National Food Policies/Strategies
Several countries - including Scotland, Finland, Sweden - have developed a national-level cross-cutting food policy/strategy/plan. There is currently a National Food Strategy for England under development.
It is not always clear what impact these kind of framework policies have, as they are rarely evaluated, or subject to follow-up reporting on progress. The UK went through a process of developing a national food strategy from 2007-2010, in an attempt to bring all of the relevant parts of food-related policy together under an overarching framework. Australia undertook a similar exercise between 2010-2013, resulting in a 'National Food Plan'. Both the UK and Australian attempts ultimately failed when a change in government, and political party, resulted in the integrated food strategies being abandoned.
Northern Ireland is also developing an integrated food strategy. I was invited present my work on food systems and policy integration at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs' two-day integrated food strategy workshop. The 'strategic insights lab' workshop was attended by stakeholders from a range of national government departments, plus private sector and civil society stakeholders, and academics. The aim: to set the strategic direction for a future food policy framework. The workshop highlighted several questions which need to be considered as part of the project. The question deemed most important by participants, following a 'dot-voting' exercise, was 'How can we build structures (including resources) that are needed to facilitate a cohesive/joined-
up/holistic food policy?'.