for Sunday Herald, 07 September 2014
The power of the multinational food industry should be broken by a radical transformation of how Scotland produces and consumes food after independence, according to a new report.
Amongst 23 proposals to begin fundamentally changing Scottish food policy, are vegetables on prescription, tax breaks on vegetarian meals and rent-free shops for local greengrocers. There are also measures to encourage people to grow their own food, to support small farmers and to cut food waste.
The report for the Common Weal movement comes as food companies launch Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight this weekend to celebrate their economic successes. It has been written by a leading food expert, Pete Ritchie, the director of the sustainable food campaign, Nourish Scotland.
The report argues that the industry’s emphasis on boosting food production for export needs to be replaced by “sustainable nutrition”. The aim is for people to take ownership of the food system so that more food can be grown and eaten locally.
This is the best way to reduce dependence on food banks, improve poor diet and cut climate pollution, the report says. It compares the task of transforming the food market now to the creation of the National Health Service in the 1940s.