The former Minister for Natural Resources and the former Deputy Minister for Farming and Food asked the Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) to provide advice on whether the Welsh Government’s Food Strategy was sufficiently comprehensive and up to date. The PPIW worked with two of the UK’s leading experts on food policy – Professor Terry Marsden and Professor Kevin Morgan from the Sustainable Places Institute at Cardiff University.
Their report argues that in recent years there has been growing recognition of the relevance of food policy to wider policy goals and to well-being. There has, for example, been increasing concern about food poverty, poor diet and the reduction in the number of independent farm businesses. This makes a comprehensive and holistic approach to food policy more important than ever and requires a clear vision backed by action to secure more healthy and sustainable diets for all and monitoring of progress in achieving this.
The report argues that the link to well-being means that food needs to be at the centre of public policy. It recommends:
- providing support for farmers to produce less intensive, more sustainable, and higher food quality products through more diversified sets of supply chains;
- placing sustainable diets at the heart of food and nutritional policy by adopting successful public health interventions such as Food for Life and bolstering public sector food procurement and catering provision;
- progressing research and development on sustainable production and consumption systems;
- supporting the community food sector;
- monitoring food policy outcomes in line with the Well-being of Future Generation Act goals;
- creating a full Welsh Government Cabinet Minister for Food; and
- creating an active network food sector Partnership Boards.