Plant-based Food and Sustainable Farming (proposed by Cllr Dunne, seconded by Cllr Hollingsworth)
Labour Group member motion
This Council notes that:
· The global scientific consensus is that humans have heated the climate at a rate that is unprecedented, and we are heading towards mass extinction not just for ourselves but of entire eco systems if we do not change our actions today.1
· Oxford City Council is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.2
· We have a duty as leaders in the city to empower the local community to make changes that can mitigate climate catastrophe and help preserve the vitality of our planet for future generations.
· The UK's agriculture produces 10% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions and makes up 70% of land use. Modern agricultural practices are a central driver for habitat and biodiversity loss and the UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries.3
· In the UK we eat twice as much meat and dairy as the global average which is not sustainable as there is not enough land in the world to meet this demand without destroying our natural world.4
· Plant-based sources of protein have much smaller carbon footprints than animal-based ones, even when comparing locally raised meat to imported plant foods.
· Farm animals across Europe are producing more emissions than cars and vans combined.5
· Our relationship to food is still an overlooked factor to the climate crisis yet it is the quickest and cheapest step to help tackle the climate crisis if we reduce our meat intake.
· The necessary change to confront the climate crisis needs to tackle existing inequalities in society while acting urgently.
· One of the few ways of reducing emissions that potentially saves people money is by consuming less meat which can be done immediately.
· To protect and enrich jobs in Oxford, we should work closely with local farmers and plant-based food organisations to move to more sustainable farming methods and local produce that promotes plant-based food.
· Calls on the Cabinet Member for Health and Transport to work with Oxfordshire partners to encourage that the Oxfordshire Food Strategy:
· Works with local farmers to support, promote, and encourage their move to create more sustainable plant-based produce.
· References the benefit of sourcing food locally from producers who follow sustainable principles.
· Requests that the Executive Director (Communities and People) submits a report to Cabinet with options to form a plant-based localised free food service by supporting community groups who are already doing this work to transform Oxford into a more environmentally sustainable economy which will also tackle food poverty.
· Commits to the provision of entirely plant-based food at councillor-only events and the provision of plant-based options at public Council events which are catered. 6
· Calls on Cabinet to:
· Request that the Council’s Climate Action Plan be updated to state that all catering provided at council events and functions from August 2022 will have plant-based options.
· Work with all Council run companies and facilities to encourage moving to having plant-based catering options by August 2022.
6 Oxford City Council stopped catering for council meetings a year ago so plant-based catering would be for the few remaining internal council events.
This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.