Has the era of cheap food come to an end?

Inflation has refused to go down this month and much of it is being driven by the highest food prices for 45 years. Along with record energy prices, that is making life very difficult for many of us.

Last month, too, we saw supermarket shelves run out of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers as energy prices hit foreign producers of the fruit and vegetables we have come to expect all year round.

Was that just a blip or is there worse to come?

Last week the IPCC issued its latest report on the Climate Crisis and it makes frightening reading. The secretary general of the UN, Antonio Guterres put it very clearly: ‘Humanity is on thin ice and the ice is melting fast.’

We can remember the summer heat and drought last year. We have probably forgotten how it affected harvests in the US and India, but we know that things will only get worse. They will improve after we finally reach carbon zero and then start sucking massive quantities of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere in the second half of this century. Until then, it is only reasonable to expect regular droughts and harvest failures to affect the price and availability of food on our shelves.

If we ever thought that we couldn’t afford to take action on the climate crisis, we are soon going to learn how much more expensive it is going to be not to have taken adequate action decades ago.

Meanwhile we can help ourselves by buying local food in season. There are far more winter vegetables than turnips! If you don’t know what is in season, check on-line or ask at your local greengrocers. If your green beans have flown in from Chile, you will have just made the situation a tiny bit worse.


Edward Gildea

Uttlesford Green Party



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