As we approach our event on SDG2: Zero Hunger this Thursday the 5th of December at the University of Edinburgh, we have crafted a short article on food security in the UK.
Zero hunger is not just about providing food for everyone, but also about providing nutritious food for everyone to live a healthy life, while ensuring that the food industry is sustainable and improving the quality of life of the workers in the industry. Zero hunger is one of the key building blocks for a sustainable future; since a world with zero hunger can positively impact our economies, health, education, and equality, thus helping us to achieve other sustainable development goals.
If we focus on Scotland, we notice that foodbank usage in Scotland has hit a record high in 2019, and the number of emergency parcels handed out by foodbanks also increased in 2019. The press is also suggesting that some Scottish families are struggling to feed their children during school holidays. Moreover, nutritional diseases are on the rise, and in the food sector, workers are poorly paid with insecure jobs. All the above evidence shows that the challenges related to food security and the food industry need to be tackled in order to achieve the sustainable goal of zero hunger in Scotland.
Much research has been done, and suggestions were given by experts for policy change, and various campaigns were launched in response to the challenges above. However, in order to solve them, a collective effort is required from different sectors of society as well as from each individual member of society. I want to focus below on how an individual could make a difference.
We could support local farms through buying locally produced seasonal food. Purchasing healthy food does not have to be expensive; for example, even within Edinburgh University there is Hearty Squirrel Cooperative Edinburgh who sets up stalls regularly selling cheap, organic and local food.
We could visit a socially conscious café such as the Union of Genius or Social Bite Café for lunch, where we can purchase a meal or a cup of hot drinks for the homeless or anyone who cannot afford food in advance.
We could also try to reduce food waste in our own households. If we have more than what we need, we could always share them with our friends or even share them with the broader Edinburgh community by making a post on The Meadow Share. Meadow Share is a Facebook platform where you can share resources, tools, information, etc. From time to time, people will post about food that they want to give away and where they can be collected.
We could also donate to food banks; they usually have collection points in different supermarkets where we can donate our food. Further, if you are not sure what kind of food you can donate, you can always go to their website, and they usually have a list of items in order of urgency.
We could even start our own social enterprise or charity to tackle this challenge. There are a lot of support and resources out there to assist us, such as the Social Enterprise Academy, Edinburgh Social Enterprise, School for Social Entrepreneurs, and Edinburgh Innovation.
These suggestions above are by no means exhaustive, but what is important is that we recognise the importance of individual effort and action, and do something about the current challenges we are facing.