All posts by Dan Slee

What’s the secret to this? Children… and making healthy food easier

The first 1,000 days are the most important in your life, the meeting heard.

Nutrition for pregnant women is the first important step to better food.

But after that it’s the role of children that kept emerging as potential solutions.

Children need to learn cookery skills.

But they don’t need to be lured into takeaways on the way home.

But they could see food growing in open space across the city.

And they could learn from their parents who may buy fresh food given the chance.

But the trouble is selling fatty and salty food is highly profitable and is cheaper for many people.

What is facing Birmingham is the need for people to see poor food in the same light as drink driving or not wearing a seat belt.

But as one member of the audience said: “It wasn’t putting diseased organs on cigarette packets that made people stop. It just became more difficult to smoke.”

Right now, it’s easier to eat badly than healthily.

 


Food prices will rise in the UK

fromFood prices in the UK will rise in the New Year, a food industry expert says.

Food manufacturers have hedged against price increases post-Brexit but the increases are likely to come into effect in the New Year.

The message was delivered by Jon Miller from JLT Speciality who is part of an international team which looks at what factors will affect the food industry in the coming years.

He says that experts predict that three factors will dominate in the coming years:

  • Water
  • Population growth
  • Climate change

All these factors will have an impact on the food chain and people’s ability to grow and provide food.

But the more optimistic view is that what can happen locally can have an effect on the wider food industry, Jon says.


The risk of food security is real and pressing – food expert

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Food security is not an abstract issue it poses risks, an eminent food researcher says.

John Crawford from Rothamstead, the world’s leading agricultural research centre says that a series of problems are posed to the world by people not being able to source food.

The issue is consistently in the top five of issues, he says.

Population is growing and will break the 11 billion barrier.

Food security played a key role in sparking the disruption of the Arab Spring.

Emerging economies are becoming wealthier and put extra pressure on the food supply.

There will be an unsustainable demand for food.

The problems posed by food are complex but this is a good thing, he says. It means you are able to change things by making adjustments in other areas.

 


Does economic growth = reduced food poverty?

What will the food poverty situation be like in Birmingham in May 2025? Is Birmingham set for a golden decade – and will this have a big impact on food poverty in the city?

One attendee was very positive about the future of the city.

  • HS2 is due to be running in 2026, which may have large benefits for the Birmingham and the Greater Birmingham region
  • There will be more jobs (HSBC moving UK HQ to Birmingham from London)
  • Large investments being made in the city
  • Universities are one of the main drivers of investment in cities – and Birmingham’s are booming
  • Tourism sector is a huge draw – three million visitors for the Christmas market

The city will get significantly richer, according to this view of things, and the opportunity is there for food poverty to decline – but will this happen?

Is it a guarantee that if the economic situation improves, then food poverty will be reduced alongside?



“There has always been emergency food aid”

Views from group session at the Food Poverty event in Birmingham.

There has always been emergency food aid through history.

Food banks are just a modern, more formalised version of emergency food aid.

In the past, needy and hungry people were helped by churches, Sikh temples, Salvation Army etc. The national network of food banks has formalised this system.

But it’s important to remember that aid for hungry people has always been there.

 


Nutrition and public health

Food poverty, food insecurity

Food safety and integrity

Urban food growing

Food and the city economy

Global food security

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