Supporting a thriving food and farming sector and tackling food poverty

Scottish Greens today (1 April) underlined their commitment to supporting a thriving food and farming sector and tackling poor nutrition and food poverty, with a proposal for a new Food, Farming and Health Act in the next session of parliament.

The Act would enshrine a right to food and encourage simpler supply chains to improve connections between consumers and producers.

The Greens' legislation would tackle the unfair control big supermarkets have over Scottish farmers, who this week warned that the poor prices they are paid will leave them struggling to pay workers the living wage. The Act would ensure progress on food poverty is monitored and reported annually to Parliament, and set targets to reduce the climate change impacts of food production to ensure lasting industries.

The Scottish Greens, who are polling strongly on the regional vote for May's election, suggesting Green MSPs will be returned from across all 8 electoral regions, also pledged to support the promotion of community food hubs, bringing farmers and consumers together to shorten food chains. Greens want to see support for new farmers with an expansion of mentoring schemes to provide training to new entrants.

Mark Ruskell, Food and Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Mid Scotland and Fife, said:

"Just this week the President of the NFU in Scotland voiced serious concerns at how dysfunctional our food supply chains have become. Successive Labour and SNP-led governments have failed to take the bold action required to bring the big supermarkets to heel. These massive firms squeeze our food producers and it's time to restore some balance.

"Scottish Greens see the connection between a healthy, well-nourished population and a thriving, resilient economy. While others are happy to let market forces steer our country's food policy, Greens believe it's time for a bolder Holyrood that properly addresses the scandal of food poverty in food-rich Scotland. By connecting consumers to more good quality produce everyone can benefit."

Farmgate prices will not cover living wage (The Herald)

Farming chief appeals for support to fix ‘dysfunctional’ supply chain (The Times)