What does GROW bring to a Good Food Nation?

In its programme for Government in 2017, the Scottish Government announced that it would bring forward a consultation in 2017 on a Good Food Nation bill for Scotland. The government’s ambition is to build a statutory framework to join up the government’s approach to food and to consider steps to improve the effectiveness of the food and drink supply in Scotland.

What does a Good Food Nation mean?

According to Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, it means:

We want to enhance the national food policy with the vision of Scotland becoming a good food nation, where people from every walk of life take pride, pleasure and benefit from the food that they buy, serve and eat day by day (29 June 2016).

It should mean more than this however. A Good Food Nation should be able to provide easy access to all its people to healthy and sustaining food. That food should be produced sustainably. A Good Food Nation is also a nation where people grow their own food as individuals and communities and where people can access locally grown food easily and regularly.

The sustainable production of food and access to healthy and sustaining food is key to the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (1). Scotland was one of the first countries (2) to sign up to in 2015. Scotland is justifiably proud of its natural environment and its burgeoning Food and Drink sector. Yet at the same time, it is still widely seen, and labelled, as the unhealthy nation of Europe. Developing a coherent approach to food will be key for the Scottish Government.

UN Sustainable Development Goals — ®United Nations

The new GROW Observatory is at the forefront of two approaches that will be invaluable to progress here:

  1. Enabling more people right across Scotland and Europe to grow their own food sustainably
  2. Building healthier soils so that sustainable food production and a healthy environment is a given for future generations
Soil City is a long term project initiated by Open Jar Collective, to reimagine the Glasgow as if soil matters. soilcity.org.uk

From our launch, we’ll be working with partners in communities from across Europe to learn together about food growing and soil management. We’ll also be working with them to gather data on sustainable growing techniques, on soil management approaches, on growing the best crops for local conditions and on soil parameters that will be used to validate and strengthen climate change models. These actions will together enable people from across Europe to grow more food sustainably, to build healthier soils and to adapt to climate change.

GROW will be playing its part in improving the coherence of food and development policy in Europe, in supporting and enabling local communities to grow their own food thereby reducing food miles, providing physical activity and building social cohesion through growing.

We’ll also be contributing to strengthening scientific models on climate change and soil health and making the links between evidence gathered by local communities, stronger production models and required policy responses. All of this, taken together, will help governments across Europe meet the UN Sustainable Development goals.

For more on GROW go to http://growobservatory.org/