Scotland Climate action and sustainable development, Communities and society, Finance

Put your money where your mouth is – investing in sustainable regional food systems through public procurement

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All eyes on public procurement

As we move towards the local government election, public procurement, how the public sector spends its money on goods and services is set to be one of the hot topics of discussion. Local government’s finances have never been more strained and yet the public is increasingly asking more of how that money is spent.

With the community wealth building agenda fast establishing itself as a popular economic paradigm and the Good Food Nation bill putting public food at the heart of its ambitions, public procurement of food has never been more topical in Scotland. It is increasingly recognised that the food we buy and how we buy it has the potential to shape our health and wellbeing; our communities and local economies; and our climate and biodiversity.

The power of the public purse

Across Scotland, stakeholders from the public sector and local communities are asking how we can utilise the spending power of the public purse to build back better and greener. Spending taxpayers’ hard-earned cash on large multi-national companies with no ties to local communities is increasingly politically taboo. However, price, infrastructure, procurement regulations, and supply all remain perceived obstacles to sourcing more food from local and sustainable sources and misconceptions about what can and can’t be achieved are all too common.

Sustainable Food Places and Food for Life Scotland, two charitable programmes working to improve the sustainability of public food, are hosting an event which will seek to address some of these issues and highlight opportunities for change.

Put your money where your mouth is

The ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Investing in Sustainable Regional Food Systems and Communities through Public Procurement’ event will take place virtually on the 16th March and bring together a range of diverse speakers to look holistically at public food procurement. The event will draw on examples of best practices and highlight aspects of public food procurement which are at times overlooked.

The event will feature speakers from the ASSIST FMScotland ExcelDynamic Purchasing UKEat Well Age WellNourish ScotlandRSPB Scotland, and the Soil Association. The event which is free to attend and open to all will be a non-political examination of an issue which is fundamental to the future of local government and communities. The discussion will be of interest to council officers, community members and those seeking election to Scotland’s councils in May 2022. Further information and registration can be found here.

If you would like to know more about how Food for Life Scotland can support local authorities please contact cpendreigh@soilassociation.org and if you would like to find out more about the Scottish Sustainable Food Places network please contact simon@nourishscotland.org.uk

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