UK-wide, currently 55% of our cropland is used to grow animal feed. As stated in Reason 6, using all this existing cropland to grow food for human consumption would provide for the dietary needs of the entire nation thereby increasing our food self-sufficiency and food security. As the impact of Brexit looms, this becomes very important.
Professor Tim Lang, the UK’s leading expert on food policy, says we assume someone else is going to feed us, which make us dependent on an uncertain and fragile supply chain. Britain imports around 50% of the food we consume, and 90% of its fruit and veg.
Currently, only 2.8% of UK cropland is used to grow fruit and vegetables. If we expand on this – even modestly – we can significantly increase food production. Take a crop such as strawberries that is grown widely in Scotland. The amount of strawberries that could be produced on 1/100th of cropland currently used to grow animal feed could provide 1.9 million adults their “5 a day” for an entire year; or 1.3 million, 2.4 million, and 2.1 million, respectively, for raspberries, apples and tomatoes.
It’s not just about fruits and veggies. It’s about expanding the potential of some of the other crops that we already grow – such as wheat and oats – and resurrecting some of the oldies – such as hemp – to feed us whilst cashing in on innovative and expanding markets.