Healthy sustainable food

There is a growing awareness that our food system needs to become fairer, healthier and more sustainable if we are to tackle some of today’s social, economic, environmental and public health challenges. Food insecurity among vulnerable individuals and families is growing rapidly as a result of increasing levels of economic hardship.

Sustainable, healthy food strategies

We are a member of the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership (GFPP) and host the GFPP coordinator. The GFPP was formed in 2014 bringing together key public, private and voluntary sector organisations with the objective of supporting action to create a fairer, healthier, more sustainable and resilient food system in Glasgow.

Increasing numbers of local authorities across the world are committed to developing more sustainable food systems, and many of them are signatories to the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration launched at COP26. Within the UK and Europe, there are many cities which, like Glasgow and London, are delivering on local food strategies and plans supported by networks such as the UK Sustainable Food Places NetworkSustainable Food in Urban Communities and Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.

Glasgow City Food Plan

Glasgow city food plan diagram FINAL









The Glasgow City Food Plan was launched in June 2021 after a period of development and consultation.

The Glasgow Food Summit which took place in May 2019, demonstrated support and started to shape a City Food Plan, building on a number of participative events which had previously taken place to discuss how Glasgow might become a sustainable food city and what practical actions could be undertaken. 

The Glasgow City Food Plan was subsequently developed by a team comprising Glasgow Food Policy Partnership, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Glasgow Community Food Network. This team worked together with over 80 stakeholders, in 6 working groups to develop actions for the plan which went out to a public consultation from October to December 2020. Responses from individuals and organisations were incorporated into the final 10-year plan. 

At the launch event in June 2021, over 300 delegates tuned in online to hear about the details of the plan, its relevance and connections to other work in Glasgow and see some snapshots of actions already being implemented. 

Watch a recording of the event.

Watch a short animation about the plan. 

Download the Glasgow City Food Plan (PDF). 

Visit the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership website.

In June 2021 Glasgow was awarded Sustainable Food Places Bronze Award recognising the success of taking a joined up, holistic approach to food and achieving significant positive change on a range of key food issues. Glasgow is now working towards the Silver Award.

The Food Plan project team have produced an annual report which provides an overview of what has been happening across the different Food Plan working groups in the first year, as well as highlighting some areas where more focused work is required going forward.

GCFP 2021/22Download the Glasgow City Food Plan Annual Report 2021/22.









The Glasgow City Food Plan addresses the following themes: 

Community food 

There is a vibrant community food sector in Glasgow with around 200 community-based projects and organisations. This includes 32 allotment sites, involved in a range of food-based work including community growing and community food sharing. These include Urban Roots, the North Glasgow Community Food InitiativeGlasgow Allotments ForumConcrete GardenLocavorePlaybustersFare Share Glasgow and many others. 

In 2017 the GFPP supported the development of the Glasgow Community Food Network (GCFN) which now provides a range of events, support and learning opportunities for community organisations and represents the community food sector on the GFPP. 

Community food growing is a central part of many community food organisations’ activities and the Food Plan supports and complements Glasgow City Council's work to deliver on Glasgow Food Growing Strategy.

Fair food for all: food insecurity

Emergency food aid provides immediate food to those who are in food poverty, often through food banks. An overview of food aid provision published by the Scottish Government in 2013 provided a snapshot of emergency food aid providers in Glasgow and other cities in Scotland concluding that welfare reform, benefit delays, benefit sanctions and falling incomes were the main factors driving increased demand for food aid and that this was a rapidly changing landscape. Since then, the Poverty Alliance has highlighted increasing use of emergency food aid provision through food banks. An All Party Parliamentary Enquiry into Hunger and Food Poverty in Britain has reported on the subject. In 2016 the independent working group on food poverty, established by Scottish Government, made a number of recommendations in its report. More information on food bank use in Scotland can be found on our Understanding Glasgow website.

In 2018 both GCPH and the GFPP provided a submission to the Glasgow Food Inequality Inquiry undertaken by Glasgow City Council and contributed to subsequent discussions about how to move forward. These discussions informed the plans for the City Food Summit and shaped the content of the Glasgow City Food Plan which launched in 2021.

During the Covid-19 pandemic and in the current economic challenges, food insecurity has worsened with even more people struggling to access and afford adequate food. 

Food and the Environment

Despite the prevalence of food poverty and food insecurity, around a third of all food is thrown away. According to Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish households throw away 566,000 tonnes of food waste every year. Wasted food is not only wasted money but also causes unnecessary carbon emissions which contribute to climate change. Redirecting surplus food and reducing food waste therefore has huge potential social, economic and environmental benefits. But it's not just about waste. How food is produced, processed, packaged and transported are all important in terms of the environmental impact of the food system. 

In addition, there is a need to transform food production to better support planetary health, to develop more agroecological approaches to food growing and to identify more land for local food growing. An Urban Agriculture working group has been established to address these issues.

Food procurement and catering 

Nearly half of all food is eaten outside the home so catering and procurement offers an effective way to help make our food system healthier and more sustainable and to contribute to the local economy. Where people eat regularly, for example in schools, workplaces, hospitals, and particularly where the food is provided by the public sector, there is a real opportunity to contribute positively on health, the environment and the local economy, from the money spent on food. The GFPP has established a food procurement working group that is attended by a representatives from a range of public, private and social enterprise organisations who are all interested in moving towards more sustainable and healthy food procurement. 

Food and the local food economy 

To be fairer, healthier, more sustainable and more resilient, a food system needs to do more than focus on food that is good for health and for the environment: it also needs to support and enable a vibrant food economy which provides local employment, increased food security (through less reliance on long food supply chains), productive land use and thriving communities. Building the skills and capabilities of Glaswegians so that they are able to take up employment in local food businesses is an important part of building a vibrant local food system. 

Children and Young People

In Glasgow there are too few children whose diets meets recommended nutritional guidelines for health and the proportion of children who are a healthy weight is not increasing. There are many reasons for this, including the scale of food poverty and the affordability and availability of healthy food.

Good Food Movement campaign

Increasing public awareness of and interest in healthy and sustainable food is an important part of moving towards a more positive food culture in the city. The Good Food for Glasgow campaign launched in 2022 uses a wide range of media to engage with Glasgow citizens about different aspects of the food system, including podcasts, social media and community events. Previously the GFPP has been involved in supporting two national campaigns: Sugar Smart in 2017/18 and Veg Power in 2018/19.

Previous events, presentations and blogs

Check our blog for discussion and comment on food sustainability - including blogs from Fiona CrawfordAde Kearns and Katherine Trebeck.

At the PHINS seminar in September 2019, Jill Muirie presented on our work on healthy sustainable food in a presentation entitled 'Going large - taking a broader public heath approach to food'. Watch Jill's presentation.

In May 2019, the GFPP and GCPH hosted the Glasgow Food Summit as part of the collective commitment to become a sustainable food city. The event build on the great work that is already established in Glasgow by bringing together a range of international, national and local experts and perspectives to explore the key aspects of a successful sustainable food system.

In October 2015, we organised an event on behalf of the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership (GFPP), to discuss the current responses to food poverty and food insecurity in Glasgow, and to explore what the recently established GFPP could do to support these responses and help develop a sustainable approach to addressing food poverty.

This event was intended to help shape and inform the GFPP's future work plan and to provide support for a more integrated response to food poverty in Glasgow that supports people in and through food poverty to achieve food security. It was a highly participative event which involved people currently planning or delivering food poverty related work across Glasgow and aimed to improve understanding about what is going on where and by whom, what the opportunities and challenges are, and how the GFPP could help. Download the event report (PDF).

In 2014, Professor Kevin Morgan from Cardiff University presented a clear call to action in relation to the potential for Glasgow to take action as well as examples of good practice from elsewhere at the ‘Towards a Sustainable Food City’ event.