CommonSpace Forum 28 March: Food, Poverty and Brexit

Ben Wray

CommonSpace Forum 28 March: Food, Poverty and Brexit: Should we demand the right to food? 

AS BREXIT grows closer, stories about rising food prices and mass hunger come more sharply into focus, particularly in a ‘No Deal’ scenario.

Never before has there been so much attention been paid to the fact that Britain imports half of its food, the majority of which comes from the EU, and 95 per cent of those imports via the port of Dover.

But in many ways our food crisis is already here: over 170,000 three-day emergency food bank packages were distributed in Scotland last year, up 17 per cent on the year before. An Oxford University study showed 80 per cent of those using foodbanks suffered from severe and chronic food insecurity. 

But that’s not the end of the food crisis:

  • 64% of Scots are overweight or obese.
  • Carbon emissions from Agriculture is 10% of Scotland’s total emissions and has not fallen significantly since devolution. 
  • 30-50 per cent of food is wasted.
  • Many food workers and farmers earn poverty wages, while supermarkets make hundreds of millions in profit.
  • Supermarkets own over 98 per cent of the grocery market, with just eight supermarkets controlling 93.5.

Food campaigners in Scotland have called on the Scottish Government to make the right to food a priority, with the aiming of ensuring food is accessible to all, an adequate quality and available into the future.

CommonSpace is hosting a forum on Thursday 28 March – the day before Britain is expected to leave the EU – at the Kinning Park Complex (Glasgow), 7.30pm, to discuss Brexit and the right to food. We’ll be discussing:

– How do we make sure no one goes hungry in Scotland? Should food be a universal human right, like healthcare?

– Why is Britain’s food system not resilient and how can that be changed, regardless of Brexit?

– How do we tackle the supermarket monopoly, and create a more democratic, bottom-up system of food production and distribution?

– What is being done in Scotland to fight for the right to food and what campaigning strategy do we need?

Speakers include:

– Pete Ritchie, Nourish Scotland

– Abi Mordin, Glasgow Community Food Network and Propagate, a co-operative working on local food projects

More TBC.

To guarantee your seat for the event, order your ticket on Eventbrite here (donations go towards the cost of organising CommonSpace Forums, including subsidising those who cannot afford to pay for a ticket). Share the event with your friends on Facebook here.

In the week running up to the event beginning 25 March, CommonSpace will have a special week of coverage on food, poverty and Brexit. If you have ideas or would like to contribute an article to our week of coverage, contact

The Kinning Park Complex host a community meal before the event from 6-7pm, which is free for anyone to attend.

Fund the media YOU deserve