The strategy will be co-ordinated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) but sets out to integrate food policy across every government department - a feat last untaken during World War II.
Introducing the new strategy the UK's Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said:
"Food security is as important to this country's future well-being - and the world's - as energy security. We need to produce more food. We need to do it sustainably. And we need to make sure that what we eat safeguards our health".
In his forward to the 82-page strategy document UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown writes that Britain can become a world leader in food policy. He says: "...we face big challenges today which means we need to think differently about food. We can't carry on just as we are..."
All heady stuff and it may have taken a generation - 25 years - to reach this point but this is big news. For example, back in the dark days of UK food policy in the 1980s, UK government regarded food policy as little more than something to do with food labeling and even then didn't do much. So there is a lot in the language of the Food 2030 strategy to welcome.
But reading the strategy there is a dawning realization of how much there is still to do especially to make true on the government's goal that all voices with an interest in the food economy have a proper say and role.
Unfortunately a lot of the document reads as a re-telling of many of the things underway and the vision could be summarized as the the 'wish list' that has been in public discourse for the past 20 years - about consumers being better informed and able to purchase 'healthy' food and about food and farming becoming more competitive, efficient and profitable.
Consumers as usual are expected to take 'personal responsibility' for their food choices. The added dimension is all of this needs to take place in the context of 'sustainability' - but the big picture vision and metrics about how a sustainable food system will be benchmarked so we know it when we see it are vague.
The role of government is also left a little vague. Government's role in the Food 2030 strategy is set out in the language of textbook economics - that is, the role of government is to "correct market failures". Where ever possible change over the next 20 years will be "voluntary", not least in relation to business.
Reflecting on Food 2030 an array of contradictions begin to emerge. For example, a key objective is to get consumers to reduce food waste. An important goal. But at the same time, and central to the strategy, is to increase production. So as consumers use food more prudently yet supply expands it is not clear how this market squeeze will be managed.
There is recognition of the fast emerging new food consciousness, such as local food consumption and fair trade measures - and unbelievably part of the strategy claims it will encourage consumers to 'grow their own food'. Again undercutting the market and production model dominating the overall strategy.
So does the government see 'grow your own' and local food economies as being transformative or remaining in the margins of the larger food economy? I suspect the latter since the strategy does little to explain the major business restructuring in industrial farming and food business that would be needed to correct the current food system to one that meets healthy eating dictates and local and regional food security.
Because I am assuming the need for Food 2030 arises from the fact that the current food system is both unsustainable and unhealthy for people and the environment.
An important supporting document to accompany Food 2030 was the official launch the next day of the UK Government's Food Research and Innovation plans. Here though was the creeping feeling that it was back to 'business as usual' and that different visions of a sustainable food supply might get short shift. In launching the plan the Government's chief scientific adviser (it was left to him not a politician) was reported as saying that GM technology is critical to the challenge of increasing food production.
So back to the industrial 'hi-tech' productionist model of food and an approach challenged by many as far from 'sustainable'.
The chief scientist also mentioned the use of new nanotechnologies as part of the future of 'hi-tech' food. It was unfortunate because by the end of the week the thorny problem of 'trust' in UK food was making headlines centered on nanotechnology. The problem of food industry secrecy and lack of accountability was back in the news Friday when the UK's House of Lords Science and Technology Committee criticized the food industry as being "too secretive" about its use of nanotechnology. Lord Krebs, committee chair, was reported as saying: "...we are not clear what is out there in use at the moment".
If Food 2030 is to work - and it needs to since as the Prime Minister said the food system can't carry on as it is - some of the 'softer' values, such as trust, authenticity, ethics, democratic discussion and social innovation, will be of equal importance and in need of their own strategies to be part of establishing a sustainable food economy and food secure country.