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29th May 2021

We are what we eat, but we are also ‘how’ we eat…

Today’s news round-up is going to be food-focused, which is perhaps appropriate as we watch nature around us enjoying the bounty of spring.  Thinking particularly about the milky-faced baby Belties delighting us on Instagram, plus (on a closely related note) taking notes on what our Proud Supporters have got planned in the way of yumtastic summer fun, like the dynamic summer schedule at Cream O’ Galloway.

B on the Road and Food From Farming are two of the latest enterprises to sign up for the Proud Supporter scheme, a charter of six principles relating to sustainability, learning, and community support.  The Biosphere vision is to make the world a better place for people and nature and our Proud Supporters commit to that same vision.  They are proud to support us, and we are equally proud to support them.  You’ll see when you click through that B on the Road (Beth’s) tagline is ‘Grow local, eat seasonal’ – simple, perfect, and we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.  Beth’s ethos of using homegrown, foraged and ethical ingredients exemplifies thinking global, acting local, an overarching concept that we do have to find a way to manifest in our everyday lives in order to achieve the sustainable food systems critical to the future relationship between mankind and nature.  On a lighter note, you may not think you’re feeling peckish but go and take a look at B on the Road’s IG right now.  We give it about eight seconds before you’re craving a macaron.

Food From Farming is celebrating its new logo in 2021 and we’re so chuffed to have Sheena on our Proud Supporters map.  Her growing operation Galloway Chillies has probably the best tagline in town (‘Spread a little wildfire’) and we’re so on board with showcasing what south west Scotland can produce that people might not expect.  We’re not sure there could be a happier discovery for a travelling foodie than a local, sustainable chilli enterprise in Galloway.  (Also note that the company is the same age as us – est. 2012!)

We’ve got a post-cake photo of us to share with you today, taken at our first in-person, full team meet this year.  We decided to go to Clatteringshaws, both for the purposes of aforementioned cake and to get a wee walk together afterwards.  To quote Jenna, our new Communities & Education lead, the lemon drizzle sponge was “fluffy as a cloud.”  We did also have a proper lunch first since that seems the mannerly way to get to the cake.  Tamara, our new Communications & Marketing lead, has gallantly offered to try to imitate Clatteringshaws’ baked assortments on a regular basis once the Biosphere’s permanent office base has been confirmed and we are able to move in.

So…that’s four paragraphs of non-stop deliciousness.  We’re lucky in the Biosphere to have a solid – and growing – network of creative individuals with sustainable business ideas (ideals).  It takes time, mental energy, and often financial outlay to level up a business in an eco-friendly way.  The key word here is ‘network’, a concept which the Biosphere prioritises.  Our Business Development Officer, Marie, is the Biosphere’s lead in participation in the Fork to Farm Dialogues, a partnership project with Propagate and Nourish Scotland.

This is a series of events designed to create networks that are tangibly useful, connecting farmers and producers facing climate change, Brexit, and other system shocks.  The global perspective is exactly the same as the view in south west Scotland: the creation of fair, healthy, and sustainable food systems is an imperative if we are to reach UNESCO’s development goal of zero hunger, and having these conversations right now is critical in future-proofing our communities in this climate crisis.  The Fork to Farm Dialogues are being recorded with the 26th UN Climate COP in mind, where they will be presented as a knowledge-sharing resource.  Please do click through the links to see what our partners are doing: Propagate is a food collective that advocates for and facilitates projects at community level across the west of Scotland, while Nourish Scotland is running several projects to combat food insecurity with a focus on building accessibility and dignity in community food provision.

The socio-economic challenges faced by people in rural Scotland manifest daily in what and how they eat.  As well as putting food metaphorically on the table as a point of discussion and planning, we also need to bring this conversation into schools.  We will not achieve secure food systems without education, because without education to back it up, nothing can be truly sustainable.  If you’ve been tuned into our social media lately you’ll have noticed the neon joy of Eco-Unesco’s Annual Youth Summit being shared across platforms.  Jenna attended the showcase online event in support of students at Ayrshire College, who were workshopping their eco-action plans and presenting them to policymakers for feedback.  The Biosphere team is also consulting with potential new partners in education on how to better integrate Green Skills training into higher education programmes.  And not forgetting the really young young’uns: Ed and Jenna have been working with local authorities on the Learning for Sustainability Partnership which will integrate sustainability into our local curriculum and ensure educators are well equipped to teach.

We’ve just celebrated Outdoor Classroom Day (on 20 May), Biodiversity Day (22 May), and of course it’s still National Walking Month and we’re thrilled to be tagged in all your Biosphere adventures.  But to close on our theme of food and sustenance, it was also World Hunger Day on 28 May.  Across the world 690 million people suffer with chronic hunger, a number that is almost too big to even comprehend.  Here in Scotland data indicates that in recent years food prices have consistently increased at a greater rate than inflation with the lowest income groups spending the greatest proportion – more than a quarter – of their income on food.  Low pay, insecure employment and lack of outside support (all factors exacerbated by Covid-19) leave thousands of Scottish families in food poverty.  We are ‘how’ we eat, and with stronger, healthier and more sustainable food systems our families and communities will be stronger too.

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