There has never been a more important time for good laws and policies that affect our food. Our global food system is in crisis. Look at our people: one billion are hungry, even more suffer from a lack of sufficient micronutrients, while a further one billion are overweight and susceptible to food-related non-communicable diseases. This is not a healthy picture, with millions dying from lack of food and millions more dying from too much of the wrong kind of food. The health of our agricultural system is just as grim, as the dominant industrialized model is based on the exploitation of natural resources and of workers. Our system is unsustainable, and ill-equipped to address the threats posed by climate change and a rapidly increasing population. For a beautiful and succinct description of the problems, read the recent speech by, of all people, the Prince of Wales.
Changes are needed, and fast. I’m not foolish enough to think that laws, on their own, will change the world. Laws have just as great a capacity to do harm as to do good. But better laws and better enforcement are a necessary prerequisite for sustained improvements in our food system. And improved laws would support the one source of real optimism for our future: the growing numbers of activists, policymakers, farmers, and citizens who are fighting for big and small changes to improve our relationships with food, now and in the future.