Food and Climate Change

It is likely that climate change will affect our food supplies. The more food we can grow locally, the more resilient and sustainble our food supplies will be. Information about our current food projects is below, and you can read more here on why and how climate change is affecting food.

Our Food Projects

There are so many different aspects of food to consider when we’re looking at saving the planet, from encouraging healthy eating and shopping locally, to growing more of our own good. Projects thus far include:

  • Cooperative Food Ordering – we set up a collective food ordering system from Highland Wholefoods. This now runs intermittently and once shops re-open, this service is offered through The Rusty Coo in Lairg. If you’d like information about sorting out a local coop order for yourselves, please do get in touch.
  • Grow Food Sutherland
  • Sutherland Food Suppliers – a free to join list developed at the start of Covid to help folks know where and how they could get food. However, the list is useful for all our local food supplies and needs.
  • Farming, Crofting and Food Production – collated resources and information on many topics regarding commercial food production.

How is Food affected by Climate Change?

Climate change is creating less stable weather patterns, and we may well be impacted by food availability as a result of both local and global flooding and drought. Changing how we buy and grow food will help to alleviate impact that that may cause. (Did you know, for instance, that flooding caused an onion crisis in India last year?) And, indeed, we were faced directly with the experience of food shortages at the start of the Covid epidemic.

Would it not be even better if we could grow more food here? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all reduce our food miles? Perhaps we could reach a better balance of what we import and export? Growing more food locally would also encourage us to

  • eat a healthier diet, improving our general health and emotional wellbeing
  • enjoy shopping locally, reducing food miles
  • reduce food waste – we throw away 30% of our food!
  • have fun with others with planting and picking days

Seeking out new ways of eating is proving truly exciting and lots of fun for many. Not only can we find out more about lovely tasty locally grown food, but we can also join the merry band of folks who are learning how to grow food. It’s strange to think about the fact that our supermarket shopping habits have really only developed over the last 40 year: grocery vans used to be the norm, and now many of us are back to getting our food delivered.

Shopping locally, growing more of our own food, developing community gardens and allotments, and supporting our local food businesses all help. So many people are discovering the joy or growing their own food, seeking out previously unknown local food producers and having fun sharing food growing knowledge and skills with others in our own communities and on social media. Why not join in with one of our food projects or start your own.

Read on to learn more about food miles, food waste and diet, about own own projects and what else is going in the Highlands and Islands.

Highland Food Projects and Initiatives

Highland Good Food Initiative

Highland Good Food Partnership

If you’re looking to get involved in any type of food project in the Highlands and want to know where to start, The Highland Good Food Programme is a great place to start. This programme is now in phase three where several exciting projects are being worked on including: Community Food Waste, Community Food Growing, Improving local food opportunities for business and consumer, and even looking at building greenhouses in the Highlands to grow more of our own tomatoes etc.

There are many podcasts and blogs which will help to provide info on many amazing food projects and businesses in the Highlands.

Highland Council, Growing Our Future Report

What can the Highland Council do to support us to all grow more food in the Highlands? This report has been developed from many community discussions and individual surveys. The report is now complete and the Council are moving forward with the report’s directives, employing a new member of staff. We can expect HC to be starting working with communities soon.

Read the HC Growing Our Future Document here.

Read more here about Highlands and Islands Community Food Growing.

Read about Farming, Crofting and climate change initiatives here.