For many people, Christmas and food are inextricably linked. However, for some of the nearly 1 in 10 people who experience food insecurity each year in Scotland, Christmas can be another day without a proper meal.
Figures from the Trussell Trust show that last year, December was the busiest month for food bank use with over 180,000 food parcels provided to those in need. More than 40% of these were provided for children, and it is expected to be higher this year. Some estimates have also determined that there are over 28,000 children in Scotland at risk of going hungry over the Christmas holidays; without free school meals over the festive break some parents will
struggle to afford decent, nutritious and adequate
food for their children.
Charity initiatives - some of which are backed by the Scottish Government - have sought to combat this insecurity by providing free meals and physical activity to children over the Christmas break, but the fact that ‘holiday hunger’ exists at all highlights the failures of the food system in Scotland.
The Good Food Nation Bill will hope to address these problems and more, helping Scotland transition to a food system which is fair, healthy, and socially and environmentally just.
In a Good Food Nation, children will not go hungry when they do not have access to free school meals. Families, children and those in work will not have to rely on food banks. Parents will not have to skip meals so they can afford to feed their children.
With the Good Food Nation Bill, we have a significant opportunity to make real change to not just to poverty and food insecurity, but the environment, public health, workers’ rights and more.
This is the food system that the Scottish Food Coalition wants to achieve and it is the food system that Scotland deserves.
If this is the Scotland that you want to see, you can get involved in a number of ways.
Firstly, sign up to the newsletter here to stay up to date with events, workshops and the progress of the Bill.
Secondly, follow the Good Food Nation Campaign on Twitter and Facebook to help spread the word about the campaign.
Finally, if you want to ensure the Bill is as ambitious as your vision for Scotland, you can join your voice with ours and become a Good Food Nation ambassador. We need a diverse mix of volunteers, no matter your experience, background or industry – the fight for a Good Food Nation starts with all of us.
By Dan Yaxley, Good Food Nation Ambassador (@danyaxley)