Recipes for Recovery: A cookbook for a post-COVID food system
When the Covid-19 crisis was at its worst, what made the difference? For us, it was the people around us that mattered: the corner shop owner, the chemist, the local mutual aid group, friends and family. When supermarket shelves were empty, neighbours pooled food and shared information of where to access fresh produce. When chefs found their restaurants closed, they switched to cooking emergency meals instead. For some this has been a time to experiment with cooking new things and being more careful to avoid waste. For others, this has been a time of real hardship: millions of people have been pushed into food poverty since the crisis began.
Our work has always been about creating a more resilient food system.The current crisis is showing that our work is more necessary than ever. Read about our on the ground response to the Covid-19 crisis
Now that the country is starting to look to the future, we want to help cook up a recipe for recovery that make sure no one gets left behind. We don’t want to forget how important people are in our food system – how we stood together to take care of one another during difficult times. After this crisis we don’t want to go back to ‘normal’. We want more than that. We want everyone in the UK to be able to access good, healthy, tasty food, and we want the people who grow it, cook it, serve it and get it to us to be valued and rewarded for their work.
What's the problem?
Our food system wasn’t perfect before this crisis: too much food was wasted, too much marketing promoted unhealthy food, and ‘key workers’ on our farms and supermarkets sometimes couldn’t afford good food themselves because of low wages. Whilst the pandemic has exposed the stark truths of our food system, it has also pushed policy makers and corporations to finally act on them: we’ve seen pay rises for some supermarket workers, and the extension of Free School Meals vouchers to cover the summer holidays has opened up new possibilities for countering holiday hunger. But for a fair, green, and just recovery for our food system, this is just the start. Many people are still unable to access the food they need and financial inequalities that result from the crisis will only make this worse.
What's the solution?
The world we live in seemed to change overnight in March 2020. Now we have an opportunity to reflect on the food we eat and the way we produce it – it is a time to think big and think better. Currently, less than 20% of Britons are optimistic that the quality and the environmental impact of the food they eat will get better in the future. If we wrote a recipe for a better food recovery, what would it be? Better, more equitable access to delicious, healthy food. Meaningful and well-paid livelihoods for people who work to produce our food and get it to our plates. Less waste and less environmental damage from producing food. We want to work to achieve these goals – with your help.
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