We have received several enquiries originating from constituents, asking when the Good Food Nation consultation will begin.
The Good Food Nation policy was first proposed in 2014.
The Scottish Government website notes that policy was created to outline the Government’s vision for ‘Scottish food and drink, encompassing health, environmental sustainability, social justice, knowledge and prosperity’.
Following the policy proposal, a public consultation on ‘becoming a good food nation’ was held between June and October 2014. The Scottish Government published documents providing an analysis of responses to the consultation, and a summary of findings from the consultation.
The Food Commission was established in 2015. The role of the group, as outlined on the Scottish Government website is to ‘develop a work programme based on achieving the priorities set out in the Becoming a Good Food Nation discussion document and the consultation analysis report that followed. In 2015 it selected indicators for realising the Good Food Nation vision. In February 2016 it published an interim report indicating the progress made on these indicators so far.’
The remit of the group, membership and minutes of meetings are all available online.
Programme for Scotland
The Scottish Government have regularly confirmed their commitment to Scotland becoming a Good Food Nation.
In the Government’s Programme for Scotland 2014-15, the publication noted
‘The next phase of Scotland’s national food and drink policy articulates an aspiration to become a Good Food Nation […] We will work with partners in the new food Commission to deliver our aspiration that Scotland should become a Good Food Nation, a Land of Food and Drink, not only in what we as a nation produce but also in what we buy, serve and eat’.
And in the Government’s Programme for Scotland 2016-17, in reference to becoming a Good Food Nation, the Government announced their intention to
‘begin work in 2017 on a consultation on a Good Food Nation Bill to provide the potential for a statutory framework to join up the Government’s approach on food, consider what steps can be taken to improve the effectiveness of the food and drink supply chain, working in partnership with all relevant players’.
The following year, in their Programme for Scotland 2017-18, the Government reaffirmed their intention to consult on proposals for the Good Food Nation Bill. The publication also included the following commitment:
‘Community growing is a key aspect of becoming a Good Food Nation, contributing to our health and environment, and we will take steps between now and 2020 to increase the area available for this across Scotland’.
On 25 January 2018, there was an oral question taken in the chamber on the Good Food Nation which provided further details on the proposed consultation.
Gail Ross (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made towards Scotland becoming a good food nation. (S5O-01695)
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity (Fergus Ewing): Our plans for Scotland to become a good food nation are continuing. The Scottish Food Commission recently submitted its recommendations for the proposed good food nation bill, and they are currently being considered across the Scottish Government with a view to a consultation being held this year. The consultation will inform the content of a good food nation bill that will be introduced during this parliamentary session.
Gail Ross: I stated recently in the chamber that that piece of legislation has the potential to be one of the most exciting and important bills that the Parliament will pass in this session. Given the number of sectors that the bill will cover and the amount of interest that there is likely to be in it, how long will the consultation process last, when will it commence and how will we make sure that everyone—not just stakeholders and industry experts—gets a chance to respond?
Fergus Ewing: The consultation will be launched later this year and will be open for 12 weeks. We are investigating ways to inform the public about it. The legislation will be slightly different from the norm, and I aim to get the maximum involvement, as Gail Ross has rightly suggested. We fully recognise the importance of involving as many people as possible in the promotion of Scotland as a good food nation.
In April 2018, the Government confirmed that they are planning to consult in the first half of this year – all Government consultations are published on their consultation hub.