Isle of Bute Sustainable Food Island?

Sustainability is one of the buzz words that everyone is using, but what does it really mean?  When it comes to food there are a particular set of topics which have been developed by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to help bring focus.  These six ‘key issues’ are used to structure an approach to create Sustainable Food Cities, and right across the UK there are many towns and cities which have taken up the challenge.

  1. Promoting healthy and sustainable food to the public
  2. Tackling food poverty, diet-related ill health and access to affordable healthy food
  3. Building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects
  4. Promoting a vibrant and diverse sustainable food economy
  5. Transforming catering and food procurement
  6. Reducing waste and the ecological footprint of the food system

The food and drink sector on Bute has had its challenges over many years, particularly the hard pressed agricultural sector and we have joined the many communities that host a food bank.  However, there are also reasons for celebration with Bute Island Foods going from strength to strength; Bute Brew and Green Fry offering a unique combination of hospitality; wide range of food outlets around the island offering choice and quality; and of course our market garden, working to permaculture principle, and developing as a horticultural training centre is approaching it’s 10th anniversary next year.

Is it time we tackled these ‘key issues’ on Bute?  Fyne Futures is a member organisation of Bute Island Alliance, and within that context are part of the Food & Drink Forum.  The forum is open for anyone with an interest in developing our food and drink sector into a vibrant and growing contributor to Bute’s economy.  During discussions, there is broad agreement that developing a food plan should be a key part of future planning.  At this point, there has been limited dialogue on what the plan should include:

  • What role should Argyll & Bute Council have?
  • What policies or processes need to change so that every organisation that procures food can make changes which support local producers?
  • Do we have enough access to land for bigger community growing projects?
  • What does Curriculum for Excellence include to teach children cooking and make healthy meal choices?
  • What skills development opportunities are there to ensure people have the right knowledge and skills to take up jobs in primary production, manufacturing and hospitality sectors?
  • What practical projects should be prioritised?
  • What are the causes of food poverty in our community?  And how do we overcome them?
  • How can we celebrate the goods already happening and fresh achievements as they occur?

Lots of questions – perhaps you can help answer them!


Author: reeni

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