British Government Unveils Food Policy, Warns Consumers Against Buying Local Food

Great Britain unveiled their 20 year food security plan which includes heavy handed warnings against the rise in popularity of sourcing foods locally. How does making your country more reliant on food imports make you more secure? I'm a bit baffled by the whole thing, but my guess is that there are some rather large industrial agriculture interests behind much of this. Here's an excerpt from the Globe and Mail article;

It warns consumers that an overzealous dedication to buying local –and avoiding imported foods – will have a negative economic impact on often poorer exporting countries if the trend continues. The report also takes aim at an over-reliance on “food miles.” For years, laws have mandated that British-sold products be labelled with indicators of their carbon footprint.

However, continuing to use food miles as a main means of calculating the environmental impact of certain foods is not sustainable in the food regime of the future, according to the report, because transport accounts for so little (9 per cent) of the food chain's greenhouse-gas emissions.

Phil Bloomer, a policy director for Oxfam in Great Britain who attended the announcement, said the strategy is by no means a perfect blueprint for food security. However, he applauded the British government for taking the initiative.

“It's good governments are talking about these things … and not in an inward-looking fashion,” he said. “It's becoming increasingly fashionable to talk about local food production and food miles, none of which guarantees that you're going to create low-carbon agriculture,” he said. On the contrary, the buy-local philosophy could lead to a desire to “erect walls around countries instead of seeing ourselves as having a shared destiny.”

“We are far more mutually dependent than we've ever been in the past,” Mr. Bloomer said. “We need to make sure that we're not creating Fortress Canada or Fortress Europe and leaving everybody else out. That is definitely unsustainable … Not trading with developing countries would lead to far greater levels of international tension and conflict.”

h/t Rod Dreher