8. Setting out on the Journey
This section describes some of the preparations which will be made from the outset.
EVERYONE ON BOARD
Becoming a Good Food Nation will not just happen. It needs focus, drive and, perseverance; especially because habits around food are deep-seated within our culture.
Above all, everyone needs to be involved.
We shall shortly be appointing a Scottish Food Commission. Its remit will be to advocate for the importance of food to Scotland’s health, environment, economy and quality of life, and to identify and champion those measures which taken together, will contribute the most to making Scotland a Good Food Nation. It will advise on broad spending priorities, for example on food grants or the Strategic Research Programme. It will involve 15 or so members chosen to achieve a public/private mix, covering, amongst others, the economy, health, environment, and education.
This project will stand or fall on the extent to which it builds on the energy of the existing food movement. The Commission will, therefore, have a role of maintaining and deploying a network of local food champions, charged with ensuring that our journey towards becoming a Good Food Nation is fuelled by all that’s good about Scotland’s food and drink movement the length and breadth of the country.
Food impacts on almost every aspect of our daily lives. It is, therefore, of interest to not only every individual but to many organisations, public or otherwise. It will be important to ensure, wherever possible, that there is alignment between the activities of these bodies. The Scottish Government is taking steps to ensure its own house is in order and will work closely with other public bodies, including local government and the NHS to ensure effective coordination.
We shall pay particular attention to ensuring productive linkages between the new Commission and Scotland Food and Drink which will continue to lead on driving sustainable economic growth in the sector.
ENSURING WE’RE ROAD-WORTHY
It is crucial that attempts to improve Scotland’s food culture have as their starting point continued focus on food safety and standards. Whilst there has been real improvement in recent years, there is no room for complacency. We shall take the opportunity of the creation of Food Standards Scotland to ensure that we continue to operate world class food safety and surveillance systems, effectively tailored to Scottish circumstances.
CLARITY ON WHERE WE’RE GOING
For every journey you need to be clear about where you are going.
In the previous section we posed a vision. An early task for the Commission will be to agree high-level indicators – or milestones – to show us how we are doing. There will need to be enough of these to reflect the range of issues we are concerned with, for example; diet, the environment, and communities, alongside the two high profile existing targets on turnover and exports – but not so many that we lose focus and attention. They will need to be challenging whilst recognising that this journey will take time. The commission will be able to draw on the considerable groundwork done for the Recipe for Success.
CONSENSUS ON HOW TO GET THERE
This is not the first attempt to improve Scotland’s relationship with its food. Previous efforts have made progress but have, on occasion, arguably stumbled because of the approach adopted. No single approach will guarantee making serious progress on a deep seated issue. We shall therefore adopt a range of approaches. In particular, we believe we stand a better chance of success if we:
- Put as much energy into celebrating all that’s good and exciting about food and drink as we do into education; and
- Seek to counter the perception that caring about food should only be for those who can afford to do so. Healthy, sustainable and delicious food should be accessible to everyone.
Please email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 17 October 2014.
5.Are there any other essential steps we need to take before setting out on this journey?
6.How do you think a Food Commission could best help?
7.In what areas should indicators be set to check we are on track towards achieving our goals?
8.What are your views on the different approaches that could be taken to help us become a Good Food Nation?
Telephone: 0300 244 9802
Food, Drink and Rural Communities