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Charities get behind landmark legislation to revolutionise Scotland's food system

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Good food nation bill would tackle the country’s many, inter-connected problems with food

Campaigners will gather at the Scottish Parliament to show their support for reform of Scotland’s food system.

The Scottish Food Coalition wants to see the creation of landmark legislation to tackle the country’s many, inter-connected problems with food.

This would have been aimed at tackling Scotland’s connected food challenges, setting out measures to attack child poverty, obesity and the environmental impact of food production and waste.

The Scottish Parliament is currently considering the good food nation (Scotland) bill, which campaigners hope will shine a light on a neglected policy area, and help to create a food system which is fairer, healthier and more sustainable.

There is much more to food than just growing and eating. The food system is a jigsaw of different pieces which fit together to make up the whole picture.

Individual pieces of the food system include the planting, growing and gathering of food; farming and fishing; land and sea management; production, distribution and consumption.

It also includes things like rules and regulations, incentives, training and workers’ rights.

The cost, availability and waste of food are also part of this system.

Activists believe that by making positive change in every part of the food system, Scotland can make significant improvements to our collective mental and physical health, plus tackle poverty and climate change.

They will gather at Holyrood on Tuesday, 26 April to show their support for reform.

The Scottish Food Coalition a diverse alliance of civil society organisations working to achieve food justice in Scotland.

Professor Mary Brennan, chair of the Scottish Food Coalition, said: “It has never been a more important time to talk about food policy and Scotland’s food system. The Covid-19 pandemic reminded us all how heavily we rely on our food system, how precariousness access to food is for many households and the importance of building increased resilience and agility within our food system. People saw the dangers when our food supply chain was threatened.

“We know the wider issues facing our food system: food poverty, insecure employment, diet-related illness, animal welfare, climate change and biodiversity loss caused by the way we produce food. These issues existed long before Covid but the pandemic has shone a light on how vulnerable we really are without a resilient food system. The good food nation bill is a key opportunity to take these multiple crises with bold cross cutting policy and legislative action."

Stephanie Mander from Nourish Scotland said: "We know so many people in Scotland care about the food system: from how we farm and fish; workers' rights and the rising costs of living; to the food we serve in our schools and hospitals. The good food nation bill is our opportunity to connect all these pieces together, and to say clearly that the purpose of the food system is to nourish people and look after the planet."

Andrew Stark from RSPB Scotland added: “Our food system is one of the leading causes of nature loss and climate change, both here in Scotland and across the globe. Intensive agricultural methods have led to declines in wildlife, as evidenced in the latest State of Nature report that shows one in nine species are at risk of extinction, while Scotland ranks 28th from the bottom in the Biodiversity Intactness Index.”