When more than a fifth of people in Scotland have gone hungry because they can’t afford to buy food,2/3 of Scots are overweight, 44% of our farmers don’t earn a living wage and there are 44 million fewer birds in Britain than there were in 1970 it could be argued that we are in desperate need of a new strategy with regard to food.
The Scottish Government is currently consulting the public about what a policy to enable Scotland to become a Good Food Nation should contain. You will find the consultation form at https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwiG7cy7w5DhAhUgURUIHTpiBn4QFjAAegQIBBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fconsult.gov.scot%2Ffood-and-drink%2Fgood-food-nation%2F&usg=AOvVaw3ZCvWBcYUV3xqY1106VyX7
The consultation consists of 4 somewhat obscure ‘questions’ :
1 To what extent do you agree with the framework proposals for Ministers and public authorities to prepare statements of policy, have regard to them in the exercise of relevant functions, and report on implementation, with regard to international obligations and guidance?
2 Whilst we do not plan to require all sectors to prepare statements ofpolicy on food, they do all have a role to play in achieving our Good Food Nation ambition. To what extent do you agree that Government should encourage and enable businesses in particular to play their part?
3 To what extent do you agree with the proposed approach to accountability of Scottish Ministers and specified public authorities?
4 To what extent do you agree with the proposal for targeted legislation relevant to specific policy areas as an alternative to a single piece of legislation?
Even so , we think it is really important for us to respond before the consultation closes on March 29th. If you can find the time to fill in the questionnaire it is really important to make express your viewpoint on this key issue.
Our response is set out below. Feel free to cut and paste our text if you want to in making your own responses.
Question 1 Agree
A Right to Food bill and accompanying Guidance could embed best practice in the way we grow, supply and cook our food. It could also change the culture of food in Scotland, make us a country where no-one is hungry, where we care about all those involved and where we all celebrate and enjoy our food. For this to happen the Government and public bodies must listen and work with everyone involved including allotmenteers and community growers.
Question 2 Agree
To succeed in making Scotland a Good Food Nation, we need everyone who has a role in food to play their part . We need ro encourage greater co-ordination and participation at local level. For example, people can acquire the interest and skills in growing through allotments and community gardens and then if they wish, progress to the commercial and social enterprises such as market gardens. For such connections to work there must be clear channels for information exchange and skills development.
Question 3 Strongly disagree
Reporting only to the Parliament and Scottish Ministers will not ensure Scotland becomes a Good Food Nation. Government’s plans and reports should be reviewed and monitored by an independent statutory body that can demand action. The local authorities have a duty under Part 9 (allotments) of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 to write a Food Growing Strategy (FGS). However the approach to developing an FGS is not necessarily being incorporated into policies relating to health, well being, the environment and education. A statutory body would ensure authorities effectively measured their progress and acted to bring about the fundamental changes in practice that are required in this area.
Question 4 Disagree
The Good Food Nation Bill should establish a legislative framework with social justice and the right to food at its heart. Such a legislative framework should guide subsequent targeted legislation. Food growing makes a contribution to all fields of government, it is fundamental to our quality of life. Targeted legislation should ensure local food growing is integrated on all relevant policy areas including planning, health, land reform, biodiversity, circular economy, social inclusion and community integration.
Jan McDonald will be following up the session on soil with a practical workshop on composting. This will take place at Springburn Gardens, Springburn Road, G21 1UX starting at 3 pm on Sunday April 7th..