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Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

Green MSP Encourages Schools To Source Food Locally

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

The opportunity for more fresh, locally grown food to be used in school meals is being highlighted by Eleanor Scott, Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, who will be visiting schools in Inverness, Thurso and Oban over the next few weeks as part of the Parliamentary outreach programme. (1)

Dr Scott, who used to be a school doctor before she was elected as an MSP, told Parliament last week that schools should be encouraged to procure half of their food locally.  This is one of the objectives of the Food for Life project, which works in schools to ensure school meals are 70% fresh produce, 50% locally grown and 30% organic.

Dr Scott said: “The Food for Life project, which is run by the Soil Association, has been piloted in a couple of schools so far.  So much demand exists that there is talk of taking on another co-ordinator to see the project through.  The demand and the producers who want to produce for the project really are out there and I would like to see this project rolling out to all schools throughout Scotland.

“The Slow Food congress and the recent Scottish Food Fortnight have demonstrated how much superb quality food we produce in the Highlands and Islands.  I have nothing against our quality products being exported to niche markets elsewhere but the local market must be the principal outlet.  I want our school children to get the benefit of growing up eating delicious locally-grown meat, seafood, dairy products and vegetables.

“By sourcing local ingredients schools can help to put children more in touch with the food that they consume and with their local environment where it is grown.  And there are many good reasons for shortening the food chain, such as local employment and the environmental benefits of reduced transport and food miles.

“I am visiting quite a few schools in the near future and I will be very keen to listen to what needs to be done to help them buy more food from local producers.”

Dr Scott will visit Inverness Academy on 18 November, Hilton Primary School on 25 November, Pennyland Primary School, Thurso, on 28 November and St Columba’s Primary, Oban on 4 December.

Notes:

(1) Green MSPs launched their Food Campaign last year.  It has four themes:

  • safe food (control pesticide use, campaign against GM and encourage organic farming);
  • fair food (to ensure farmers receive a fair price for their goods, and to help low income households source healthy food);
  • good food (promote access to fresh, high quality food, especially in schools and hospitals);
  • local food (to cut down on food miles and boost farmers’ markets and independent shops thereby preserving jobs in the area).

For more on the Greens’ Food Revolution campaign see [link obsolete at 2012].