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Revealed: the broken state of Scotland's food system

This news post is about 2 years old

The current system is driving the growing rates of diet-related disease and contributing significantly to climate change

The Scottish Food Coalition – an alliance of 45 civil society organisations – has launched a report interrogating the broken state of Scotland’s food system, and offering ways to fix it.

Evidence reviewed by the coalition shows that Scotland’s food system – the way we grow, distribute, consume and waste food – causes a staggering amount of negative consequences for our health, natural environment, and wider society.

The current system is driving the growing rates of diet-related disease, contributing significantly to climate change, and is the leading cause of biodiversity loss. It also does not deliver on food security – in Scotland nearly 10% of people worry about putting food on the table.  

Professor Mary Brennan, chair of the Scottish Food Coalition, said “Our food system is broken and our people, animals, planet, communities and economy are suffering as a result. We must – and can – do better when it comes to food. To make progress, we urgently need robust legislation that brings together, and harnesses, our collective knowledge, power, resources and passion.”

The report makes over 50 recommendations for national and local policies that, if implemented, could improve the environmental, health and economic outcomes of the food system.

Key among them is the good food nation bill, currently going through the Scottish Parliament. The bill currently proposes placing duties on the national government and local councils to produce food plans, but campaigners argue this doesn't go far enough.

Andrew Stark, land use policy officer at RSPB Scotland, said: “In its current form the good food nation bill is unlikely to deliver real change. We need this legislation to establish an independent food commission and to set ambitious and measurable targets. We also want to make sure the Bill protects the right to food - for us today and for the future generations. Our food security relies on ensuring we farm and fish in ways which are sustainable”.

Amendments to the good food nation bill will be considered by the parliamentary committee on Wednesday, 11 May. The report comes just two weeks after nearly 100 campaigners gathered outside Holyrood to show their support for substantial reform of Scotland’s food system.

Read the report here.