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May 30, 2018

Bring it on

Over the past few months hundreds of people across Scotland have been talking about food. Kitchen Table Talks was conceived as an appetiser to the main course – a consultation on Scotland’s  food system and how new legislation might transform Scotland into a Good Food Nation. But that main course has yet to appear from the Scottish Government’s kitchen – and it was supposed to be served up last year. Now that the report from Kitchen Table Talks is published, the message to the Scottish Government is loud and clear – Bring on that Food Bill!


Scottish Food Coalition

To read executive summary report click here

Kitchen Table Talks made clear that people care about the future of Scotland’s food and have strong views on what the Scottish Government could do to transform the food system. These are the 10 actions that were mentioned most:

1 Facilitate local food economies

Action to help Scotland grow more of what we eat, and eat more of what we grow. This could be regulation, subsidies, and investment in infrastructure to stimulate local food economies, where small businesses from field to fork can thrive, and everyone can access food produced in their local area.

2 Invest in education and skills training for all ages

 Resources need to be invested to provide more free skills training opportunities for children and adults, including growing and cooking food, and to provide clear and accessible information about the food system including on nutrition, social justice and sustainability issues.

3 Make all food production sustainable through incentives and regulation

A reform of farming and land management policy is critical to supporting the delivery of public goods and protecting the environment. We need to reduce the use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers and routine antibiotic use, and support small-scale producers and organic farmers.

4 Improve financial and geographical access to good food

 Policies should tackle poverty and ensure universal access to food, including through fair wages, adequate social security, targeted subsidies or price controls on healthy foods, especially fresh produce, and action to make affordable fresh produce available in all local communities.

5 Provide more and longer-term support to community food initiatives

 More funding and investment in infrastructure are needed to support existing and new community food projects, including growing, cooking, distributing, and sharing meals. Community food activities are central to social cohesion, empowerment and resilience.

 6 Regulate the food industry for healthier food environments

 Intervention to reduce the sugar and fat content of foods, control the use of potentially harmful substances in food processing, and restrict advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods.

7 Ensure access to land for food production

 Land reform should make urban land available, with secure tenancy, for food growing in allotments, market gardens, and community garden, as well as facilitate rural land access and ownership for new entrants and small-scale farmers.

8Take action to reduce plastic packaging

Taxation and/or regulation powers should be used to reduce packaging, especially of fruit and vegetables. Minimising single-use plastics and improving recycling is essential too.

9 Lead by example through public procurement

Public food procurement ought to favour local and organic produce, and the highest nutritional standards should be applied in public kitchens, especially in hospitals and schools.

10 Make food policy more coherent and democratic

 Food policy should be coherent, with coordination between Government departments, and grounding in evidence-based practice. There should be more restrictions on corporate lobbying, and opportunities for civil society participation, for example through Local Food Councils.