TAKE ACTION: RECLAIM OUR FOOD SYSTEM
Join the Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) as we celebrate Via Campesina’s International day of Peasant Struggle: Meet Wednesday April 29th, outside the Bury St Edmunds Railway Station, 1pm. March to the British Sugar factory with song, dance and a vision of a healthy food system! We will be joined by U.S. activist & performer Reverend Billy and his gospel choir!
Last year the LWA took our message to DEFRA, this year we are targeting British Sugar PLC to expose the inequality and problems inherent in our industrial food system. Government support of big agri-businesses, like British Sugar PLC, threatens the health of our communities and the quality of our environment. And we’re subsidizing exactly the wrong sort of agriculture.
British Sugar’s parent company, Associated British Foods, is valued at £12.9 billion. The priorities in UK government are glaringly obvious; happy to cap welfare benefit but fighting to ensure massive payouts to their corporate friends. We need a National Food Policy that changes this unequal playing field and creates a consistent approach to health, agriculture and environmental protection.
Government health messages are that we should be eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, yet at present 43% of vegetables and 90% of fruit are imported (DEFRA Basic Horticultural Statistics 2013, p8). Why should £3 billion in CAP subsidies go to UK ‘agriculture’ while small ecological farmers, producing vegetables, fruit and grass fed meat and dairy products, get nothing? Many of the CAP beneficiaries are wealthy land-owners, yet on average, every UK household pays them £245 per year.
The LWA does not want to see an end to farmers growing sugar beet in the UK. But we do want an end to a UK sugar beet industry that degrades soil quality, forces out small growers, and causes significant health problems when consumed at present levels. We want UK sugar production, but not from British Sugar’s industrial monopoly.
LWA is part of a global movement for food democracy and a sustainable agriculture. We want to limit CAP payments to £150,000 per claimant and use the millions saved to support small scale, ecological and young entrants into farming. We want a National Food Policy that supports nutritious food production, a healthy soil and a diverse landscape.