Henry Dimbleby – co-founder of restaurant chain Leon and of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (main image, left) – has been appointed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove to lead the first major review of the UK food system in nearly 75 years.
He will investigate the entire food system, from field to fork, and consider what changes are needed to ensure that it delivers safe, healthy, affordable food, regardless of where people live or how much they earn.
He will also be tasked with examining how robust the food system is in the face of future shocks and the extent to which it is built upon a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector.
Mr Dimbleby’s recommendations will result in a trailblazing new National Food Strategy, set to be published in 2020.
Environment secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Leaving the EU is a great opportunity for British farmers and food producers. But with an expanding population, the urgent threat of climate change and rising levels of diet-related disease, we face many challenges too.
“That is why the time is right for us to look afresh at our food system to ensure everyone has access to high-quality British food and our environment is protected for future generations.”
A formal call for evidence will be held shortly to seek views from all those who have a vested interest in the future of British food.
The National Food Strategy will build on the government’s flagship Agriculture Bill and Fisheries Bill currently before Parliament, alongside the Industrial Strategy, the Childhood Obesity Strategy and the upcoming Environment Bill.
Mr Dimbleby said: “No part of our economy matters more than food. It is vital to life and shapes our sense of identity. But there are urgent challenges with which we must grapple. Populations are growing, diet-related conditions are harming the lives of millions, and climate change is altering what our land will yield.
“From farmers in the field to chefs in the kitchen, over the next year I’ll be speaking with people from across the food chain to address these challenges and ensure everyone has a say in shaping the future.”