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Food for thought to strive for greener future

By Chris Saunderson

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In the first of her regular columns, SNP MSP for the Banff and Buchan Coast Karen Adam looks at some of the environmental issues facing Scotland:

MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast Karen Adam.
MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast Karen Adam.

Every little helps, the saying goes. Like many in our ‘new normal’, I have wanted to adjust, listen and learn as to how we can do more to help our environment locally and globally, to better help local businesses, farmers and retailers by shopping local, eating greener and from local produce.

We have opportunities to do things differently, more sustainably and better in a post pandemic world, and last week saw Scotland’s Climate Week 2021, marking six weeks to go until the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the world’s biggest international summit ever, on climate change.

Shopping local and eating greener is certainly a mantra I’m trying to adopt and I know it can be a challenge, but it’s worth it.

Many people now shop from supplies of local, fresh boxes of locally sourced produce more than ever before and feel better for it! If you’re eager to shop sustainably you can also try local farm shops, zero-waste shops and refillery shops with fresh local produce and loads of zero-waste everyday products. Just taking some old jars or bottles and filling them up with a range of products from pasta and grains to shampoo and detergent is great too.

Eating seasonal produce and thinking before I buy, developing our food and drink sector which has internationally renowned providence is the way forward.

I see that the Aberdeenshire Community Partnership has come on board in building upon the experiences of the pandemic and adding a priority to local action that incorporates healthy eating and active living.

Affordability is crucial, of course. I am pleased that the Scottish Government will introduce a Good Food Nation Bill, providing a clear, legislative framework which places responsibilities to publish and adhere to statements of policy on food, and require those statements to set out the main outcomes to be achieved in relation to food related issues, the policies needed to do this and the indicators or other measures required to assess progress.

In support of this work we are also reinstating the Ministerial Working Group on Food to provide better co-ordination and support for local food production.

Indeed, in our first 100 days the Scottish Government has produced a draft Local Food Strategy – aimed at ‘grow your own’ initiatives, connecting Scottish producers with buyers, and harnessing public sector procurement.

All part of work later this year on a single marketing brand for all Scottish produce – Sustainably Scottish – which would be available to all Scottish based producers, manufacturers and suppliers who can satisfy stringent criteria on provenance and low carbon operations.

So there’s a lot going on about health, food and the way we can do things in a sustainable context.

Through the wider Food and Drink Sector Recovery Plan, we will take action to offer more Scottish produce and fresh, healthy products, closer to where people live, good for us to eat and good for the planet.

I am keen to play my part in transforming this key sector for the area, to allow more fresh Scottish produce, with a healthier focus, to be sold – with a specific focus on disadvantaged areas.

Every little does help, but my goodness, what a worthwhile thing to do for us now and all those bairns to come. Let’s build them a better, healthier world to inherit.

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