Nourish Scotland are crowdfunding right now – seeking support and resources for our Good Food Nation campaign. This is our second blog in a series counting down to the closing date of the crowdfunder this Sunday (11th of December). As we set out in yesterday’s blog, this campaign is about all of us getting a say in deciding the future of our food system. Of course, we cannot have a Good Food Nation without respecting and valuing those who produce, process and provide the food in the first place!
And everything is at stake in terms of redistributing power, resources and value more fairly in our food supply chains.
For example, what does it say about our relationship to food that jobs across the food sector (which accounts for 1 in 7 jobs in Scotland) are among the least well-paid and the most precarious? In agriculture, farm incomes have fallen by 75% since 2011 and 59% of farms make less than the Minimum Agricultural Wage per hour – despite higher living costs in rural areas.
Brexit has put a time-bomb under the Common Agricultural Policy and its farm subsidies and support. Of course, this also provides a huge opportunity in Scotland to write a new “social contract” between food producers and citizens, as part of which we could finally start to reward all the public benefits –from healthy soils to healthy food- sustainable food producers provide us with.
The Scottish local food sector is growing fast. As part of our New Farmer Programme and Making a Living from Local Food programme, it’s been hugely inspiring to meet people with a real passion to feed their communities with the best possible food while taking care of land and animals (see for example Adam Veitch’s story of running a micro-bakery on a croft in Fort William or Roz Corbett’s story setting up up a Community Supported Agriculture scheme in Perthshire).
At the same time, local food entrepreneurs are telling us how difficult it is to make a living from selling high-quality food through short food chains – and to find the land and investment needed to start a business at all. Together with the Scottish Farm Land Trust, we recently ran a survey to find out who was interested in starting to farm in Scotland and had over a 1,000 responses. Many of them said access to land formed a significant barrier to them. Making sure producers have access to land, resources and markets is a core aspect of realising the right to food –and much more remains to be done on this front.
It’s clear that our food producers and workers need a seat at the table throughout the Bill process (and beyond): from large-scale farm operators, family farmers, market gardeners, crofters and urban growers to bakers, butchers, abattoir workers, retailers, and hospitality workers.
With every £150 we fundraise, when the consultation on the Good Food Nation Bill opens, we can run an event or training specifically supporting those whose voices aren’t often heard to respond to the consultation and/or advocate for their rights in other ways.
You can find more information about what we will use the money for on our Crowdfunder page, and feel free to get in touch to ask any questions. Please give what you can and share widely!