Campaign for a Good Food Nation Bill

The Good Food Nation Bill is a new piece of legislation, aiming to make positive change to our food system. While the general principles of the Bill enjoy widespread support, including cross party support in the Scottish Parliament, the legislation is not yet strong enough to deliver on its promise.

What's the problem we're trying to solve?

Scotland’s food system is in trouble. Many people are forced to use food banks; healthy diets are not affordable; the way we farm and fish harms the environment that we rely on to keep producing our food. Governments have been trying to solve these problems by looking at them individually – but these problems are not getting better, and some of them are getting worse. To make a real change, we need a more joined-up approach.

What’s the solution?

There is more to food than just eating. We need to look at the system behind how food gets to our plates. This includes growing, farming and fishing; land and sea management; processing, catching, distribution and consumption. Regulations, incentives and workers’ rights are also part of this system.

The Good Food Nation Bill is our opportunity to make positive change across the whole system. The Bill could be a truly transformative piece of legislation, ensuring the food system nourishes us and the planet. But as it stands, the Bill only has 2 of the 5 ingredients needed to make it happen. There is a danger it will fail to live up to its name – and its promise.

Good Food Nation Bill: 5 key ingredients

Right to food We need the Bill to clearly state that its purpose is to protect the right to food for everyone in Scotland – today and for future generations. It means reducing food insecurity and producing food in ways that are sustainable – so that the next generations’ food security is protected too.

Food commission We need a new body to oversee and guide our progress This Commission needs to be independent of government – so that it can give us a true picture of the whole system. Free from political pressures, it would inform us about what we already do well and what needs to improve.

Targets We need a small number of ambitious and achievable targets to focus minds and stimulate immediate action.

Examples include:

  • halving the environmental impact of the food system by 2030
  • ending the use of cages with farmed animals by 2027
  • eliminating severe household food insecurity by 2030
  • achieving Scottish Dietary Goals by 2035
  • paying food workers employed by public bodies or through public sector contracts at least the real living wage by 2025

Food plans The draft Bill commits the Scottish Government to writing and consulting on a plan for the food system, every 5 years.

Local action The draft Bill requires local authorities and health boards to produce their own food plans. This could be a big driver of change at the local level, if communities are involved in preparing and reviewing the plans.