The 'Big Picture'
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Industrialisation of Food and Farming in the UK in the last Century
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The 'big picture' is that there has been a gradual increase in techniques and capability available to farmers and food processors, so that farming has now clearly become an industry, and is likely to go further in the direction of industrialisation.

As this industrialisation has increased, there have been a number of consequences:-

  1. Stabilisation of food supplies, and (probably) cheaper prices
  2. The solution of the main problems that existed in 1900 - such as crop losses to pests, animal diseases, storage losses, etc.
  3. A number of movements have also arisen as a reaction to this industrialisation:
 

a. Complaints about residues and poisoning of food caused by the new techniques
b. Complaints about environmental and habitat damage
c. Movements to save species, landscapes, habitats, lifestyles, etc.
d. Moral protests about the treatment of animals and 'loss of quality'
e. Regrets about the loss of the old country lifestyles (e.g. the Countryside Alliance)
f. A 'counter-movement' has begun with a return to organic methods

  1. There are also concerns that the new methods may not be sustainable - that they contribute to global warming and that they are powered by irreplaceable fossil fuels.

As this industrialisation proceeds even further, then there are fears that the following could occur:-

  1. Major changes in local agricultures caused by the global free trade and the WTO system
  2. Increased food testing might lead to increased discoveries of contamination, and increased public fears
  3. There may be increased complaints of environmental damage as more farms are 'rationalised' and the smaller, less economic farmers forced out of business
  4. Some land is being taken out of use (set-aside) as it is not needed. This may return to 'wild' if un-tended.
  5. The combination of increasing farm sizes and set-aside policies may lead to changes in the 'traditional British landscape'

I have tried to limit the extent of the conclusions I draw in this work - it would be easy to expand into more fears, or more potentials, or in directions with an economic or legal focus, or diet, or into any number of other areas, and there are many books published on agriculture and food, and also ethics, and so on.

However, I hope to use this study to examine more deeply the UK Government's Food Policies, and I describe the next stages of my project HERE

You are welcome to use these pages as you wish - a citation or link would be welcomed !

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