It was political show-time in Arran this week with the arrival of the Scottish cabinet on Monday 27th August. The ministers spread around the island in the morning, making visits to various Arran businesses, schools, and community organisations, before heading to the High School for a cabinet question and answer session with Arran residents and school children. There was a Brexit session at the Ormidale Pavillion, an environmental one at COAST and the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon went to the Auchrannie Hotel where she launched the Scotland for Employee-Owned Businesses venture and a new Food and Drink Tourism Action Plan. By building on the island’s strengths she said, the government want to capitalise on our economy and the action plan aims to do this by doubling tourist expenditure on food and drink from 1 to 2 billion pounds.
Now cut to the other side of this expenditure – the massive waste that will be generated and the tonnes of food that will be binned. The Guardian recently revealed new research which shows that the amount of food that is wasted each year will rise by a third by 2030, when 2.1bn tonnes will either be lost or thrown away, equivalent to 66 tonnes per second. Unfortunately these are the aspects of new action plans which cabinet ministers don’t mention. Yet how to address these issues could be built into the initiative from the start, and a sustainable action plan would be one that was genuinely possible to engage with and celebrate.
In this edition we look at one Arran retailer who has set up a programme which does start to address the issue. The Co-op has a new scheme called Food Share, and with some planning it could be a brilliant way to reduce the food that gets thrown out each day and at the same time go to people that really need it. With a supermarket ready and willing to take on the problem, and also provide advice on how to do this, it seems like a fantastic opportunity which hopefully islanders will take. Some of Arran’s other community organisations are also looking for support. Eco Savvy is looking for trustees to join their board and help realise their exciting plans over the next year or so, and COAST is keen to hear from people who have some time to spare and could volunteer at the amazing new Octopus centre.
Community action aside, we have the usual mix of previews and reviews, and tonight of course (if it’s your thing!) is the start of the McLellan Festival. There will be poetry in Corrie hall followed by a whole week of music, film, talks, ceilidhs and much more. Enjoy the issue, and all that is going on around the island!