A campaign for FFL has to come

Vicki Hird - 11 February 2011

Vicki Hird: Five things to say about Soil Association conference
Just one day of conference was all I could do, but it left me with lots of thoughts:
1.     There is little doubt of the huge benefit of the SA Food For Life programme – as a whole school, whole system approach that works and starts to tackle both diets, economics and environment. BUT and it’s such a huge BUT,  I am severely worried that it - and the people and schemes and initiatives its spawned and worked with - are all under threat.
2.     From right now we should be campaigning to continue and expand FFL across the whole of the UK and even the EU. That means shifting some staff to campaign, to brief and lobby MPs and MEPs and minister, to promote the public goods that result, to get the public demanding MPs provide funds etc etc – it’s whole new ball game for FFL which up till now has been, quite rightly, practically focussed. Not an easy decision when resources are in short supply. . but it’s a broad alliance involved – surely you can do it?
3.     Whether you liked being called a pioneer or deplored her lack of ambition or real direction -  the big problem was that SHE was absent. Ms Spelman not being there, for whatever reason, to me, smells of continued lack of understanding of the need to really boost organic production and consumption in the UK.
4.     I agreed with those that said leaving progress on organic to the market was way off the mark – that’s the road to failure - which is not to say the market is not a key focus.. But there was little talk of CAP reform and the potential and threat it posed – maybe it came up on Thursday? we should be demanding CAP money to secure FFL goals - for farmer related elements of FFL at least?
5.     So happy to see so many people I’ve not seen for far too long – when you get stuck in a political campaign you miss your usual wider contacts as you get mired in political strategising  (I’ve been working for 4 years to get new law to make our livestock system sustainable – I know. I know ...but it’s a long term goal).
6.     Finally, the chocolate book in the goody bag – just made the cookies and they are good.. so good..

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vicki hird
12 February 2011 15:54

ah another mistake by me !Thanks Tim - of course it's a collaborative effort - hope they all - plus many more - put in the big resources needed to make it last and expand..

Annie Seeley
12 February 2011 08:04

How rude that the minister did not turn up? I heard Tim Laughton MP in a panel discussion back in June talk about good practice in schools in cooking and he seem pleased to just have that - examples of good practice rather than a cohesive delivery of cooking lessons for all children. The last Government were introducing compulsory cooking for 11-13 year olds - which was planned to be in place by September 2011. With schools budgets cuts, this may be rescinded. And when I heard the minister say he was not in favour of telling people what to do - otherwise you end up with a situation where geography is not compulsory but cooking is - my heart sank. Thankfully Jamie Oliver was on the panel discussion and reminded him that people don't die from not knowing geography but could die from not knowing how to cook! The time is definately ripe for a campaign.....

Tim Young
11 February 2011 15:15

Thanks Vicki, good to hear your thoughts. I just wanted to clarify something on the Food for Life Partnership's work - it is a Partnership of four different NGOs, of which Soil Association is just one (admittedly the lead partner, but still. . .) So due credit must be given to the Focus on Food Campaign, Garden Organic, and the Health Education Trust as well as the Soil Association for all of their fantastic work on this programme.

vicki HIrd
11 February 2011 15:01

FFl = Food For Life the Soil Association food in schools and catering scheme - *note to self "remember not to put acronyms in titles! *

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