Sustainable food resources

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What do you know?

Is it possible to grow your own food in the UK?

Some food grows very well in the UK. If you have a garden, you can easily grow things like tomatoes, courgettes, potatoes and onions. Most plants are seasonal, which means that you can only grow them at certain times of the year.

Key points

  • Sustainable fishing involves allowing fish stocks to repopulate our seas. Sustainable meat production involves rearing animals on grass, without the use of hormones.
  • Sustainable food production involves the land whilst also protecting it for future generations.
  • Other ways to sustainably increase food supplies include organic farming, urban and peri-urban horticulture, reducing food waste, and eating food that is in season.

What is sustainable fish and meat production?

food production involves farming the land whilst also protecting it for future generations.

Fish

Sustainable fishing involves allowing fish stocks to our seas. This means fewer fish are caught at any one time, ensuring there will be enough fish for the future.

Catching fewer fish can be achieved through a better design of fishing nets that have holes that allow smaller fish to escape. Smaller fish can then grow and repopulate the oceans.

"Sustainable fishing with nets with holes, small fish are swimming out of the holes. Larger fish are seen trapped in the net as they are too large to get through the holes. "
A sustainable fishing net has holes that allow smaller fish to escape

Question

Why don’t we want to catch smaller fish?

If all fish were caught, there will be no fish left for the future. Smaller fish are often younger. If they're allowed to survive, they will grow bigger and lay their own eggs. This ensures that there will always be more fish in the sea.

Meat

Some farmers feed to animals, as opposed to grass, as it increases their weight and heavier animals can be sold on for more money. This results in further in order to create the farms to grow the grain. Likewise, some cattle are given to make them grow more quickly. Sustainable meat production involves rearing animals on grass rather than grain, without using hormones.

How else can food supplies be increased sustainably?

As well as meat and fish, various other types of food can be produced in a sustainable way.

Organic farming

relies on natural products and processes. These include:

  • natural , such as , rather than chemicals.
  • using natural predators, such as ladybirds, to control like .
  • , which allows soils to recover
Watch this short video to learn more about organic farming

Question

What is organic farming?

Organic farming relies on natural processes and products, such as the use of manure (dung and animal waste) rather than chemicals as fertilisers.

Urban and peri-urban horticulture (UPH)

involves growing food in and around cities. Small plots produce more food than the equivalent area of farmland. Urban plots also reduce .

An allotment in a city centre

Reducing food waste

It is estimated that up to a third of all food in the UK is wasted. Food that has been thrown away cannot be eaten. Less food would need to be produced if we bought less food and avoided wasting food as much as possible.

Eating seasonal foods

Importing food allows us to eat a wider variety of produce throughout the year. For example, strawberries grow in the UK during the summer months. Strawberries are imported to the UK during the winter so they can be bought in supermarkets throughout the year.

However, imported food has high food miles. In addition to this, growing food out of season in heated greenhouses or storing food generates . Eating locally grown food that is in season, therefore, helps to reduce carbon emissions.

Test yourself

Activity: Explore sustainable food production