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What are we lacking in UK food and farming? Clarity, certainty and support, according to Defra secretary Thérèse Coffey, when asked about sustainable farming. And that’s not all that’s in short supply at the moment. There are shortages of eggs, home-grown fruit and veg, and government foresight. The list goes on.

The example of egg shortages is serious. Significant progress has been made in moving away from caged eggs over the past couple of decades – I sincerely hope this isn’t undone in the current crisis. But eggs are just the tip of the iceberg.

The NFU has stated egg shortages could “just be the start” of us sleepwalking into a food supply crisis. Meanwhile, the UK government continues to make the casual, empty statement that we have a “highly resilient food supply chain”. We need to wake up from our slumber.

Struggles in UK horticulture are a significant issue too. The trade deficit for UK fruit and vegetables stands at £9.6bn. Seasonal labour challenges have left millions of pounds worth of fruit and vegetables unharvested and rotting in fields, yet there is no long-term plan to address these worker shortages.

Growers have also been experiencing the effects of global heating this year, with a difficult summer drought and an uncharacteristically mild autumn leaving crops confused. Food loss and waste, which is built into industrial UK food systems, is not only devastating for growers and farmers, it is criminal in a cost of living crisis.

Another thing lacking is foresight in UK policymaking. This includes a failure of the UK government (so far) to expand free school meals, despite widespread pleas to do so and despite four million children in households facing food insecurity in the UK. The government has also failed to meaningfully build on the vital work of the National Food Strategy in England. It is painful to see the long-term, strategic thinking done by food and farming stakeholders be all but ignored. I can only hope the UK government is not similarly ‘missing in action’ when it comes to addressing the relationship between food, farming and the biodiversity crisis at Montreal’s UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15).

I usually prefer to focus on what we have plenty of, rather than what we are lacking. A deficit mindset isn’t healthy. But right now, it feels like the only thing we have plenty of is shortages. And plenty of strikes. Along with plenty of struggles to make ends meet. This is not exactly your traditional festive cheer. Exuberant Christmas food adverts on TV, replete with abundant, delicious-looking dinners, are ringing quite hollow for me at the moment.

The glimmer of hope? There are some things we do have plenty of in the UK. There are plenty of ideas, plenty of people wanting a fairer food and farming system, and plenty of kindness and compassion to go round too.

Whilst the UK government is demonstrating few signs of clarity, certainty and support in its decision-making, we can enable and empower the plentifulness on the ground. From the bottom up, we can build a Nation’s Food Strategy for a kinder food system that is genuinely resilient.