The horticulture industry and public health charities urged Defra minister George Eustice to develop domestic fruit and veg production in a meeting this week.
The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance met with Eustice at an Edible Horticulture Roundtable on Tuesday in a bid to get Brits on track for eating seven portions of fruit and veg per day, from as much homegrown produce as possible.
The group is also aiming to improve the resilience of a food sector that currently relies on imports to meet more than half of fruit and vegetable demand.
The roundtable, which included representatives from British Growers Association, the NFU, the Soil Association, the Landworkers’ Alliance and the Food Foundation, will seek to inform and influence Defra policy development to increase support for horticulture in future agricultural policy.
Jack Ward, co-chair of the group from British Growers Association, said: “The coming together of the industry, charity and Government bodies signals a positive new approach to domestic fruit and vegetable production.
“By focussing on working together to increase support to the UK fresh produce industry, we can help to ensure that horticulture gets the recognition and support it deserves.”
Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, said: “We all need to eat more fruit and veg to optimise our health and prevent disease, and for that we need a thriving horticulture sector which stimulates consumer demand.
“Government policy has a critical role to play in ensuring a productive future for British fruit and veg growers and we hope this new engagement with Defra will help secure that future, in the interests of the nation’s health.”
To find out more about the Fruit and Vegetable Alliance and support future Edible Horticulture Roundtable events, contact Sam Packer, Policy Officer at the Soil Association, on firstname.lastname@example.org.