Food, Values and the Wellbeing of Future Generations

We recently ran a workshop with the Food Policy group at Welsh Government to share the values approach and how it could be useful for them in their work – both internally and in partnership with civil society.

We proposed values as a useful way to approach the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act in Wales. The Act aims to transcend sectoral and organisational differences. We support this ambition suggesting the identification of shared values as a strategy for finding common cause. Values can bring people together in a way that gets past sectoral allegiances and stimulates fresh thinking. The values methodology enables the creation of a shared vision, beyond sectoral concerns, acknowledging ‘bigger than self’ issues.

Food is also a useful focus here because it has a grounding quality that can reach out to all Welsh people, and make sustainable development more tangible. It also an everyday requirement embedding actions for sustainability in our daily lives and routines.

More broadly, reconnecting with our values can enable greater awareness of what really matters, rather than assuming default positions which may counter-act deeply held priorities in the longer term.Values are strengthened the more we engage them, so we need to ensure our institutions and policies actually reflect and engage the values that people care about, otherwise we can unwittingly undermine them. Recent research by the Common Cause Foundation shows that the Welsh public place particular priority on compassionate values including social justice, broadmindedness, responsibility, honesty and protecting the environment. It is important to collectively acknowledge and celebrate these values.

Using Values in Policy – Some examples of where values of Universalism and Benevolence have been engaged through existing policies and initiatives

  • Connecting food to people and place – Food for Wales from Wales; Products of Designated Origin; Local Sourcing (procurement planning; Food For Life); Cynefin – place-based local service planning & provision; Community Growing Initiatives
  • Linking food to justice and equality (on health, nutrition and access) – Appetite for Life, Food and Fitness, Food Poverty Alliance, school meals, cookery & growing in schools & communities
  • Framing action on food as part of the broader goal of sustainability in Wales – One Wales One Planet; Food for Wales…, Appetite for Life, recycling food waste for community energy provision
  • Taking a globally responsible stance – One Wales One Planet; Fairtrade; twinning projects (schools, towns), Wales for Africa, The Size of Wales
  • Involving people in a collective conversation and shared sense of responsibility – The Wales We Want (informing WFG).

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