A look ahead

Sue Pritchard talks about next steps for The Food Conversation, and other projects in 2024

23rd January 2024

2024 has started with a flurry of activity, with the Oxford farming conferences kicking off what will be a busy year for the Food Farming and Countryside Commission. We took part in, and hosted, several packed-out events and were pleased to see our work, and The Food Conversation in particular, generating so much interest. We showed our film in venues across both conferences – including on the main stage at the Oxford Farming Conference. Citizens speaking in their own words, and the detailed and rigorous report arising from their deliberations, are generating significant impact, for us and our partner organisations who are using the insights to support their campaigns.

Thanks to a most generous grant from Animula, we are now starting the next, even more ambitious, part of the project, expanding around the UK. It enables us to deploy new and innovative ways to bring citizens in touch with policymakers to change how people in government, in the media and business understand what people really want from food. At the same time, we are building links with more partners across the UK to help people to act and innovate where they live. We want to support the important work already happening in communities to transform a food system that just isn’t working for so many people.

Meanwhile, we continue to advocate for a Multifunctional Land Use Framework. Defra did not publish their land use framework as promised, before Christmas, but it was gratifying to see the Shadow Defra Secretary commit to it, in a series of essays from the Labour Climate and Environment Forum, headlined by our own Baroness Barbara Young. There is also a great deal happening in farming and agriculture policy; we have commissioned a ‘stocktake’ of progress in the farming transition and will use this to help convene farming leaders around the critical issues. Lots more detail to come on all of this and looking forward to working with you on these projects.