Fair Food in Scotland by Nourish Scotland

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See here – http://fairer.scot/2015/09/11/fair-food-in-scotland/Scottish produce.

Scotland creates and exports some of the finest produce in the world.

Food in Scotland is often described as a paradox.We produce some of the finest produce in the world, and our grain, fish and dairy products are exported across the globe.

The industry is often cited as a success story, yet despite producing this bounty, many people in Scotland are unable to access sufficient food to feed themselves and their families.

In addition, our levels of diet-related ill health and obesity continue to rise.

Time for fairness with food
While the industry secures many vital jobs, especially in our remote rural areas, many farmers are struggling financially. And many people employed in agriculture, manufacturing and hospitality work long hours and are poorly paid.

Scottish produce on a table.
The industry is often cited as a success story, yet despite producing this bounty, many people in Scotland are unable to access sufficient food.

In addition, current agricultural practices contribute to our carbon emissions and can threaten our biodiversity.This doesn’t seem very fair. Nourish wants to see:

  • more fairness in our food system: for our families, our farmers, our workers and our planet
  • a transformation in how we grow, make, eat and access our food
  • Scotland produce more of what we eat and eat more of what we produce.

We believe that everyone has the right to sufficient, safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food.

Food is more than calories, profit margins and quotas: our food system and our food culture surrounding it could, and should, enhance our environment and people’s lives.

We believe that our farmers, producers and people who work with food have a right to a fair wage and to be treated with dignity and respect.

And we believe that it is possible to produce our food while looking after our environment and promoting animal welfare.

Ending hunger and achieving ‘food security’
The Scottish Government has become an early signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 2 commits the Scottish Government to taking action to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. We fully support this goal.

But how can we make sure this commitment will become a reality and not remain an empty promise?

Food stall in market.
We believe that our farmers, producers and people who work with food have a right to a fair wage and to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • We need a meaningful national minimum wage, which reflects the true cost of living, so we can all afford to pay the bills and to feed ourselves. This should be underpinned by a benefit system that provides an adequate safety net, linked with advice services that can address specific needs.
  • We want to see continued investment in the grass-roots projects that help people grow, access, and cook food.
  • We want to see more development of our community food sector; perhaps by creating community food hubs that can join up food related work in an area and provide these services.
  • We want to increase our skill levels, providing training and development for people working with food and stimulating new food based start-ups, especially ones that deliver sustainably produced, healthy food.
  • We need to invest in – and reward – greener agriculture, reducing nitrate use and lowering carbon emissions.
  • Finally we need to invest in our supply chains, connecting producers with consumers, giving them the ability to develop local markets, and allowing consumers to buy locally and support their local businesses and local economy.
Nourish social media details.
Support good, clean, fair food – get involved on the Nourish website.

Producing our food is not just about inputs and outputs, it impacts on all of us.It can help deliver stronger communities, increased economic growth, environmental protection and a healthier diet – elements vital to any vision of a Fairer Scotland.

But it will only happen if our policy makers join the dots.

Tracey Reilly (Policy Manager, Nourish Scotland)

Slow Food Youth Network Scotland

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I recently went along to one of the first meetings of the newly established Slow Food Youth Network in Scotland. Slow Food has been on my radar for a while, but with the exciting development of the SFYN, I finally managed to go along to find out more.

The establishment of the SFYN in Scotland occurred on the back of Carlo Petrini’s (SF founder) visit to Scotland in February (see earlier blog post) and is being driven for the meantime, during the initial stages, by Charlotte Maberly of QMU Gastronomy (her description of SFYNS below).

SFYN Scotland – what it is?

SFYN is an international network of young people who care about Good, Clean, Fair food for all. It is based in the Slow Food philosophy, supported by that international movement, but is its own entity. SFYN is a dynamic and flexible platform for speaking out about food issues which can include young people from all backgrounds and professions who care about food. In Scotland, it will be a positive voice of Scotland’s youth that is able to respond to local issues, but which is connected to a wider international network. More about SFYN international

What are we going to do?

SFYN Scotland’s online presence will connect young people across Scotland and internationally, to raise awareness, cultivate dialogue and create action around food issues.

SFYN often uses public, inclusive and visually engaging events to speak out on food issues. These include Eat-InsDisco Soups (click link to learn about culinary disobedience :), Film Festivals, public lectures, educational workshopsDrink-Ins, art exhibitions & installations, food growing projects … and anything else that can be imagined! 
 SFYN Scotland
Here are some things I learnt at the meeting:
  • There are many branches of the SFYN across the world – the group in the Netherlands is a particularly strong, active example.
  • SFYN – offers a single platform/voice for good, clean, fair food – crucially it is a platform for many voices – meaning it has a greater presence and power.
  • 97.3% of food in the UK is bought in supermarkets.
  • SF – focus on cultural diversity, biodiversity and indigenous food diversity through projects such as Ark of Taste and Terra Madre.
  • SF ethos is to celebrate and enhance the good, rather than focus on the bad – all about inspiring positive change.
  • SFYN – also a platform for campaigning effectively – a mechanism to teach others and affect change in local areas.
  • SFYN – there are no rules and no big infrastructure – it is very flexible and can do a huge range of things and respond to local issues – all from a perspective of positive change. It is organic and not reliant on funding.
  • SFYN Scotland aims to close the rural-urban gap in Scotland.
  • SFYN UK is holding a major event in Bristol on May 4th – an ‘Eat-In’ – for more see here.

Slow Food in Scotland links:

SFYN Scotland – facebook & twitter

Slow Food Scotland – formation at UK AGM & twitter

Slow Food Edinburgh website & twitter

Watch this space (or twitter) for the official launch event of SFYN Scotland!