So, what is a ‘Good Food Nation’ then? One with sourdough bread made from heritage Scottish grain, delicious cheese from Scotland’s ethical dairy that is pioneering in animal welfare, organic salad leaves and strawberries picked fresh locally?
All such delights were found at the Scottish Food Coalition’s report launch yesterday: ‘A Seat at the Table: Becoming a Good Food Nation is everyone’s business’. The report outlines the results of 140 Kitchen Table Talks that took place across Scotland, with over 800 people participating in conversations about Scotland’s food future. It calls for an inclusive public consultation on the forthcoming Good Food Nation Bill.
Although we have some exceptional food in Scotland with producers like Andrew Whitley of Scotland the Bread, and David and Wilma Finlay of the Ethical Dairy producing delicious food that meets the highest ethical and ecological standards, these businesses are struggling against the grain.
A Good Food Nation is one where these high quality, nutritious products are normal, and enjoyed by everyone. A Good Food Nation is one where it’s not only easy to do the right thing by animals, workers, and our ecosystems, but it is a legal requirement for food businesses.
Yesterday, nutritionists, farmers, community gardeners, food wholesalers, chefs and campaigners were joined by a dozen MSPs representing all the major political parties, the message: ‘Bring on the Food Bill’.
Legislation to sort out Scotland’s food system appeared in the SNP’s Programme for Government in 2016 and 2017, but they are yet to publish a public consultation on the Good Food Nation Bill.
The Kitchen Table Talks revealed that people across Scotland care about food and are most concerned about the affordability of a healthy diet, the environmental impact of food, disconnection from the origin and value of food, food waste and plastics and packaging. People identified the priorities for Government as facilitating local food economies, investing in education and skills training, making all food production sustainable, improving access to good food, and supporting community food initiatives.
Despite such urgent challenges, and numerable opportunities to do better with food, the Scottish Government have not followed through with their ambition to create a Good Food Nation.
Nourish Scotland, as part of the Scottish Food Coalition, are inviting everyone to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon to Bring on the Food Bill! Please sign and share widely!