to secure sustainable and affordable food supplies of staple foods – sourced from the UK as much as possible.
Key points include implementing strategies to enhance soil fertility, improve water quality and tackle climate change through carbon sequestration.
The government must plan now to shift from dependence on fossil fuels to farm-based sources of renewable energy to power agriculture, said Mr Holden.