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Scottish views on a Good Food Nation: Findings from the Kitchen Table Talks

This lunchtime, I was outside the Scottish Parliament to meet and chat to many others who want to #BringOnTheBill. The main reason for this event was to highlight the launch of the report on the findings from the recent Kitchen Table Talks and to ensure a wide and inclusive consultation on the Good Food Nation that ideally the Government would begin before the Summer Recess.

Kitchen Table Talks

Between February and April 2018, over 800 people discussed the future of Scotland’s food system in Kitchen Table Talks. People hosted discussions with friends, colleagues, neighbours in various locations from the Shetland Islands to the Scottish borders. I organised a get together with group of fellow Registered Nutritionists at the top of Leith Walk in Edinburgh one evening in March. It was great to discuss our views on what a Good Food Nation should look like, our concerns about the food system and our suggested actions that Government should take.

Kitchen Table Talks: The findings

The Kitchen Table Talks Report, published today provides a summary of the findings.

The top 5 concerns about the food system in Scotland were:

  1. Affordability of a healthy diet

  2. Environmental impact of our food

  3. Disconnect from the origin and value of food

  4. Food waste

  5. Plastics and packaging

Many suggestions were provided on the actions that the Scottish Government could take to transform the food system. Among the actions most mentioned is for the Government to help facilitate local food economies. This could be regulation, subsidies and investment in infrastructure to help local food economies, where small business can thrive and everyone can access food produced in their local area.

Investment in education and skills training for all ages was another strong suggestion. Investment in more resources to provide free skills training opportunities for children and adults, including growing and cooking food, and to provide clear and accessible information about the food system including on nutrition, social justice and sustainability issues.

Other top suggested actions that the Government should take is to make all food production sustainable, improve access to good food and to support community food initiatives.

The Good Food Nation Bill

This is no ordinary Bill. This legislation will impact everyone, and therefore the people in Scotland must be at the centre of developing this new framework for our food system. Greater participation during a consultation process can help make food policy more transparent, responsive, accountable and effective. The public consultation process for this Bill needs to maximise participation and ensure everyone’s expertise, lived experience and priorities are heard. I’m looking forward to more conversations and bold leadership from the Scottish Government.

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