BITC Scotland highlights importance of Scotland becoming a Good Food Nation at Holyrood event

BITC Scotland is celebrating the importance of food, education and school in Scotland’s Year of Young People with a Parliamentary Reception ahead of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Good Food Nation Bill.

The event forms part of the Food for Thought Programme, a partnership between Education Scotland, Scottish Government and BITC Scotland.

The programme was established in 2013 and supports schools with their food education plans which has significant wider impacts on their learning outcomes. Since being created, almost a thousand schools have benefited from this partnership.

Scotland’s young people will be given the opportunity to have their voices heard at the event which aims to highlight the contribution food and drink makes to the economy. It will also showcase how businesses have been supporting schools and demonstrating support towards a healthier nation.

The Scottish Government is expected to launch a consultation on a Good Food Nation Bill later this year as part of its Good Food Nation policy of 2014, which outlines the aim of moving towards a healthier and more sustainable food system.

The event will take place on the evening of 14 March 2018 and will be hosted by Richard Lochhead MSP. Speakers include Scotland’s First National Chef and UK Winner of MasterChef Professional 2016, Gary Maclean.

Commenting, Gary Maclean said: “As an advocate for good food I can’t stress enough the importance of instilling a healthy interest in what we eat and where it comes from among young people. Scotland’s food and drinks industry is huge yet as a nation our eating and drinking habits are far from exemplary. “The Food for Thought programme is a fantastic initiative celebrating Scotland’s wonderful produce and I’m proud to be part of this and its role in driving forward positive change.”

Event sponsor, Richard Lochhead MSP added: "Food and drink is of huge economic importance to Scotland but this continued success is dependent on ambition from our food, drink and hospitality industries to tackle the challenges of health, sustainability and economic prosperity.

"There is some great work happening within our communities, with a growing network of producers, farm shops and farmers' markets creating successful outcomes. The Food for Thought programme is a natural extension of this and an important factor in supporting our drive to become a Good Food Nation.”

Business in the Community Scotland’s Director Alan Thornburrow said: “I’m delighted Business in the Community Scotland is playing such a key role in delivering the Food for Thought programme which recognises the continuing vital contribution of the food and drink industry to Scotland’s economy and the impact that working together to a common purpose can have. Helping deliver the aspiration of becoming a good food nation is something we are very proud of.”

The Holyrood event will include demonstrations of the food activities that the programme has undertaken in schools and canapés designed especially by Edinburgh College students using local and seasonal produce.