Church starts a movement to end foodbanks
Third Force News, by Paul Cardwell
Church of Scotland suggests food co-ops and allotments could help stop rise of food poverty.
The Church of Scotland is attempting to tackle the rise of foodbanks by creating a new food movement.
Over 200 people from community food growing experts, activists, food bank volunteers attended The Growing a Food Justice Movement in Scotland conference held in Glasgow on Saturday.
Organised by the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, Faith in Community Scotland and the Centre for Human Ecology, speakers shared their experiences and discussed ways to stop foodbanks from becoming the norm.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Rachel Gray, executive director of The Stop Community Food Centre in Canada.
She shared the experience of over 35 years of foodbanks in Canada and how her organisation has evolved the foodbank format to help people increase their dignity, health and challenge inequality.
We know that foodbanks don’t work at addressing poverty. We hope very much that Scotland will take a firm stand on this issue.
She said: "We know that foodbanks don’t work at addressing poverty. We hope very much that Scotland will take a firm stand on this issue. That it will look at the consequences of not investing in food security and see the devastation that poverty will cause to the health of the nation."
Ideas put forward as part of the Beyond Foodbanks movement included creating local food hubs, community shops, food co-operatives and community gardens and allotments in order to increase food security.
Political activism to make sure the right to food is being met was also called for as was examining alternative food production systems.
Speaking afterwards Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church and Society Council, said: "This has been an incredible day. It is the beginning of a movement.
“It was not about coming together and just talking about foodbanks. It was about finding ways for sustainable food justice in Scotland.
“We have brought a lot of people here who are on the ground day in day out.
“They have expertise on how we can move this crisis response forward and achieve fair access to food for all. Change has begun."
Details of a follow up event – Beyond Foodbanks 2 – to “further root the movement and focus on the details necessary for success” will be announced shortly.