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Food in Bristol & Bath post-Brexit 27/06/2016, Health & Lifestyle

We are in the midst of profound political change and uncertainty that has no precedent in my lifetime. We still need to discover how things will unfold post the "Leave" vote in the referendum. So, what's likely to be the impact on food and what can we as individuals do?

Part of my motivation for founding fresh-range a couple of years ago was to develop food security for generations to come in the Bristol and Bath area. Since 2014, we have made real progress by establishing sustainable, short, direct supply chains between food producers and customers around where we live. However, even here in the west country we are still dependent on imports. The NFU President, Meurig Raymond, believes this dependence combined with a weakened pound could signal food price increases; “Sadly, we only produce 60% of the food we consume. We’ve seen our self-sufficiency fall dramatically, so we are very dependent on imported food.”*

The level of change the agricultural industry faces now is so big it is difficult to articulate how far reaching the impacts will be. There are very many questions to address: When will the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding be removed from UK farmers? What will the UK government do for farmers when this funding is withdrawn? How will small local independent farmers (who typically don’t qualify for CAP funding today) fare? What will happen to food imports into the UK from Holland, France, Italy and Spain? The economics of farming may change dramatically.

While we don’t have many answers yet, there is little doubt that establishing sustainable, local, direct supply chains around dense urban populations in UK is even more sensible than a week ago. The more we can all support local food producers at this time when buying our groceries, the better.

Rich Osborn

*Source: The Independent, 27 June