Scotland Born & Bread: Motivations, Barriers and Prospects for Local Grain Systems in Scotland

By Tara Wight, PhD student working on crop sciences at the University of Edinburgh

This blog was first published on Nourish Scotland’s website. 

The climate in Scotland is generally considered unsuitable for growing bread wheat. Yet, across the country there are dedicated people and organisations, such as Scotland The Bread, who are growing, milling and baking great bread with Scottish grains.

This summer, as part of my internship placement with Scotland The Bread and Nourish Scotland, I interviewed these people who work with local grain or flour in fields, mills, shops and bakeries throughout the country. I spoke to farmers, millers, bakers and flour retailers to hear their stories, find out what motivates their work, and learn about the main barriers to involving more people in local grain systems in Scotland.

Participants in this study discussed how engagement with local grain systems can improve the health of people and the environment, build connection between people and their food, and strengthen local communities.

The themes emerging from these interviews are summarised and discussed in the following report:

These conversations highlighted the determination and creativity of those working to build local grain systems, and emphasised the need to challenge the dominant commodity food system, which currently undermines Scotland’s capacity to produce local, nutritious and sustainable bread. I hope this report provides ideas and inspiration for how we can strengthen Scotland’s local grain systems going forward.

Through this project it has become clear that those who are actively producing, processing and eating local grain in Scotland are the ones we should be listening to establishing plans for the future.

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