Oxford Agricultural Conference says Britain’s food system is ‘broken’

Students who spoke at an agricultural conference on Friday hope they will help inspire UK farmers to ‘regenerate’ the food system, through the use of ‘non-prescriptive’ methods.

Saraya Haddad and Warami Jackson spoke at the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) which took place virtually this year due to the pandemic.

The conference highlights alternatives to conventional agriculture such as organic and regenerative agriculture, it aims to offer “all farmers a different type of agricultural conference”.

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Saraya Haddad, a doctoral student at the University of Birmingham, explained that their speech was about a “transition to a just and regenerative food system”.

The 24-year-old student said: “Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize the food system is broken. It is designed to support capitalism by maximizing profit. Most of the large supermarkets we frequent primarily care about profit rather than sustainability.

“We discussed how we can all change our shopping habits to support the planet rather than harm it when we shop for groceries. ”

Miss Haddad added that they have also used the concept of “queer ecology” to make the transition to a better food system.

Although the word “queer” is often used to refer to sexuality or gender identity, the context of ecology means “anything anti-normative, that is, anything that disrupts systems. normative, ”explained Miss Haddad.

She said: “Queer ecology examines how, as humans, we have distorted nature by imposing our own categories on it.

“One example is wobbly fruits and vegetables. A third of the food produced in the world is wasted, or 1.3 billion astronomical tonnes of food per year. “Ugly” or “clunky” products represent up to 40% of annual food waste.

“For years myself and many others have been conditioned to believe that the fruits and vegetables we saw in supermarkets were what all fruits and vegetables looked like. I had no idea that carrots could have multiple bodies, or that tomatoes weren’t always the “perfect” bright red that I saw in the vegetable aisle.

“It had been conveniently left out that potatoes, the UK’s most wasted food, could come in many different forms. ”

Saraya Haddad hopes the food system can be made more sustainable. Image: Feedback.org

Miss Haddad and Miss Jackson hope their interview with people will educate people on how they can change their habits to support the environment.

“Local, seasonal and sustainable purchases are the key. We need to start avoiding traditional supermarkets more and spending more time in local farmers’ markets.

“It’s important to note that not everyone can afford to buy organic or local produce, but it is up to all of us to do what is possible within our means. ”

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