Allotments: duty to prepare a food growing strategy - guidance for local authorities

Statutory guidance for local authorities to assist them in their duty to prepare a food growing strategy, as set out in part 9, section 119 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.


1. Commitment to Grow Your Own

1.1 The Scottish Government's aspiration is for the country to become a Good Food Nation; a land of food and drink, not only in what we produce but also in what we buy, serve and eat.

1.2 Food is one of the most important components of life and it is a key part of what makes the people of Scotland proud of their country – food which is tasty to eat and nutritious, fresh and environmentally sustainable.

1.3 We embrace community food-growing in all its forms, one of which is growing on allotments. Grow-your-own food ("GYO"), be it on an allotment, community garden or elsewhere, can increase our access to affordable, healthy and environmentally sound food; the very essence of being a Good Food Nation.

1.4 The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 ("the Act") aims to help empower communities across Scotland and for those wanting to GYO, it will improve access to land for food growing purposes.

1.5 By supporting all forms of community food-growing, improving access to land for food-growing purposes and giving more people the opportunity to grow their own food, we will help to improve food security.

2. Legislative background for a food-growing strategy

2.1 Section 119 of the Act places a duty on every local authority to prepare a food-growing strategy which must be published by 1st April 2020, that is within two years of section 119 coming into force. Details of the requirements placed on local authorities are set out in Section 1.

2.2 Local authorities should have regard to the wider-ranging guidance in the remainder of this document when developing their food-growing strategies.

3. Purpose of the food-growing strategy guidance

3.1 This guidance, issued under section 137 of the Act, includes specific guidance about the carrying out of the function of a local authority to prepare a food-growing strategy under section 119 of the Act. More generally, it explains how we expect local authorities to deliver on our vision for grow-your-own in Scotland, setting out the statutory requirements and also policy advice on how to develop strong food-growing strategies. It brings increased focus to the new functions of local authorities under Part 9 of the Act, specifically the identification of land for food-growing within our communities, and sets out how we expect local authorities to achieve this. It is intended to assist local authorities with the new duties and help them to create their own strategies.

3.2 Many people in Scotland would like to grow their own food. Two of the biggest factors stopping people from growing their own food are access to land, and lacking the skills and knowledge to begin growing their own food. In the 2017 Greenspace Use and Attitudes Survey by greenspace scotland[1], 44% of people surveyed said that they had no garden in which to grow their own and a further 14% said they were unable to get an allotment or that the waiting list was too long. 32% of people said that they lacked the knowledge or skills to grow their own vegetables or fruit.

3.3 Central to the theme of this food-growing strategy guidance is ensuring that more opportunities are developed for those who would like to grow their own food. Local authorities and other delivery partners are essential in both delivering access to land for food growing, and in signposting people to sources of guidance to help them begin to grow their own. We want to avoid people being given access to food-growing space but not having the knowledge to properly use the land to begin to grow their own food.

4. Acknowledgements

4.1 We are grateful to the Tripartite Group, greenspace scotland and local authority colleagues who have helped to shape this guidance through their comments and feedback.

5. Document Structure

This document is set out as follows:

Section 1

Provides an overview of the legislative background to this food-growing strategy guidance. It also sets out the goals of the food-growing strategy in the context of the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework.

Section 2

Sets out guidance on what is in scope for local authority food-growing strategies, how we see the strategies being developed and matters local authorities should consider when preparing their strategies.

Section 3

Sets out a proposed template for local authorities to adopt when developing their local food-growing strategy.


Email: Pamela Blyth

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