Local food focus
A debate on sustainable, local food presented the newly appointed Environment Minister with an opportunity to deliver his first ministerial speech in Parliament.
Speaking after the debate on the ‘Fife Diet Food Manifesto’ – an initiative promoting the benefits of local food production, collaboration and sourcing – Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:
"I was delighted that my first speech in Parliament as a Scottish Government Minister focused on Scotland’s outstanding food and drink. It is also fitting that this debate took place during the annual Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight.
"As a nation, we are world-renowned for producing delicious produce and the momentum that is building in communities around the country to promote and celebrate local food production is something we want to see increase.
"Therefore I welcome Fife Diet’s contribution to the debate on how we can make this happen. Their proposals offer much food for thought and there are many areas in which we are in agreement.
"For example, the Scottish Government is backing the rise in interest in the community ‘grow your own’ movement, which is an important way for Scots to get in touch with their food roots. And in May we announced a £600,000 package of support.
"We are also committed to ensuring every Scottish pupil benefits from food education by 2016 and earlier this year committed an additional £2 million for school projects that promote active learning and food, from plough to plate.
"There are strong links between food production and the impact of climate change and we want local communities to be part of the solution. That’s why our Climate Challenge Fund provides communities with more than £10 million support each year, including 273 food-related projects since 2008 across every area of Scotland."
Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is an annual celebration of Scottish food and the benefits of fresh and seasonal produce.
The Grow Your Own Group was established by the Scottish Government in 2009 to support the growth of the sector.
The Scottish Government has also supported the creation of www.growyourownscotland.info, an advice site developed by the Federation of City Farms and Gardens.
In March 2012 the Scottish Government announced an additional £2 million for food education initiatives for young people.
The Climate Challenge Fund supports local community action to cut carbon emissions.