winter veg on allotments in Kelty
The Scottish Government has launched a discussion document “Becoming a Good Food Nation” to encourage success through Scotland’s food and drink policy.
I spoke in the debate in the Scottish Parliament on the Scottish Governments food and drink strategy for Scotland and used the speech to highlight the issues around food waste and food poverty. Food and drink in Scotland is an important part of the economy employing almost 400,000 people in what is a £13 billion industry and as such must be supported. There is also major health and social implications if we continue to enjoy our love affair with unhealthy packaged and fast foods so it is right that there is a national strategy and I have published the detail of this on my web site.
A statistic that jumped out at me is that in the UK the industry wastes 3.9 million tonnes of food each year before it even gets near the shopping basket. Then to add to this if we focus on Scotland, Scottish households throw away 630,000 tonnes of food and drink every year, most of which could have been eaten or drunk. Sitting alongside this we have 71,000 people, including almost 23,000 children that have been provided with food from a food bank this past year and the Scottish welfare fund has given out £980,000 of grants for food. I think it begs the question how on earth can we see so much waste and yet have people going hungry at home and in many parts of the world and should there not be a social responsibility on the retail sector to reduce their waste and think carefully of the results of the way they package deals such as two for one that leads to even more waste.
Allotments was another area I focussed on speaking about my own experience from growing my own as it were and highlighted the many benefits not least of which is good safe healthy food saving a lot of money. I want to see more support and encouragement for people to take up allotments.
There is also some really good local food projects that support people with learning how to cook and use good healthy products.
The strategy document can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk