National Food Strategy playbook


The food system is killing the planet and making us more and more unhealthy. Food systems are responsible for roughly a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, are the biggest driver of species loss, and diet is the main cause of non-communicable disease. Urgent transformation is needed to enable healthy diets, make space for nature, and reduce emissions and store carbon to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.  

In 2019, the UK environment secretary commissioned an independent review of the food system. The review, completed in 2021, combined data driven evidence with wide stakeholder engagement to diagnose serious problems caused by the food system, develop policy recommendations to tackle them and build a social and political mandate to act. 

This project explored how the UK’s National Food Strategy could be used to develop evidence-based pathways for farming and food systems in the UK and internationally to address the agricultural challenges of the climate crisis and to achieve a 1.5oC transition in line with the Paris Agreement.  

It produced three reports, each drawing out different elements of learning from the National Food Strategy’s process, intended to help policy makers and influencers around the world to navigate the complex bio-physical, cultural and economic challenges posed by a food system transition.  

Crossing the divide identified that disagreements about how to achieve a more sustainable food system is preventing change at the speed necessary, and proposed ways to break the deadlock. 

Behind the scenes of the National Food Strategy outlines lessons and insights from interviews with the central team that worked on the NFS, offering transferable advice for other governments and groups seeking to develop a food strategy.  

Rethinking the food system for health, climate and nature makes the case for the UK government to use the NFS as a blueprint to help develop global pathways for food systems that limit global heating to 1.5oC, rooted in quantitative analysis and democratic decision making.  

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