Pete Richie is Director of Nourish Scotland, a civil society organization working for a fairer and more sustainable food system in Scotland and proposes a transformation in our food system over the next generation, from one focused on production to one focused on sustainable nutrition.Credits—
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Scotland’s food is in transition, and as in all transitions there is a confusion of activity and messages.
On one side, the food and drink industry is still growing, and new businesses are emerging. There’s a bustle of activities in communities, with new growing projects and food networks. Household food waste seems to have dropped a little during the recession. Radical new proposals from the Land Reform Review Group challenge anachronistic patterns of land ownership.
On the other side, the dietary gap between rich and poor is if anything widening, with the rise in food banks the canary in the coal mine; and the public health impact of the Scottish diet is set to grow. While we have world-leading climate change targets we have not yet made a serious connection between climate change and our food system. The latest Common Agricultural Policy settlement has bought more time for farmers to continue business as usual, at the expense of the environment and rural development.
A Common Weal food system would put our resources and knowhow to work more effectively to ensure that all of us in Scotland can enjoy a healthy and sustainable diet.
― A Common Weal food system would put our resources and knowhow to work more effectively to ensure that all of us in Scotland can enjoy a healthy and sustainable diet.
― As a global food citizen, Scotland would reduce the environmental burden we place on the rest of the world through the way we produce and consume food; and we would share our agricultural knowhow, especially where it empowers communities to improve local nutrition and where it reduces the environmental impact of food production.
― Scotland must enact a transformation in our food system over the next generation, from one focused on production to one focused on sustainable nutrition.
― Various strategies are suggested such as local food systems, national nutrition strategies and environmental sustainability metrics.
― Policies such as Universal free school meals, better targeting of tax and subsides and restrictions on junk food advertising should be introduced.
― We know that creating a people- and planet-friendly food system is doable but, just as with the NHS pre-1947, there is still great resistance to it. We need a step change in commitment from government to make it happen.