20 May 2022
Cambridge Greens are urging the city council to step up efforts to promote plant-based food.
Councillor Hannah Copley, who represents Abbey ward for the Green Party, has proposed a motion that mandates the council to transition to fully plant-based catering at its own meetings.
It also urges a policy of ensuring that plant-based options are available at every event in which the Council is involved and at Council cafes and kiosks.
Cllr Copley will present the motion at the full council meeting on Thursday May 26 and said: “The evidence is clear that as a society we need to rapidly move to a more plant-based diet, by reducing our meat and dairy consumption, in order to ensure we can continue to feed current and future generations.
“Over 40% of Britons are already trying to eat less meat, but plant-based food options aren’t consistently available at all events or food venues, despite the fact plant-based ingredients are often much cheaper.
“By adopting our proposals, the Council would be showing leadership on this critical issue.”
An independent report commissioned by the Government recommends that UK meat consumption should decrease by 30%.
The Climate Change Commission has advocated a 20% shift away from all meat and dairy by 2030 (rising to 35% by 2050) in order to put the UK on the path to net zero.
Matthew Howard, who became Abbey ward’s third Green councillor in the recent elections, said: “Our proposals absolutely aren’t about forcing everyone to go vegan.
“They are an opportunity for local government to lead by example and communicate that eating more plants and less meat has many positive effects: for people, for wallets, for the planet.
“We offer some simple and effective ways to showcase tasty, healthy, plant-based food, while directly reducing the carbon footprint of the Council’s operations, supporting local producers and hopefully saving some money.”
Almost 60% of the cereals grown in the UK are used to feed livestock, rather than people. The country has large trade deficits in meat, dairy and animal feed, so eating more plant-based food would make the UK more self-sufficient.
In East Anglia, where arable farming is predominant, there are many local plant-based food businesses that could be supported.
The Cambridge Green Party recognises that the city council has made good progress in this area of policy, especially through its partnership with Cambridge Sustainable Food. But now it must go further.
Oxfordshire County Council passed a similar motion earlier this year.
Cambridge City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and is proud of its stance on environmental issues as it pursues the goal of creating a net-zero city.
Supporting a shift towards more plant-based food would be an important step forward and set a great example for residents.
The Cambridge Green Party calls on all parties to support Cllr Copley’s motion.
Image: Councillor Hannah Copley visits CoFarm, Cambridge