Food Sovereignty

There is much talk of food sovereignty, shortages, poverty, power and progress…or the lack of it. Which direction will it take? Well that depends on who you listen to! There are so many mixed messages out there.

Climate & COP26

Scientists are at odds with each other over carbon emissions and climate forecasts. There are activists who avoid planes then take a private yacht; consume ultra-processed plastic-wrapped sustenance and condemn grass-reared beef! Some think re-wilding and wolves are the answer and demonise ALL farmers whilst others create high-tech lab-meat at great expense. I say look for who is paying the piper then read with a clearer insight.

Bosse is giving an online talk on 9th Nov at 7:30pm entitled Our Climate: Past, Present, Future where he presents some of the lesser-known facts behind climate change: misconceptions and urban myths in relation to food production. His presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Free to book on UK Terra Madre Fringe. [No payment or sponsorship!]

If readers would like to plant a tree for COP26 and haven’t got the space or would just enjoy the collaboration, you can Adopt a Tree in the Ark of Taste Orchard at Errichel – do get in touch with me for more details. This is another voluntary Slow Food initiative with no commission or agenda save that of giving something back to our planet and supporting the SF pillar of biodiversity with heritage species.

And that’s before we deal with waste and plastics – something we can address right now. I’m delighted to see Giovanna at Eusebi, joined by The Gannet and a merry band of Glasgow restaurants, is tackling this pre COP26, leading the way to ‘Plate Up For Glasgow’ encouraging hospitality venues to embrace sustainability and help reduce waste. Bravissimo!

Celebrate the good in us!

None of you need me to tell you the relationship with food and climate is a complex matter, filled with nuances and detail. In most cases, even those I strongly disagree with have some element of truth within… the trouble is the trend for soundbites and one-size-fits-all headlines when so many of us are doing our bit… and getting bashed for it!

Delicious Westray Wife Cheese Soufflé served at The Lynnfield, Kirkwall

So, Scottish Food Guide Members, rearing, growing and/or cooking local produce sustainably, I applaud you. If you are one of the many supporters who read this, digest it and cook at home/support our chefs, I thank you. There are so many positive actions out there yet we hear so many negatives it can wear us down.

Having said that, we must acknowledge we are by no means perfect across Scotland! Avoiding palm oil, highly processed foods, animals requiring high inputs of grain, fish-feed or energy, along with unnecessary food imports, can be a challenge, particularly for those where options are limited and budget tight. There are also many who just don’t ‘get it.’ In order to be a ‘world class’ destination we must face these demons head on. I urge you, at any level great or small, to engage with your community, if you can, to shout out for local food in schools, food education and a Good Food Nation for all.

Slow Food Scania road trip culminates with a terrific lunch at Gårdskocken, Skåne

Food Tourism:

We have just returned from a wee visit to family in Sweden and, when there, we also joined a day’s fantastic food travel: simple, honest, exemplary…and excellent value for money. Organised by our friend Annette, Leader of Slow Food Scania, there is a blog link here Autumn Slow Food Travel in Sweden. We have the same raw materials in Scotland: brilliant cheesemakers, pasture-fed small-scale farming, fine charcuterie, naturally grown vegetables and fresh-caught seafood, baking skills and distilling too! We have it all and I for one shall continue to take some lessons from our Nordic neighbours in how best to market our natural wealth.

Native Shetland Sheep PDO at Uradale

Logos & Legislation:

Elsewhere in the Brexit maelstrom, as of 31st January 2021 The UK adopted, in law, its own Protected Designation Origin (PDO) brand protection scheme. Put simply, the regulations of the EU PDO scheme were photocopied and edited to change every reference to the EU with a reference to the UK. These regulations apply in the UK only. It remains unclear if UK products are still protected in the EU and vice versa. The transition period to change from using the EU red and yellow logo to the UK black and gold logo is two years. This affects some Scottish Food Guide Members who watch this with interest. We meet many Europeans who are missing certain Scottish products and would welcome their export again so I hope this can be addressed too. I thank Richard Briggs and his Native Shetland Sheep for this important update.

Latest News:

Scottish Food Guide is brimming with updates, seasonal offers and we warmly welcome new Members to our on-line family: Elchies, Company Bakery, Hendersons, Achray Farm, Mara at Links House, The Courtroom, East Neuk Seaweed, The Gannet, Wild Hearth Bakery, Potterland Smokery and Macduffs.

Back at SFG HQ there will be one more course running pre-Christmas on a Yuletide theme with Slow Food Ark of Taste re-commencing in February 2022. Look out for a March date soon to be announced for our Cheese Champion Day – an annual full-day learning experience & celebration of cheese in collaboration with award-winning cheesemaker Kathy Biss. Note your interest and you will be contacted as soon as we have a date. Anyone wondering about the grain grown at Ardross, there will be an update when it is all threshed/milled/seed-saved so watch this space – we haven’t forgotten!

In the meantime stay safe and wishing you every success in your business and pastimes. Keep in touch, warm wishes, Wendy

Cheese Champion Day, March 2022 – please note your interest

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