People in the UK should be given a monthly allowance to spend on fresh, healthy and locally sourced food in a bid to tackle obesity and support the farming industry, it has been suggested.
The ‘Our Future in the Land’report, published by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and drafted by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commissio, also suggests that people should become “shareholders” in their local food system.
The report has been issued in part to address rising rates of type 2 diabetes in the UK, which is associated with obesity, as well as to tackle climate change.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “The actions we take in the next ten years, to stop ecosystems collapse, to recover and regenerate nature and to restore people’s health and wellbeing are now critical.
“In this final report, the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission sets out radical and practical ways for policymakers, business and communities to respond to the challenges.”
In the document, the authors refer to how type 2 diabetes is costing the NHS nearly £27 billion a year, and highlight how more focus needs to be on encouraging people to eat better and support local farmers and their produce.
The research was gathered using information from farmers, supermarkets, health and environmental groups and rural residents.
The authors pointed out that over the last 70 years, much emphasis has been on producing food as cheaply as possible, but they have used this report to state that this approach needs to change.
They wrote: “More intensive farming practices are not necessarily more productive or more profitable. Time is now running out. The actions that we take in the next 10 years are critical: to recover and regenerate nature and to restore health and wellbeing to both people and planet.”
Other ideas suggested in the report included “reconnecting people and nature to boost health and wellbeing […] designing a ten-year transition plan for sustainable, agroecological farming by 2030” and “implementing world-leading public procurement”.