The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) is extremely disappointed about the Scottish government’s Good Food Nation Plan which happens to be neither a plan, nor about food, let alone good food.

In the consultation that recently closed, we have expressed our discontent with the lack of ambition, the absence of local food systems including abattoirs, and the ignorance in relation to prime Scottish produce such as beef and lamb.

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SCF is saddened to see how little is coming out of something that has been heralded as a game-changer in food security for Scotland. Instead of strengthening food security and resilience and the production of healthy and nutritious local food for local people, the plan is mainly a patronising prompt that people should just know better what they eat.

While there is nothing wrong with the outcomes detailed in the plan, the targets, and indicators listed to achieve these outcomes are reflective of a lack of ambition at best and arbitrary at worst.

SCF chair Jonathan Hedges said: “We strongly urge more emphasis on local food from short supply chains. We believe that this has the potential to delivery higher quality food, rather than long supply chain, mass produced, generic food.

“This is essential for delivering many aspects of the good food nation outcomes. Local food also supports the economic and social wellbeing of rural areas and can reduce the environmental impacts of our food system.”

The plan gives scant attention to the important role red meat plays in a balanced diet, given that it is the main foodstuff that can be produced in large parts of the country.

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Johnathan Hedges commented: “While lamb and beef production are often attacked from the rewilding and health perspectives, they are an important source of protein that can be produced sustainably in ways contributing to positive environmental outcomes. Red meat definitely does have its place in a Good Food Nation and this should be explicitly acknowledged.”

Further, the plan makes little mention of the infrastructure required to become a ‘good food nation’: In order to meet any targets for local food supply chains, essential facilities such as abattoirs must be supported, which should be reflected upon in the plan.

And to strengthen the resilience of our food system as well as our rural communities, the plan must incorporate a commitment to land reform and the creation of new crofts, granting more people access to land for local food production.

For the above reasons, SCF suggests this document is sent back to the drawing board to enable a real plan focusing on strengthening Scottish producers and short supply chains.

As it stands, the plan is blatantly insufficient to honour the present efforts of Scottish producers to feed the country, let alone to achieve the wider transformation required.