Dear First Minister
We are writing to ask you to bring forward the Good Food Nation bill before the end of this Parliament.
We recognise the strengths of the food and farming sector in Scotland, and the huge contribution it makes to the rural economy and to Scotland’s reputation. Scotland’s universities and research institutes are globally recognised for their expertise in food and farming science.
Our food system is also key to tackling the joint climate and biodiversity emergencies and meeting net zero emissions by 2045.
However, there are deep-rooted problems in our food system. Scotland is the most obese nation in the EU, and we have made little progress on this issue in the last 20 years. Inequality in childhood obesity has increased. Food insecurity is unacceptably high, and food bank attendances continue to grow.
Our food and farming system accounts for around a third of our greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on all aspects of our environment, both here and in the countries from which we import food and feed. Many jobs in the food sector are insecure and poorly paid. While animal welfare can be excellent in the extensive grazing-based systems for which Scotland is renowned, some intensive farming systems both in Scotland and in countries from which we import our food are simply not designed or able to provide the positive animal welfare which reflects our national values and our beliefs about animal sentience. Though there has been progress by retailers, far too much food is wasted in the supply chain and in the home.
These multiple challenges reflect different aspects of a single system which - like our energy and transport systems – needs transformative change to be fit for purpose. Scotland needs a food system which nourishes all our citizens while restoring our environment and being part of the solution to the climate emergency.
The Scottish Government has taken a proactive approach to food policy since 2007. The Good Food Nation vision is inspiring, and there has been notable progress in some areas. However, a step change in ambition is now needed, and we believe that this change must be underpinned by crosscutting framework legislation. Based on the right to food as defined in international law, this legislation creates the structures and reporting mechanisms necessary to achieve a coherent food policy.
Enshrining the right to food in Scots law supports the Government’s commitment to strengthening human rights in Scotland. It also brings together issues of dignified access, land use, health and sustainability, with strong connections to the Sustainable Development Goals and the National Performance Framework.
We believe the Good Food Nation bill is necessary to tackle our food system challenges; will be effective in underpinning long-term policy ambition; and will be well-received by the public as well as by many food and farming stakeholders.
We ask you to bring forward the Good Food Nation bill within this Parliament.
Professor Mary Brennan
Chair of Scottish Food Coalition
On behalf of the following signatories:
- Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food
- Brian Wynne, Professor II, Norwegian University of the Life Sciences, Aas - Norway
- Professor Kjetil Rommetveit, University of Bergen – Norway
- Oliver Moore, Agricultural and Rural Convention – ARC2020 – France
- Dr Fern Wickson, Genok Centre for Biosafety – Norway
- Benedikt Haerlin, Coordinator, Save our Seeds - Germany
- Aoife Behan, Director of Food and Drink Policy, Soil Association Scotland
- Jackie Brock, Chief Executive, Children in Scotland
- Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of Church of Scotland’s Church & Society Council
- Francis Stuart, Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC)
- Juliet Harris, Director, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
- Naomi McAuliffe, Programme Director – Scotland, Amnesty International
- Mhairi Snowden, Coordinator, Human Rights Consortium Scotland
- Professor Gregor Gail, Director, Jimmy Reid Foundation
- Elaine Downie, Coordinator, The Poverty Truth Community
- Lyndsay Clark, Senior Health Promotion Officer, NHS Fife
- Mary Wright, Health Improvement Practitioner, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
- Philip Revell, Scottish Communities Climate Action Network
- Dr Brian Garvey, Department of Work, Employment & Organisation, University of Strathclyde
- Gill Perkins, CEO, Bumblebee Conservation Trust
- Suzanne Burgess, Scotland Manager, Buglife
- Jo Pike, CEO, Scottish Wildlife Trust
- Dr Elspeth Stirling, Secretary, Scottish Badgers
- Biddy Kelly, Managing Director, Fresh Start
- Richard Boddington & Ruth Glasgow, Directors, The Hub G63
- Stuart Forbes, Mayfield & Easthouses Development Trust
- Tim Cowen, Manager, Woodlands Community Development Trust
- Betsy King, Development Manager, Learning for Sustainable Scotland
- Dawn McManus, Community Engagement Officer, Thenue Housing Association
- Mairi McCallum, Project Manager, Moray Food Plus
- Karen Dorrat, Food Project Manager, EATS Rosyth
- Tom Kirby, Development Manager, Granton Community Gardeners
- Abi Mordin, Director, Glasgow Community Food Network
- Shaben Begum, Director, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
- Federico Lubran, Slow Food Glasgow
- Vicky Manning, Springburn Allotments
- Melanie Hall, St Pauls Youth Forum
- Food Researchers in Edinburgh, Research Cluster, University of Edinburgh
- Anne McCall, Director, RSPB Scotland
- Pete Ritchie, Director, Nourish Scotland
- Professor Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the
- Dr Sheila George, Food & Environment Policy Manager, WWF Scotland
- Laura Ferguson, Area Manager for Scotland, Trussell Trust
- Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead, Obesity Action Scotland
- Evie Murray, CEO, Leith Community Crops in Pots
- Mary Sweetland, Chairman of Trustees, Eco-Congregations
- Robin McAlpine, Director, Common Weal
- Liz Murray, Head of Campaigns & Policy, Global Justice Now
- Jackson Cullinane, Political Officer, Unite Scotland
- Fiona Montgomery, Information Development Officer, UNISON Scotland
- Dr Magdalen Lambkin, Interfaith Food Justice Network
- Phil Taylor, Head of Policy & Operations, Open Seas
- Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming
- Bob Elliot, Director, OneKind
- David Somervell, Convener, Transition Edinburgh
- Amanda Law, Cyrenians Scotland
- Nigel Lack, Eat Well Age Well
- Lou Evans, Social Farms & Gardens
- Judy Wilkinson, Glasgow Allotments Forum
- Sarah Moyes, Plastic Free Scotland
- Professor Bill Davies CBE, University of Lancaster
- Dr Tomaso Ferrando, University of Bristol Law School
- Kath Dalmeny, CEO, Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming
- Deidre Woods, Coordinator of Granville Community Kitchen, Member of the London Food
- Professor Ian Scoones, Co-Director of ESRC STEPS Centre, University of Sussex
- Dr Jasber Singh, Centre for Agroecology, Water are Resilience, Coventry University
- Jamie Burton, Chair, Just Fair
- David Gee, Visiting Fellow, Brunel University London
- Sabine Goodwin, Coordinator, Independent Food Aid Network
- Sonul Badiani-Hamment, World Animal Protection
Right to Food
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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.