Last week, Tim Lang (City University), a member of the government’s Council of Food Policy Advisors and trustee of London’s popular Borough Market, spoke at a markets committee dinner, held by the City of London which runs the New Spitalfields Market. Horticulture Week adds detail to the report of the Fresh Produce Journal.
Professor Lang called for a ‘rethink’ on how cities will be fed in 20 to 30 years’ time:
Markets are a mode of food supply going back more than eight centuries that has to come back.
Markets offer an alternative to supermarkets, which dominate food selling and – though coming back into towns – are still using an unsustainable model. A quarter of lorries on the road are carrying food and a quarter of the wagons are empty.
There are definitely some tough times ahead of us. Energy, water, carbon footprint – everything is happening at once and it’s going to change our food system.
Food is 30% per cent of our carbon footprint and the new generation of markets needs to be sustainable. The choices made 100 years ago just can’t continue.
London’s Borough Market is trying to experiment with wholesale and make markets pleasurable tourist attractions. Professor Lang believes in the combined ‘wholesale and retail offer’ and sees a ‘great future’ for other wholesale and retail markets.
Tim Lang is a long-standing colleague of the co-founder of Localise West Midlands, Colin Hines.
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