Food strategy lead pledges ‘radical solutions’

Henry Dimbleby has said he wants his food strategy for England “to reach the parts other strategies don’t reach” after confirming that the terms of reference for the strategy have been signed off by the government.

The Leon co-founder and co-author of The School Food Plan, who also serves as lead non-executive board member at Defra, has been asked by Environment Secretary Michael Gove to produce a national food strategy that builds on the work already underway in the Agriculture Bill, the Environment Bill, the Fisheries Bill, and the Childhood Obesity Plan to create an overarching, integrated food strategy for government.

Dimbleby told delegates at this week’s City Food Symposium in London that his strategy would be evidence driven, collaborative and open, well-resourced and would take a systems approach, focusing on interventions that affect many parts of the food system.

He spoke of his desire to cut through the “micro battles” that are being fought on certain issues, such as meat reduction, and reach a consensus that creates room for politicians to make effective policies.

Dimbleby talked of a shift in recognition among politicians on issues associated with the current food system including the impact on health and the environment.

He said it was not good enough “to tinker around the edges” of the system, adding that solutions would have to be “radical and in some cases unpopular”.

Dimbleby said the formation of the strategy needed to be a “national democratic process” involving a wide range of stakeholders.

The terms of reference will be published shortly followed by a call for evidence with work on the strategy expected to take around a year.

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