Winter is a time for thinking, dreaming, imagining… What might a more sustainable and just food system be like in Lincolnshire?
The food nirvana that we dream of includes a local food culture where nourishing, diverse and delicious food is easily accessible for everyone – without need for foodbanks; where work in farming and food production is desirable and generates decent livelihoods; where people have a sense of connection to food and to the land, and all children know from experience that carrots grow in the ground and apples grow on trees; and for a farming and food system that supports biodiversity, sequesters carbon, and is regenerative for the land and for communities.
Does this sound good to you?
We’ll still enjoy fairly traded foods from the other side of the planet – tea, coffee, chocolate, exotic fruits – but a much smaller proportion of our diets will come from far-afield.
We’ll still get certain foods from elsewhere in Europe – satsumas at Christmas, grapes and wine and the good things that are hard to grow well here!
We’ll have stronger regional supply chains for seafood, grains and flour, beans, and other field scale crops.
And crucially, we can expand the peri-urban food economy: the huge range of fresh foods that grow really well in Lincolnshire, that don’t need large scale processing, that taste better when they haven’t had long journeys, can be grown near to our city, and be enjoyed by people in Lincoln.
Direct supply avoids long periods of refrigeration and transportation – that are carbon heavy and environmentally damaging. Switching to electric vehicles won’t be enough!
Making it happen in Lincoln
How can we surround our city with mixed farms and productive small holdings – that support biodiversity and communities, and in which animals are part of a closed loop system and not part of the global climate problem?
And what infrastructure and relationships do we need to get such fresh, healthy, delicious and varied foods as directly as possible to urban dwellers?
We are interested in answering these questions collaboratively with Lincoln – the people who live and work here, especially in restaurants, cafes, catering and independent food retail, and the farmers and growers in the peri-urban area.
We’re also interested in other UK models for Local Food Ecosystems, infrastructure to support local, sustainable producers, and in facilitating conversations among local people, businesses and organisations who are determined to work towards a thriving sustainable food system in Lincolnshire.
We all have a stake in our food system, and can be active in a shared journey towards a fairer, healthier, sustainable food future.
Be the change
If a sustainable, local food economy is something that you would like to be (or are already) a part of, pop us an email to introduce yourself, so we can work together – be part of the conversation and in on the action: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was previously published in Lincoln Independent in January 2022
Developing a vibrant sustainable food economy in Lincolnshire – a call to action from Lincolnshire Food Partnership!Tweet