Campaigning for a Good Food Nation Bill

At Nourish, along with the Scottish Food Coalition, we have been campaigning for a new food Bill that will provide a new framework for our food system. At the moment, agriculture, planning, social security, or public health policies and laws are mostly done in silos, but we can’t fix the interrelated issues that plague our food system without looking at the bigger picture and joining up the dots. We want the Good Food Nation Bill to enable a coherent and connected approach to food policy, which facilitates a just transition to a fair, healthy and sustainable food system.

You can listen to a short podcast about Nourish and the Good Food Nation Bill here.

The Good Food Nation Bill is here... and we need to work together to make it stronger

The long-awaited Good Food Nation Bill was published by the Government in October 2021. The Bill has come a long way, and over the past 5 years there have been many twists and turns, and moments where legislation was no certain thing. It’s a testament to the continued support from many stakeholders in the system: NGOs, trade unions, the public and even the industry that the Bill has made it this far.

We’re not finished with the journey just yet – and this is when the road gets interesting. Now that the Bill has been introduced, we’re getting to work on making sure it’s strong enough to make a difference.

There is plenty to be done! The Bill is only a draft and over the next few months it will go through three stages of parliamentary scrutiny. There will be opportunities for showing public support and for internal advocacy. If your interested in more details, please see our GFN Bill briefing and our collective response (with the Scottish Food Coalition) to the call for evidence.

Good Food Nation consultation results show strong public support for a new approach to Scotland's food system

Huge numbers of people have supported the call for change to Scotland’s food system by sharing their views with Scottish Government.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government published a consultation on becoming a Good Food Nation. The consultation asked for people’s views on whether or not we should have a new law on food to help us transition to a fair, healthy and sustainable food system.

The Scottish Food Coalition has campaigned for this new law, dubbed the Good Food Nation Bill, and is delighted to see such strong support among the people of Scotland.

Key themes from the responses to the consultations were:

  • That the law should include a commitment to the right to food for everyone in Scotland.
  • That the Scottish Government should encourage businesses to play their part in becoming a Good Food Nation; a massive 93% of respondents agreed that businesses have a role to play
  • That we need to work together across all of society to make change happen
  • That we need an independent statutory body to oversee the changes, and make sure that we’re all moving in the same direction.

There was clear support for a new approach to food in Scotland, and one that helps us work together for transformational change.  One faith-based organisation commented:

“Government and public bodies should involve lots of different groups and individuals in making the Good Food Nation plan reality because food should be the concern of everyone in society. Just as importantly, Ministers and public bodies should foster this collaboration in a way that makes it easy for people to understand the plan and to have their voices listened to.”

And one local authority showed clear support for a more joined-up approach commenting that:

“An overarching framework set out in legislation would go substantially further than existing pieces of legislation and policy that focus on one part of the food system e.g. climate change, diet etc.”

An impressive 627 individuals in Scotland sent in their thoughts in detail, and another 470 people responded to the Scottish Food Coalition e-action. This shows just how many people are interested in important issues like changing the food system, and how important public participation is for truly democratic decision-making.

You can read the full analysis of the consultation responses here.

A Bill that is shaped by everyone who cares about food

We have been calling on the Scottish Government to listen to people when developing the Good Food Nation Bill. We want this Bill to be a chance for everyone to shape Scotland’s food system, so earlier this year, with the Scottish Food Coalition, we developed Kitchen Table Talks to hear what really matters to people about food, and what they want the Good Food Nation Bill to achieve.

The Kitchen Table Talks were a huge success: over 800 people shared their views with us, demonstrating a huge appetite for a national conversation about food. We summarised the responses in ‘A Seat at the Table: Becoming a Good Food Nation is everyone’s business’. Following the launch of A Seat at the Table, the Scottish Food Coalition ran an e-action calling on the First Minister to ‘Bring on the Bill’ and host a real national conversation on food. Click on the image below to find out more!

A Seat at the Table: Becoming a Good Food Nation is everyone's business - Kitchen Table Talk Report by the Scottish Food Coalition