Has the industrialisation of the agricultural sector helped to alleviate global food poverty and encouraged more efficient use of land? Has large-scale production weakened the public’s link with farming and affected our appreciation of food that is tasty, seasonal and locally produced?
These and other questions will be tackled by specialists in areas including farming, agriculture, land use, food processing and gastronomy at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 9 September.
The Rural Affairs and Environment Committee is holding a round-table discussion to look at food policy and the issues surrounding it – from Scotland’s role in the global food security crisis to what makes good and bad environmental food practice.
The discussion will feed into a future inquiry into Scottish food policy.
Committee Convener Roseanna Cunningham said: ”Scotland has a rich food heritage – from internationally renowned seafood and game to locally produced fruit, vegetables and dairy products.
"But in a climate of increasing food prices and demands on stocks, what are the challenges facing Scotland and what food policies should we be promoting to meet them?
"Are we promoting Scotland’s food as much as we can? How can we improve accessibility to local produce? And can anything be done about food inflation? These are the sort of questions we will be tackling in what will undoubtedly be an informative round-table discussion with a high-calibre panel of experts.”
Stakeholders providing evidence to the Committee include:
- One of Britain’s finest chefs Andrew Fairlie, Head Chef at Gleneagles Hotel;
- Alan Renwick of the Scottish Agricultural College;
- Dr Karen Smyth, Rural Development Manager for the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association;
- Dr Peter Bowbrick, Food Policy Economist;
- Hugh Raven, Director of the Soil Association Scotland ;
- Jim McLaren of the National Farmers Union Scotland ;
- Adam Harrison of WWF Scotland ;
- Professor Bill Slee of the Macaulay Institute;
- Judith Robertson, Head of Oxfam Scotland;
- Sally Crystal, Chair of the Scottish Association of Farmers’ Markets
The Rural Affairs and Environment Committee agreed at a meeting on 25 June 2008 to hold a round-table discussion on food policy in Scotland as part of a forward-looking work programme. The discussion will help identify priorities for a future committee inquiry into Scottish food policy.