The Food Commission, which met for the first time in Edinburgh this week announced that it wants to establish a network of local good food champions to encourage the sourcing and selling of locally produced, in-season food in their areas.The Commission also discussed the next steps to take in helping Scotland become a Good Food Nation and improving the country’s attitude to eating fresh and healthy produce.
Mr Lochhead said:
“I’m delighted to welcome the members of the Scottish Food Commission to the inaugural meeting. It’s great to have the commission up and running and I am confident that the conversations had here today will pave the way towards Scotland becoming a Good Food Nation.
“I have made it clear to the commission today that my vision is for Scotland to become a nation where it is second nature to serve, sell and eat fresh, healthy and sustainable food – by 2025 I want people from every walk of life to take pride and pleasure in the food served day by day in Scotland, and there is no better time to begin that journey than now in the Year of Food and Drink.
“The Commission Members are vitally important in helping to make this happen as they will identify the changes that need to be made and champion their actions along the way.
“Our local network will be vitally important to the cause – it is essential to get people out there championing locally sourced products in their area and show people that you don’t need to go far to find exceptional quality produce; it’s right there on their doorstep.
“Scotland is fast becoming one of the world’s leading food and drink nations. We have come a long way in terms of reputation and success in a few short years but with the help of the Food Commission we can do even better. It’s my belief that an increase in Scottish food exports will attract more overseas visitors and the quality of the food we serve will become one of the key reasons to travel to Scotland.
“I want the food industry to become a thriving, well-known feature of local and national economies, with each part of Scotland rightly proud of its culinary heritage, past and present.”
Food Commission Chair Shirley Spear said:
“It’s fantastic to meet all my fellow commission members and get together with them to discuss what the next steps are. There is an incredibly important job to be done here and I am going to take a huge amount of responsibility and personal pride in this journey we are setting out on.
“Over the next few years the work of the commission will not be confined to those of us who sit around the table, but also involve close relationships with a wide number of food champions hard at work within their own communities. This is a new and collaborative approach that is exciting and significant for the sector.
Members of the commission have been asked to participate as individuals rather than as either representatives of their parent organisations or associated with a particular position. This approach is to ensure that individual members are free to have open and frank discussion without being constrained by their organisation’s own policies and positions.
The commission will provide advice to Scottish Ministers on measures which, taken together, will contribute the most to making Scotland a Good Food Nation. It will address the existing, and potential future, challenges facing Scotland’s food culture, and it will also advocate the importance of good food to Scotland’s health and wellbeing, environment and quality of life.
The group will establish a local network to champion good food issues locally and will work in close partnership with key stakeholders.