Like many others, I have been appalled by the regular reports of more and more people in our country needing to access foodbanks in order to get by. I know others who would rather go hungry than suffer the indignity of going to a foodbank and, they perceive, begging for food. I count it a privilege to know a few of them as friends. They are not people who are careless with money. They are people who do not have enough money in the first place.
It has been an immense privilege to chair the Independent Working Group on Food Poverty. It has been made up of an inspiring array of extraordinary people each, in their own way, doing their part to end the need for foodbanks in one of the richest countries in the world. This report is our shared work and it is not necessarily representative of the organisations that we come from. It is a testimony to the energy and commitment of the Group's members that they are willing, if asked, to continue to play a collective role in 'ending hunger together.'
Our report makes a number of recommendations relating to how the income of people living in food insecurity can be increased, the quality of food provision can be improved, while it is still required, and more transformative community food models can be established.
Running through our efforts are six core messages:
- The biggest problem is having enough money to feed yourself.
- Every response must be dignified.
- Involving people experiencing food insecurity is where we will find the solution.
- Everyone has the right to good quality and nutritious food.
- Food is about community and not just consumption.
- Emergency food aid is not a long term solution to hunger.
We look forward to discussing with Scottish Ministers how the proposals laid out in this report can be implemented. More importantly, we look forward to a time when together we will have ended hunger in Scotland.
Rev Dr Martin Johnstone
Email: Graeme MacLennan