#NourishElectionAsks – Ask 4: Develop & Support Dignified Responses to Food Insecurity

With the local elections right around the corner, Nourish is asking candidates to support our ideas for how Local Authorities can catalyse some vital changes in our food system. Full details of the #NourishElectionAsks and how to sign up as a supporter are available here.

From now, until the elections, we’ll be posting blogs about each of our asks.

Nourish is currently campaigning at a national level for a new legal framework for the food system in Scotland, which includes the human right to food in Scotland and would place duties on local, as well as national, authorities to ensure its realisation.

We believe Local Authorities across Scotland should work to ensure that everybody in their constituency has both financial and geographical access to tasty, nutritious and culturally appropriate food as a right and with choice and dignity.

That’s why Nourish’s fourth policy ask is to:


Develop & Support Dignified Responses to Food Insecurity

Household food insecurity has been rising in Scotland. We call on Local Authorities, and other public authorities supporting food insecure people, to promote ‘cash first’ referral pathways , including social security advice and income maximisation. We also want to see Local Authorities work with others, particularly those with lived experience of food insecurity, to develop and implement Community Food Plans, as part of wider Food Strategies. This was one of the recommendations (no. 19) made by the Scottish Government’s Independent Working Group on Food Poverty in their 2016 report “Dignity: Ending Hunger Together in Scotland”. Reducing food insecurity and hunger should be central to these Community Food Plans, they should include investment in dignified community food networks, and special consideration should be given to children. With a view to closing the attainment gap, support should go to school breakfast clubs, programmes tackling holiday hunger and measures increasing local uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers to 80% by 2018 from the current national average of 74%.

Case study: Wholesome Wave Foundation, US & the Alexandra Rose Charity, London

Wholesome Wave is a non-profit working across the United States, connecting the dots between farmers, businesses, local authorities, the health sector and communities. They believe poverty should never be an obstacle to eating fresh produce and coordinate a range of non-stigmatising food access programmes – benefiting over a million families and thousands of farmers. Initiatives include sourcing private and public investment to double the value of food stamps when spent at farmers’ markets on locally grown fruits and vegetables.

The Alexandra Rose Charity has been running a similar scheme in the London boroughs of Hackney, Greenwich and Lambeth. The charity gives out Rose Vouchers to families receiving Healthy Start Vouchers who are particularly at risk of food insecurity and/or diet-related diseases. The Vouchers are worth £3 per child every week (double if the child is under one year of age) and can only be redeemed at markets that sell fresh fruit and vegetables, thereby supporting local producers and independent retailers at the same time. By locating the Rose Voucher registration and distribution at children’s centers, the scheme also supports participants’ engagement with existing activities focused on health and wellbeing.


Relevant Nourish projects & campaigns

As part of The Dignity Project, Nourish Scotland and the Poverty Truth Commission are working together to develop a Dignity Framework with and for community food providers. The Framework builds on the four principles of ‘a dignified response to food insecurity’ outlined in Dignity: Ending hunger together in Scotland. The Dignity Framework will be a tool for community food providers and community members to consider how placing dignity at the heart of community food provision can support a transition away from emergency food aid as a primary response to food insecurity.

The Dignity Project is part of the wider campaign on taking a right-based approach to food. You can find more information about Nourish’s work on this here and can sign up to receive updates about the campaign including how to get involved here.

We’re also involved in the new ‘A Menu for Change’ partnership project with Oxfam Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and The Poverty Alliance, which seeks to evolve the response to food poverty in Scotland from food banks to tackling the underlying causes. You can find more information here.


a Menu for Change