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'We must make sure the road for Glasgow to the Paris Agreement goals passes through the farm gate' – Highland Good Food Partnership is on COP26 virtual menu, representing Ross Shire

By Louise Glen

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Climate Change.
Climate Change.

The Highland Council is hosting the Highland Good Food Partnership to virtually join the COP26 Global Fork to Farm Global dialogue on Friday November 5.

This dialogue will bring 100 local government representatives and 100 practicing farmers together from around the world.

During a day without speeches, but one of roundtable discussions, facilitated learning, and frank exchange, participants will bring food systems close to the climate negotiations.

They will build the mutual understanding and cooperation necessary to ensure that “the road for Glasgow to the Paris Agreement goals passes through the farm gate.”

From Highland, eight participants, including crofters, growers, policymakers and young people are taking part.

Emma Whitham co-founder of the Highland Good Food Partnership said: “The wonderful thing about this online virtual event is we can connect with like-minded people from all over the world, building our understanding of the food system and sharing knowledge and ideas of how we work together to make it better for the planet and people.

“The Fork to Farm dialogues are about farmers and cities being the drivers, rather than the objects, of transformation. It is imperative that this transformation is fair – that it is a transition towards healthier food systems that secure sustainable food for cities and sustainable futures for farmers. COP26 must address the importance of tackling our food systems and through this dialogue we are ensuring our voices are being heard.”

The Highland Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland to sign the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration which is a pledge and a call to action by sub-national, local and international governments from all over the world to accelerate the development of integrated food policies as a key tool in the fight against climate change.

The Declaration brings together all types and sizes of local authorities to speak with a unified voice in renewing their commitments to develop sustainable food policies, promote mechanisms for joined-up action and to call on national governments to put food and farming at the heart of the global response to the climate emergency.

Its co-benefits include biodiversity, ecosystem regeneration, circularity, access to sustainable and healthy diets for all, and the creation of resilient livelihoods for farm and food workers.

The leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: “On behalf of the council I was delighted to sign the Declaration as in doing so we have renewed our commitment to tackling climate change and to develop a Good Food Council.

“I am pleased that on Friday we are able to support the work of the Highland Good Food Partnership by hosting their participation in COP26 and I am sure those taking part will do a great job in representing all the work going on across our communities to bring about positive change.”

Kirsty Ellen, the Highland Council’s community food coordinator is attending the event on Friday.

She said: “COP26 is an opportunity for all of us to look at our role in climate change, not just world leaders. Food is such a significant part of all of our lives and is a key area of activity that contributes to our carbon footprint.

"There are lots of benefits to local food; reducing our impact on the environment, food system resilience, and promoting a culture of communities growing food together and sharing local knowledge. I’m glad to be part of a group of Highlanders getting together on Friday, joining with others around the world, to drive the change we want to see in our food systems.”

For further information about the Highland Good Food Partnership visit https://highlandgoodfood.scot/

READ: People in the Highlands urged to back Inverness Courier campaign to take simple measures to combat rising temperatures, as COP26 gets underway

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