Read on to hear the latest from the SFC team and the implementation of the Good Food Nation Act…
Stages in our Good Food Nation journey
The past 3 years have been significant for the Scottish Food Coalition. Firstly, Covid-19 delayed the introduction of the Good Food Nation (GFN) Bill and led us to think of creative ways to keep food on MSPs’ agendas, such as our Food Stories project. In the Scottish Parliamentary elections that followed, we were successful in getting 3 of the 5 main political parties to commit to a Good Food Nation Bill in their manifestos. The GFN Bill was then introduced in October 2021, with many highlights throughout such as our win in getting a Scottish Food Commission and the Day of Action outside Parliament in May 2022, where supporters met their MSPs before the final vote. Our messaging was featured heavily in the final debate; this is testament to all of your work and reflected in the positive final outcomes in the Bill.
Since the passing of the Act, we’ve changed gears at the Scottish Food Coalition – shifting from proactive campaigning to a more reactive space. We’re eagerly waiting for the Scottish Government’s publication of the draft National Food Plan, which is anticipated in the next few months. We’re also frequently meeting with the civil servants leading on the work, helping them to puzzle out aspects of their work on the Plan. Central to this is the recognition that:
The Scottish Government will consult on the draft National Food Plan later over the summer – and, an important task for the Coalition will be to engage with the consultation and support voices from across Scotland to be represented in this work. There will be lots of opportunities for people interested in the food system – like you – to have your say about what the priorities of a food plan should be.
Local authorities and health boards will also be responsible for writing their own food plans; work is already underway in many local authority areas. As the Good Food Nation Act requires local authorities and health boards to have regard to the National Food Plan in the preparation of their own plans, it’s important to have a clear steer from the National Plan as early as possible. This will help to ensure that regional plans are complementary and use the same language – which will make it easier to track the progress in different areas and understand the plans in connection to each other.
Changes within the Coalition
From the SFC’s side, there is some news to share. Whilst the Coalition will continue to be led by our Chair Professor Mary Brennan, two members of the SFC staff are moving on – but not moving far! Andrew Stark will remain at the RSPB but will be taking a Senior Policy role on food and farming policy across the UK, and Stephanie Mander will be seconded over to work with the Scottish Government on the implementation of the Good Food Nation Act. Whilst Andrew and Steph won’t be involved in the day-to-day work of the Coalition, we’re really pleased to still be contributing towards a brighter future for food in Scotland and across the UK.
Both Steph and Andrew are very proud of what the Coalition has achieved and immeasurably grateful for your support along the journey! There will be a pause on our newsletter and comms whilst we reorganise the Coalition staffing. If you’re looking to stay up to date with what is going on with food policy in Scotland then please subscribe to Nourish Scotland’s (SFC partner) newsletter.
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Steph Mander and Andrew Stark