Good Food Nation Bill background

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.

Why legislation?

Our food system is leaving many people behind: from those experiencing food insecurity or working in the food industry with low wages and insecure working conditions, to those coping with diet-related ill health, and to the large numbers of food producers struggling to make a living. Food is also a major contributor to climate change and biodiversity loss, and is driving global soil quality loss and antibiotic resistance.

Legislation can change this, by setting the direction of travel towards a fair, healthy and sustainable food system. Establishing the core purpose of the food system in law, with a system of governance that ensures progress and accountability, can catalyse a transformation in how our food system works.

A whole system approach is needed, so that the Good Food Nation Bill can create a coherent framework for joined-up policies that ensure people’s fundamental human rights and the integrity of our planet are promoted today and into the future.

Our key asks for the Good Food Nation Bill

There are 5 key elements that we want to see in the Good Food Nation Bill. These 5 key asks have been developed with our partners in the Scottish Food Coalition and represent our common position.

1. Incorporate the right to food into Scots law

The right to food is a right for everyone to be able to eat well, and to a food system that treats people and planet fairly. Having a right to food in Scottish law would mean the Scottish Government would have to ensure its policies are not negatively impacting people’s right to food.

2. An independent Food Commission

We want the Scottish Parliament to establish an independent commission which will have the authority to oversee the implementation of the Good Food Nation Bill. This commission would facilitate public participation in food policy and be charged with ensuring all policies respect the right to food.

3. Cross-cutting National Food Plans

We want a requirement that every five years the Scottish Ministers develop a joined-up plan for food, that will cover all policy areas that touch on food, from farming to procurement, health, waste, etc. We want this plan to be developed through an open consultation and scrutinised by Parliament.

4. Duties on public bodies

We want the Bill to set duties on local authorities, health boards and other public bodies to contribute to the Good Food Nation ambition. These duties would mean they have to respect the right to food and support the deliver of the National Food Plan.

5. Sectoral measures and targets

The Good Food Nation Bill should include binding targets to stimulate immediate action on some of the challenges of our food system. Targets should aim for reduction in household food insecurity; reduction in adult and childhood obesity; reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the food system; increase in the proportion of food and drink businesses paying the living wage; and other issues – aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.