Author: Amber Wheeler, University of South Wales

Day One – Tuesday 25th June

Strand – Environment

Session Two: 2.45pm – 4.15pm

The globalised food system is coming under increasing pressures (Ambler-Edwards et al 2009), which together ‘constitute a major threat that requires a strategic reappraisal of how the world is fed’ (Foresight 2011 p.9). Among these pressures is the unsustainable use of resources (Beddington et al 2010). Many, including the Welsh and UK Government (WAG 2011 and Defra 2010) dismiss food self-sufficiency’s role in food security stating that it comes rather from having food supplied from a global network of stable countries. However, given that this global supply is dependent on the ready availability of already diminishing (IEA 2010 p. 48) crude oil, others (e.g. Hopkins et al 2008) see it prudent to investigate food self-sufficiency further.

This research attempts to develop a method to establish whether a given land area, in this case the St. David’s Peninsula, can meet the dietary requirements of its population. It converts a model diet, adapted from the Livewell 2020 diet (WWF 2011), using yield data (Lampkin et al 2008 and Nix 2010), into the land needed to supply a population for a year. It finds that St. David’s Peninsula residents could be fed on 10% of the available land using chemicals and fertilisers and 16% organically. If it is theoretically possible for Wales to feed itself, and particularly given the Welsh Government’s commitment to sustainable development (WAG 2009), a critical appraisal of food self sufficiency’s possible contribution to a more secure, sustainable and better food system should be considered.

Please click here to download presentation.