Why can't the UK solve food insecurity? Episode five

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Charles Baughan talks about the importance of soil health in food production
Charles Baughan talks about the importance of soil health in food production

Related tags soil health Agriculture food insecurity Food security Sustainability

In this fifth instalment, Bethan discusses the importance of food in the supply chain and why we need to move from a 'don't look down' situation.

With his rural background, Westaway Sausages' owner Charles Baughan talks about the important of soil in episode five of Food Manufacture's documentary on food security. 

"Soil is my inspiration - it's so important. Food and how it relates to the soil are intrinsically important," ​he told our editor Bethan Grylls. 

During his interview, Baughan describes the ways in which we are destroying our soils and what the consequences of unhealthy soil can lead to - referencing the American Dust Bowl, which saw farmers abandoning soil conservation practices as drop prices fell and machinery costs rose. 

"We are destroying our soil in many ways,"​ Baughan contended, as he listed them: "Climate change, our excessive use of fertilisers; we are also working the soil too hard - it is a constant production line. But farming is far more artisan than that, it's a craft. What works on one farmer's land, might not work on another, for example.​" 

He continued: "If we are to grow more monocrops, we're going to lose that biodiversity and the whole thing becomes imbalanced." 

Baughan also divulged how the soil can help us combat climate change if we do look after it. 

"Soil can lock up huge amounts of carbon. If we have healthy productive soils, we can also grow more food. Also, a healthy, deeply rooted soil can hold more water."

Watch Baughan's interview below as he digs up the hard truths of soil and food. Thanks to RSSL for sponsoring our Spotlight Series week 2023.

Watch episode one here​, with Anna Taylor of the Food Foundation as she talks cost-of-living; episode two here​, with Nick Allen of the British Meat Processors Association as he discusses regulation and red tape, and episode three here​, with Mike Wijnberg of Pilgrim's UK as he highlights the ways in which the company has been addressing sustainability and food security. Episode four​ is now also available and includes insight from Kim Kettle and Paul Eggleston of Long Clawson Dairy and Bridge Farm, respectively.

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