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Fast forward to 2024. There’s an emergency summit about UK food, one year on from the first such summit in May 2023. The atmosphere is one of openness and warmth.

Amid the straight-talking, there is a sense of determined optimism about the future of food and farming. The prime minister listens hard to a diverse range of people, from sustainable food entrepreneurs and regenerative farming pioneers to people struggling to access good food. There is consensus about the importance of good food and farming – for levelling up, the health of the nation, the environment and the economy.

Imagine the agenda for the 2024 food summit. The PM explains why he and the secretary of state for nutrition security are backing sustainable farming and promoting public health nutrition, including pre-conception and early years.

He shares the blossoming fruits of the horticultural strategy, reinstated after its brief abandonment in spring 2023. New announcements are made, backed up with resources and mechanisms to make them happen. Universal free school meals for all, measures to redress power imbalances in food supply chains, investment in regional infrastructure to support localised food systems and a new climate and nature-positive target for food and farming by 2030.

Rewind to the present day. The reality is somewhat different. The PM is expected to meet a handful of senior industry figures at the first emergency UK food summit. Whether that turns out to be good news will depend on the agenda, the decisions made and who is round the table. We don’t know the answers to these questions, other than that there is likely to be a focus on food security.

I hope current challenges are not used to justify further intensifying production, pushing for export-led growth and fixating on technofixes. What should the Sunak summit focus on? We need an ‘in the round’ approach to nutrition security: access to affordable nutrition for all, fair dealings for those working in food and farming, and high environmental and animal welfare standards.

The UK government should start by fulfilling positive commitments made, but not yet completed, like publishing a robust code of conduct for fairer supply chains like dairy, and establishing an Animal Sentience Committee. Secondly, implement the best ideas proposed in the National Food Strategy but so far ignored. Crucially, we also need to experiment with new radical ideas to address food injustices, rebalance corporate power and empower people.

Listen to citizens – including those involved in the national conversation on food that the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission is spearheading. Bring fresh faces around the summit table, not just the bosses of the traditional food and farming trade associations. We need different voices pushing for diversity on our plates, biodiversity on and off farm, and diversity in our workforce. If anything is decided at the food summit, do it with people, rather than to people.