Farmers Weekly’s food miles campaign debated by Scottish politicians

Members of the Scottish Parliament last night threw their weight behind the Farmers Weekly Local Food is Miles Better campaign.

The debate, raised by John Scott MSP, a farmer and president of the Scottish Association of Farmers Markets, drew a large attendance during Scottish Food Fortnight.

“When one considers that food miles pump approximately 20 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere annually in the United Kingdom, accounting for 1.8 per cent of the total UK carbon dioxide emissions, one can really see the benefits of buying local food, and the more local it is, the better,” said Mr Scott.

He also pointed out that food tourism is worth more than £900 million to Scotland’s tourist industry.

Thirty-eight members supported the motion including Maureen Watt MSP who laid a motion in early summer calling on her colleagues to support the campaign.

Nora Radcliffe MSP congratulated Farmers Weekly on a campaign which is “resonating with the public.”

Andrew Arbuckle MSP said with the loss of many food processors and packers in Scotland too many major food chains were transporting produce hundreds miles to central packaging and distribution points.

Among the Hollyrood speakers was Scottish rural development  minister, Ross Finnie who said the rise of “localism” – farmers markets and local markets – has proved the folly of assuming what is superficially cheaper is better.

Mr Finnie said supermarkets need to consider transparency and their dominant position in society, adding the buy local debate had highlighted the renaissance of the connection between the consumer and the primary producer.

The government is, he said, spending an increasing amount of time considering transparency and relationships in the food chain.

“We can place great importance on individual citizens understanding what it means to have better, not cheaper food, where that food can be sourced locally and about the seasonality of local produce,” he said.

Read the full debate on the Farmers Weekly Local Food is Miles Better campaign

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