Climate change may already be affecting you in various ways, and there are many steps you can take in response. This website just focuses on food matters.
Many experts believe that food shortages will be a major impact of climate change in Britain over the next 10-20 years. The reasons for this include:
- More frequent extreme weather events will cause reduced yields or crop failures.
- The Mediterranean Basin is a major UK produce supplier, and faces ongoing droughts.
- There’s growing risk of Multi Breadbasket Failure, where harvest fails in several of the small number of countries who dominate supply of staple crops like wheat, rice, soya.
- World population growth and urbanisation mean that food demand is outpacing supply, although reducing food waste and fairer distribution could offset this.
The good news is that there’s plenty that we can do in West Dorset to improve our food security. Here are the main potential steps:
- Buy more produce from local growers, especially vegetables and fruit
Britain imports 77% of its vegetables and fruit, and much of this produce could be grown in Dorset. Seeding our Future is working with others to expand local production, but increased demand is vital. You can help by purchasing from farm shops, independent retailers and market stalls. Consider participating in a Community-Supported-Agriculture (CSA) or local veg box scheme.
- Be willing to pay a premium for local, sustainable produce
At present, much imported produce is cheaper at the till than local: this may be due to lower labour costs, warmer climate, and not meeting organic or other food quality standards. Paying a bit more for local produce is like spending on insurance: it’s the best way to improve local supplies when imports are disrupted or shoot up in price.
- Try out some climate-adaptive changes in diet
In future, diet changes may be forced upon all of us by food shortages and big price rises, so why not experiment now.
- Try out UK-grown, eco-friendly protein sources such as peas, beans and pot barley. Suppliers include Tamarisk Farm in Dorset, and Hodmedods.
- Support local innovators in healthy processed food, such as non-dairy oat milk.
- Reduce consumption of red meat, which requires a lot of land for feed growing.
- Experiment with a wider variety of local vegetables and fruit, so you can adapt when shortages arise.
- Support funding appeals to increase local production and processing
Most of the people willing to start up as local growers lack capital, so funds will be needed to cover initial equipment and operating costs, and possibly for land purchase. There may also be calls for funds to help with processing and storage of produce. Our newsletter will keep you informed about these opportunities.
- Share this around!
It would be great if you can share these suggestions with friends and neighbours in the Bridport community.
For a readable two-page overview of what we can do about climate change, regarding food and other issues, click here.