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The politics of our food system

Each year the UN Food and Agriculture Organization celebrates World Food Day on the 16th October to commemorate the founding of the Organization in 1945. Events are organised in over 150 countries across the world to help promote awareness and action for those suffering from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.

In Edinburgh, a panel discussion on the politics of our food system was held at The University of Edinburgh’s Business School. The event was hosted by Nourish Scotland in partnership with the FRiED network and UN House. With rising food insecurity, increasing diet-related illness and the need for more sustainable food, it is becoming clear that we need to rethink how our food is produced and what we consume.

The panel included Bella Crowe, Policy Officer at Nourish Scotland, who provided a summary of the current food system and its impacts on health and society. Bella also highlighted a recent report on sustainable food systems by an International Panel of Experts that is definitely worth a read.

Discussions included the need for community empowerment and to have an environment that makes it easy for us all to eat well. It didn’t take long for the panel to mention the forthcoming Scottish Obesity Strategy and the Good Food Nation bill. Both of these are due to be out for public consultation by the end of 2017.

It seems clear that bold legislation is needed to improve the current food system and health of the nation. With this, a culture of openness and transparency is essential within government departments and between the government and the community. To help facilitate this, Nourish has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help bring more voices into the conversation. The money raised will help bring community groups together to discuss their views and what they want. In fact, there is some great advice on the Nourish Scotland website on what you can do now, to ensure the Scottish Government is aware of the importance of the food system and to ensure your views are heard.

The general view from the event seemed to be that we have a solid evidence-base, we have plenty land, we have the resources and the knowledge, so now we just need to get on and make changes.

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