The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of global supply chains and identified a need to redefine the role of food in the economy
The first post-lockdown crops of the land army have been harvested. The food – chard, spinach, lettuce and radish – is being parcelled out to the local shops, market stalls and those in need. Now the volunteer labour force has its sights on a new goal: a land-use revolution that will make UK farming more nature friendly, plant-based and resilient to future shocks.
At Machynlleth, a bucolic town on the southern fringe of Snowdonia, the recently formed Planna Fwyd! (Plant Food!) movement is encouraging sheep farmers to diversify into vegetable production as their ancestors did. Teams of volunteers have sown crops of potatoes and, once or twice a week, they now fan across the slopes to tend gooseberry bushes, peas and squash. Others distribute seed packets to local families and run online classes on how to grow plants at home.
Britain beyond lockdown: can we make more space for nature?