Knowledge for better food systems

The food issues census 2017 by Food Ethics Council

The Food Ethics Council has published the ‘food issues census 2017’, which provides an assessment of the activities and capacities of civil society organisations (CSOs) working on food and farming in the UK.

The report is a follow up from the first ever census of this sector published in 2011, and it provides a picture of CSOs working on food, farming and fishing in the UK. See below for a snapshot of the proportion of organisations surveyed that are working on the following selected activities:

‘Food issues census 2017’ findings include:

  • One in five civil society organisations working in food and farming relies on European Union funding;
  • Food poverty moved from 15th place in 2011 to 2nd in 2016 in terms of number of organisations working on the issue;
  • However, food poverty was the issue that the largest number of respondents said needed more funding;
  • 41% of respondents said the government was the biggest hindrance to addressing food and farming issues;
  • The environment was the top motivation for the majority of CSOs who responded to the survey (when asked “How would you summarise the main motivation for your organisation’s current work on food and farming issues?” ).

The report, dataset and case studies are all available here.  


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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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