• 20/04/11
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By Mike Small

Kicking off our weekly digest of news from the local food movement (here in Scotland across the world) we report from the Netherlands, New York and Scotia. The idea of this series is to connect up our local action in Fife with similar projects across the country and the globe. We are looking for stories of community growing, urban agriculture,sustainable food innovation, and plain old good food stories (shsh …barely disguised plugs for your project or event are also allowed).

If you have stories you want us to feature (however big or small) drop us a line at fifediet@yahoo.co.uk

Scotttish Food Fans Labelling

SNP Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, Richard Lochhead has set out plans to grow sales of Scottish food by encouraging Scottish outlets to sell local food with a new ‘Scottish Food Fans’ grading system.Over the last four years, the Scottish Government has introduced a series of measures to promote Scottish food and drink, contributing to a 30% increase in sales of Scottish brands across Scotland, England and Wales. And further growth will bring important economic benefits, including higher exports, and see the creation of more jobs in all parts of Scotland.

A statement announced: “With our Scottish Food Fans grading system we will encourage all Scottish outlets to stock local and seasonal produce. We will also support efforts to establish a national chain of community–based food networks that link up local suppliers with catering outlets, cafes, hotels and retailers. By promoting the valuable food sector, we are investing in the long term future of our nation – creating valuable jobs and ensuring the supply of high quality, healthy Scottish food.”

Mr Lochhead made the announcement at Ondine, one of Scotland’s best seafood restaurants, which has a big emphasis on seasonality and sustainability and was accredited by the Marine Stewardship Council shortly after opening for his seafood buying policy.

3 Million Strong

Did you know there is 3 million individual allotment gardens across Europe? I wonder what the figure is for allotment demand across the continent? Research on the health impact of allotment holding has been scant and patchy. And in this world you have to ‘prove’ something even if it’s self evident. Now it’s hardly a shock that it turns out ‘allotments are good for you’ but a new study by Wageningen University in the Netherlands shows that growing your own food is particularly good for the over 62s:  “Allotment gardens and other types of community gardens are increasingly recognized for their potential to promote health and well-being in urban communities. Among other things, allotment sites have been claimed to provide urban residents with opportunities to unwind from stress, interact with other members of their community, and engage in physical activity . Based on these findings, the authors suggest that allotment gardens “have the potential to make a significant contribution to the healthy aging agenda”. Read the full report here.

Zero Carbon Veggies

Back home – its great to hear about the amazing Albion Scullery in Stirling. It’s the city’s first eatery to serve dishes using ‘zero carbon’ vegetables; grown locally using organic and permaculture methods, and transported by bicycle. More here.

A Vision to Create a Sustainable Food System for New York

The number of times the Fife Diet has been told “this is a great idea but it could only work in Fife”. Or, “The is is a great idea but it would never work in a city”. So it’s exciting and inspiring to hear of bold radical plans in one of the worlds largest cities, New York.‘Foodworks’ a ‘ground-to-garbage’ is so exciting precisely because it is an attempt at whole system change. If you’re a city leader in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee – this is essential reading:

City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today unveiled an 86 page, comprehensive plan that sets a bold vision for a more sustainable food system. The plan, ‘FoodWorks’, provides a blueprint for addressing issues at every phase of the food system, from agricultural production through post-consumption. The proposals focus on combating hunger and obesity to preserving regional farming and local food manufacturing to decreasing waste and energy usage.

The New York City food system faces a number of critical challenges that must be addressed as we anticipate adding 1 million more New Yorkers in the next two decades:

• 25% of New York City’s children are obese
• 3 million people lack adequate access to grocery stores
• 1.4 million New Yorkers struggle to put food on the table
• 30% of low-income students take advantage of free breakfast

“By addressing the system as a whole, we can begin to make connections throughout the phases of the food system—production, distribution, processing, consumption and post-consumption.” said Speaker Quinn. “These connections will create effective partnerships across sectors, and lead to more powerful, far reaching changes.”

Speaking at The Food and Finance High School in Clinton, Speaker Quinn outlined 59 policy proposals spanning five phases of the food system. The proposals included new legislation, funding initiatives and far-reaching goals that present a long-term vision for a better food system.

Read the full report and watch the video here.