Growing a food justice movement in Scotland

Food justice: image courtesy of the Trussell Trust

Food justice and how to prevent people going hungry in Scotland will be discussed at a conference organised by the Church of Scotland and partner agencies on Saturday 28 February at the Pearce Institute, Govan Road, Glasgow.

The number of individuals and families relying on food banks and other forms of emergency food aid has increased, the impact of welfare reform is being strongly felt by those affected and food prices have risen with the most impact on the poorest in society.

The conference organised by the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, Faith in Community Scotland and the Centre for Human Ecology, seeks to explore food poverty and to create a movement eliminating it.

Rachel Gray, from the STOP movement in Canada, will speak about how Canadians have worked on alternatives, to resist food banks being accepted as a normal part of civilised society.

Key areas to be discussed include:

Food banks are an important response to the crisis, and volunteers working in them are making an outstanding contribution to their communities. How did the need for food banks increase so dramatically and how can we avoid normalising emergency food aid as voluntary safety net?

Communities and individuals who are at risk of food poverty are well-placed to lead their own responses to it and are experts in their own experience. Could community-led responses be a key part of increasing food security:initiatives such as local food hubs, community shops, food co-operatives and community gardens and allotments?

How can we move from meeting immediate needs to campaigning to change the systems that create these needs, towards food justice, in which the human right to food and health is combined with sustainable food production, education and employment? Are there good examples of how to achieve this?

Our food system is not sustainable, with unhealthy food widely advertised and consumed leading to costly public health problems. How can we make the transition to an ecologically and socially just food system?