Invitation – Multi-stakeholder inquiry on food and fairness in Ayrshire

We are inviting anyone interested in / working with food in Ayrshire to take part in a 8-week collective inquiry this autumn, focussing on the questions:

How can food become fairer in Ayrshire?

How can inequalities in access to good food be reduced?’

We are looking for 6-12 people with an Ayrshire connection who have some capacity and commitment to implement and/or advocate for change in the food system – farmers, retailers, academics, NHS staff, people from local authorities including schools, catering, procurement, planning, people working in the third sector and social enterprises…

We will be loosely following the “U.Lab” process, which is a global programme run by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and supported by the Local Government and Communities Directorate of the Scottish Government. It is designed to help stakeholders untangle and rethink complex issues and to develop and test new approaches. The programme ran for the first time from January–March 2015, and you can read more here on the U.Lab Scotland page. This U.Lab “hub” will be part of a network of local hubs being organised across Scotland this autumn exploring different issues and themes, as well as a global network of (>20.000) people participating in the course online. At the same time, the inquiry will feed into this autumn’s ‘Fairer Scotland’ conversation instigated by the Scottish Government.

Nourish have started work on food together with different partners in Ayrshire and there seems to be a lot of energy and potential to create a different and better local food system. We are keen to host an Ayrshire-wide U.lab hub on food and fairness to help support and shape this work. We also hope that the learning from the inquiry – both the ideas that come out of it and the experience of using the U.Lab process itself – will inform our wider work in Scotland in the time ahead.

U.Lab will run for 8 weeks from 10 September until end-October 2015 as an online course at no financial cost. Ideally all participants in the Ayrshire inquiry would be taking part in this course, using online learning materials that can be accessed at any time. Alongside of this, Nourish staff will be facilitating five face-to-face learning sessions in Ayrshire, using the input and exercises from the online course to unpack the issues at stake and together come up with next steps that are specific to the Ayrshire context. Dates and venues will be agreed with the participants. With the online course starting soon, we aim to have participants confirmed by the end of August.

If you’re interested in taking part, know someone who would be or have any questions, contact Olga Bloemen at or 0131 226 1497. You can download the invitation here -it would be great if you could spread it through your networks.