In terms of food supplies into a city, town or, indeed, a rural community, what constitutes “an emergency”? Is there one now?
If so, in which local authority, and how big an issue is it? How many people are affected? What proportion of the population? How long has this emergency situation gone on for, and what are the estimates for how long it will last? Are some groups of people more affected than others? And if so, why?
What powers, if any, do local authorities have to respond to emergency food supply issues, and to prepare for future food system shocks?
We’ve learned during the pandemic, that local authorities are well-nigh powerless to respond, while the numbers of people facing food insecurity, too many pre-Covid, have risen substantially since the first lockdown in March 2020 — and are still rising.
We’ve been doing a lot of thinking and consultation with people about the role of local government and public health in emergency food planning, especially in the light of the growing national and global threats on our food supply system.
And we’ve concluded that local authorities do have a core, perhaps surprising role to play . . .
Although they don’t have the economic and policy levers to make a different to the food supply system, what they do have is arguable as valuable.
They have data.