How might we have a genuine national conversation about the future of food?

07 November 2017

'If any subject at any time really does demand a massive open exchange of civic views, it’s the future of our food system, right now, for three reasons'. Through this blog piece, the New Citizenship Project outlines why we urgently need a national conversation about the future of our food system and how we might go about doing that in a meaningful, effective way.

The process suggested is as follows:
- a 6-month conversation
- a convening language such as #OurFoodFuture
- a set of mechanics that will allow the conversation to reach across social and cultural divides and be representative of the wide range of views. These can include:

  • a process of sortition to bring together a representative group of — say — 50 citizens for several meetings over the period of the project, calling expert witnesses to provide input, and ultimately developing a set of recommendations as to the principles on which a new framework for our food system might be designed.
  • an online platform through which any citizen can propose an idea for how the food system could be made better, and up- or down-vote the ideas of their fellow citizens (on the successful model of Reykjavik where 70% of the city's population took part).
  • create light-touch input points in the places where the vast majority of the population are interacting with food on a day-to-day basis (supermarkets, pubs, restaurants, hospitals...) and multiply opportunities to contribute (coffee cups, pub coasters, table napkins, bills, supermarket check out machines, menus, online shopping check out, NHS waiting rooms…)

- a few simple questions to get the conversations going

  • What does good food mean to you?
  • What does good food mean where you live?
  • What might better food mean?

This would require a real budget and good will from the all stakeholders, but it could be done.

Read the full article


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

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