More support for agriculture, encouraging community-based farming and a greater emphasis on reducing food waste will be high up the agenda of the next Assembly, a new survey of candidates has revealed.
‘Scoop’ – a ‘sustainable cooperative’ of local producers which supports organic and biodiverse farming – has written a report on food security, based on the response to four questions sent to each election candidate.
Report author India Hamilton, who is a director and co-founder of Scoop, received replies from 57 candidates, including party members whose party replied collectively.
However, a number of party members also answered individually.
22 of 42 independent responded, as did all the parties. Just two of the 16 candidates for Constable replied, which included one party member.
Candidates were asked:
Drawing themes from the responses, Miss Hamilton said: “Our analysis highlights the benefits of having both political parties and individual candidates.
“Parties offer teamwork, but the independents offer great depth. As it is not possible for any party to form a majority, teamwork and collaboration will need to be built into the forming of this government.”
Pictured: The team at Scoop in St. Lawrence. (Natalie Meyer)
She added: “There is real evidence of systems thinking across the candidates, with some really exciting concepts linking health and agriculture.
“There is a growing enthusiasm for innovation and the recognition that small-scale agriculture is vital to food security, climate mitigation, water quality and biodiversity.
“There are concerns about value and human rights linked to worker wages. There is also clear focus on the processes required to facilitate a transition towards the circular economy.
“Scoop support all candidates who value ‘small-scale’ agriculture, address issues around community rights to land, promote the circular economy and look towards innovation in socially and environmentally inclusive policy processes.”
A number of candidates gave their support to the ‘circular economy’ – a concept designed to remove waste through innovation and collaboration, which more than 100 local businesses already participate in.
Proposals to tackle rising food prices included: creating “a cross-sectoral food security taskforce”, greater financial support for local farmers, increasing the Community Costs Bonus, free school meals for all children, more allotments, and the removal of GST from food (temporary or permanent).
Candidates also wanted to make it easier for people to farm and form social enterprises, including younger islanders; Government support for ‘market garden’ producers; and more support of organic farming.
This year, Miss Hamilton has formed a group called Jersey Food Systems Lab to “explore the food system from a systems perspective” in order to encourage more diverse, healthier and local sources of supply.
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