Reduce inequalities in access to good food

Inequality in our society is amplified across the food system.

 

What needs to be done:

To reduce inequalities in access to good food, the Scottish Government could:

  • Incorporate the Right to Food, as articulated in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which the UK is a signatory, into Scottish Law.
  • Create the infrastructure to make the right to food a reality. Provide resources for community-led approaches that move away from the food bank model towards a more empowering, sustainable and healthy system for emergency food relief.
  • In addition to investing in systems to provide emergency food relief, we should be investing in increasing the capacity and reach of our community food organisation and networks, to ensure that we invest in community learning and knowledge about cooking, food waste, budgeting and healthy eating. Some of this work, especially when networked with other agencies, has the capacity to deliver effective interventions before the need to access emergency food aid arises. For example this could see the creation of the national challenge fund for food hubs to work at a regional or local level, to connect and add value to the community food sector that goes on, by ensuring greater coverage of services, delivering synergies in area wide work, and piloting innovative solutions.
  • Monitor the real level of food insecurity and develop policy solutions based on the findings.
  • Build on its status as a Fair Trade Nation, and as a signatory to the UN Sustainable Development goals, to develop a ‘do no harm’ ethical food policy, which ensures that the food we import has been produced in ways that are socially and environmentally just, while guaranteeing this for the food that we export.
  • Support new entrants in farming, especially those who want to produce healthy food for their local community; ensuring that everybody in Scotland can access land, training and development. Land reform is crucial here.
  • Invest in regional food economies connecting urban populations with rural producers – including community land ownership and community-connected agriculture, as well as the urban food sector.

Why the contribution is important

The issues:

  • Rising levels of household food insecurity in Scotland.

Food bank usage has increased dramatically over the past years while the prevalence of chronic food poverty is not even reflected in those numbers. Refugee families have been identified as being at greater risk of food poverty, along with people with disabilities, and low-income families (particularly single-parent women with young children).

  • Reliance on charitable approaches to food insecurity.

So far the response to the growing prevalence of food poverty in Scotland has largely been to rely on the charitable provision of food aid. This approach, which depends on donations and food that would otherwise be wasted, not only has serious implications for the health of the recipients, but is also a transgression on principles of human dignity. The food is often insufficient and lacking in nutritional content, and people are denied autonomy over what they eat. The stigma associated with using a food bank means many of those most in need are reluctant to rely on this degrading system.

  • Unequal access to land

There are a few individuals and families owning most of the land in Scotland. The inaccessibility of land has proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for many in Scotland with ambitions to farm. The Scottish Government must continue to push forward with reforms to land ownership and succession law. We join the calls of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee for a genuinely radical reform that can deliver transformative change.

  • Global inequalities.

Globally, most of the 795 million people who don’t get enough to eat are, in fact, farmers. Producing food for the international commodity market – e.g. to feed people in Scotland – rather than focusing on self-sufficiency and local markets is a big part of the problem.

 

Please find Nourish Scotland's full response to the Fairer Scotland consultation here: http://www.nourishscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Final.Fairer-Scotland-National-Conversation-Nourish-Scotland-Contribution.pdf

 

 

by NourishScotland on January 27, 2016 at 10:32AM

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