SHOULD SCOTLAND vote to break away from the United Kingdom in 2014 it would take a well-stocked national larder with it. There are few countries that boast the same diversity of natural food and drink as Scotland so it’s little surprise that Scottish produce accounts for a significant proportion of Scotland’s public- sector food and drink.
At a recent Compass in Scotland breakfast briefing, the Scottish rural affairs secretary, Richard Lochhead, reported that almost half of all food and drink served up by the country’s public-sector organisations is now Scottish-produced. Bread, meat and dairy products scored particularly strongly in the local stakes and although fruit, vegetables and ambient foods scored less well, Lochhead lauded the results as a Scottish “success story” and urged others involved in sourcing public-sector food to begin by looking close to home.
Lochhead talked of the business benefit of sourcing locally, both by driving up standards of food and supporting local producers. He said: “The food we consume and produce helps to define our nation, impacting on our health and our environment.”
There’s no doubt that local sourcing has become an ever more important piece of the sustainability jigsaw in recent years, as awareness grows of the environmental benefits of reducing food miles and the social benefits of keeping money within the local economy and bringing consumers closer to their food.
But local sourcing is not without its challenges. Find out why progress towards procuring more food at a national or regional level has been ponderous in both public and private sectors in January's Footprint, out on January 18th.