Scottish Food Coalition: 'We can produce food in a more sustainable way in Scotland'

Written by Gemma Fraser on 20 February 2019 in Inside Politics

The Scottish Food Coalition has come together with the aim of transforming our food system in Scotland

A selection of Scottish food - Image credit: Holyrood

Made up of 23 partners working in environmental conservation, food production, poverty, health and trade unions, the Scottish Food Coalition has come together to work collectively for food justice.

It wants to transform our food system in Scotland so that it contributes to everyone’s health and wellbeing, values the work to put food on our plate, supports high animal welfare, and sustains our wildlife, natural resources and environment for generations to come.

Sheila George, food and environment policy manager at WWF Scotland, explains: “In the last year in particular, we’ve really been increasing our understanding globally of the environmental impact of food production.

“We’ve had big reports, like the independent panel on climate change, talking about the role of food production in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Food production and consumption globally are having a huge impact on the environment.

“They’re one of the big drivers of habitat loss and wildlife declines. But we do have issues in Scotland too.

“Agriculture influences three-quarters of the land and it’s responsible for just over a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland.

“It also contributes to pollution of the water through nitrogen and phosphorus, pesticide use can impact invertebrates and then you’ve got wildlife habitat loss through, for example, removal of hedgerows and drainage of land, overgrazing, having too many stock on the land, that impacts soil quality and nesting habitats for ground-nesting birds.”

George adds: “The environmental impact of the food system right through from production to consumption are quite widespread and quite cross cutting, so the solutions have to be cross cutting as well.

“We do really believe that we can produce food in a more sustainable way in Scotland.

“We do produce it less intensively than elsewhere.

“We could really have a huge reputation in Scotland to produce good food that’s good for the environment and a good food nation bill can help us get there.”

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