Food security is everybody’s business
The way we consume and produce food must change, and Scotland can show the way for the rest of the developed world.
Yesterday’s One Planet Food seminar in Edinburgh (21 January) called for a more critical look at the future options for food in Scotland, which builds on the National Food and Drink Policy, but goes further.
Speakers argued that the necessary change should be based on the concept of food sovereignty to secure access to safe, healthy and sustainable food for everyone.
The seminar urged the Scottish Government’s Food and Drink Leadership Forum to keep engaging the people of Scotland in conversation about our food in the future.
Pete Ritchie, One Planet Food, said: “The change we need is more radical than proposed in the policy. The assumption that we can eat what we want from where we want whenever we want it has got to stop. There are ethical, political, practical and climate change reasons why that cannot remain viable. Business as usual is not an option.
“One of the key shifts is from consumer to citizen. Part of the whole ‘consumerisation’ of people has been to make people think that they have nothing they can do except choose which thing to buy. Choosing to buy fair trade is an example of this shift.
“There is a possible future for food in Scotland, which is environmentally more sustainable, which is better for our health, and which doesn’t rip off people in other countries.”
Patrick Mulvany, chair of the UK Food Group and Senior Policy Advisor for Practical Action, said: “In the UK and North America we tend to believe that most food comes from supermarkets. Worldwide most food comes from within a 50-100 miles radius of where it’s consumed, and most of it is grown from local seeds by small scale food providers.
“Only 10-20% of all food is internationally traded. 6% if it’s rice, 10% if it’s bananas, perhaps up to 20% if it’s wheat or maize. Of the global population of 7.5 billion people, it is only the 1.2 billion in the rich world that are dependent on international trade, and have systems that make the consumer dependent on multinationals.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland supports the concept of food sovereignty. Duncan McLaren, Friends of the Earth Scotland Chief Executive, said: “We believe that the potential benefits of local food production are far greater than simply reducing the carbon costs of food transport. They strengthen the development of food sovereignty based on organic, GM-free production, and reduce corporate control of the food chain.”
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Notes to editors
Food Affordability, Access and Security: Their Implications for Scotland’s Food Policy – A Report by Work Stream 5 of the Scottish Government’s Food Forum www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/06/25143814/0
“Food sovereignty” is a term coined by members of Via Campesina in 1996 to refer to a policy framework claiming the right of peoples to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems, in contrast to having food largely subject to international market forces.
Friends of the Earth Scotland is the country’s leading independent environmental campaigning organisation, and is the only organisation in Scotland that is working for environmental justice, campaigning for the planet and its people. www.foe-scotland.org.uk
One Planet Food: Feeding Scotland Responsibly in a Changing World was organised by One Planet Food in partnership with Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Soil Association. One Planet Food is a project based at the Falkland Centre for Stewardship in Fife, and supported by Carnegie UK Trust and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.