Fresh thinking is turning us into a Sustainable Food City – George Gordon

Everyone in Edinburgh should have access to good quality, healthy produce, says George Gordon

Monday, 8th July 2019, 6:00 am
Good quality, fresh food should be within everyone's grasp
Good quality, fresh food should be within everyone's grasp

Bustling, vibrant market gardens in all four corners of the Capital are helping fuel and nourish our population – especially our children and older people – with perfectly fresh, locally grown seasonal produce.

Meanwhile, Garden Share opportunities are forging new links between generations of residents as older and disabled citizens accept offers of help to tend their plots from willing volunteers while they wait to be given their own allotment, reducing social isolation and improving mental and physical health for each Garden Share partner.

Outdoor education and sustainability are a core part of the curriculum not just in primary but secondary schools, while surplus fresh food from our supermarkets is shared out by community ventures to those in most need.

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Councillor George Gordon is Sustainability Champion and Chair of Edible Edinburgh

New allotment sites are springing up all over the city and residents and businesses have helped Edinburgh become one of most Sustainable Food Cities in the country.

OK – so some of these things may not be fully in place quite yet, but all of this is very much within reach, if we pull together as a community to make this happen.

Just a few weeks ago we became only the second Scottish city to be awarded a Sustainable Food Cities Bronze Award, in recognition of the progress we’ve already made in working towards a properly joined-up, holistic approach to food.

We’re delighted to be a Veg City, while all Edinburgh schools, four care homes and a day centre have achieved the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here Bronze and Silver award accreditations and two schools and one care home have achieved Silver accreditation.

Food security is one of the key challenges of our age, particularly given the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit and what a no-deal scenario might actually mean for all of us.

The Scottish Government has set a 2020 target to turn us into a Good Food Nation and here in Edinburgh we are playing a leading and pivotal role in shaping the way forward.

As Chair of Edible Edinburgh, I am passionate about making sure everyone in Edinburgh has access to good quality, healthy food.

Edible Edinburgh is a forward-looking partnership of major organisations in the city, including the council and NHS Lothian to the University of Edinburgh, Soil Association, Transition Edinburgh and Edinburgh Community Food’s.

Through our work in developing a Sustainable Food Strategy for Edinburgh we have uncovered a huge appetite for this among community groups and activists all over the city.

We’re working to bring a model of sustainability into our local food supply chain, which will go some way to tackling food insecurity and food poverty.

The Edinburgh Poverty Commission is addressing food insecurity, food poverty and poor health as key objectives, and projects like our Holiday Hunger programme and Little Leithers are already making a real difference to low-income families.

Achieving a sustainable food supply “at low carbon cost” dovetails with our ambitious climate change targets of a carbon neutral Edinburgh by 2030.

The environment benefits from better ways of growing, shopping for and eating food – it’s better for wildlife and better for the planet.

Meanwhile our Sustainable Edinburgh 2020 framework recognises diet as a health priority and the need for a community-based approach.

Being a Sustainable Food City is about so much more than simply food production; it contributes to both mental and physical wellbeing, bringing people into contact with each other and tackling social isolation.

Sign our pledge today and help us make Edinburgh’s food even better!

Councillor George Gordon is Sustainability Champion and Chair of Edible Edinburgh