Many thanks to all the Dig In members and supporters who joined us for our 3rd Annual Supporters Event in March. More than 40 people came along to the event, sending a clear message that our greengrocer holds a strong place in the heart of our community.
Here’s what we discussed…
Food and Agricultural Policies – Pete Ritchie, Nourish Scotland
The Common Agricultural Policy for the EU (or ‘CAP’) may not sound the most promising topic to light up a room on a chilly March evening, but Pete Ritchie, Executive Director of Nourish Scotland, kicked off our AGM with a fascinating talk on just that subject.
Pete gave us a brief history of the CAP and its origins in the Common Market just after the Second World War. At that time, many people in Europe were going hungry, and the most pressing need was to increase food production as quickly as possible. Europe became self-sufficient in food production in the 1980s, but this ‘productionist paradigm’ continued to drive agricultural research and policy for decades. More recently, reforms to the CAP system of agricultural subsidies have led to the land-based system we have today.
We also learned a lot from Pete about how the CAP affects the context of farming and agriculture in Scotland. Did you know, for example, that we export most of the food we produce here in Scotland? And that we import most of the food we eat?
Pete predicted that over the coming months, as we hover on the brink of Brexit, consultations on a Good Food Nation Bill and a possible second independence referendum, food and farming will be near the top of the political agenda.
This is an opportunity to ask real questions, such as…
- What do we want farming to deliver for Scotland?
- How can Scotland use public subsidies to encourage farmers to produce food that nourishes the people who live here?
Many thanks to Pete for contributing to our thinking about these issues and helping us to consider our role in these discussions. We’ll be keeping an eye on Nourish Scotland’s campaigns on the right to food and Scotland’s farming and agricultural policies.
Challenges and Opportunities for our Community-Owned Greengrocer
Our second speaker was Isla McCulloch, Secretary of the Management Committee, who gave a stimulating talk about Dig In’s current place on the high street in Bruntsfield. Isla’s passion for our community enterprises shone through as she talked about the challenges and opportunities for Dig-In as it moves into its fourth year of trading in Bruntsfield.
Both talks prompted some interesting questions and discussion during the break, which was also an opportunity to sample some tasty snacks and drinks provided by Dig-In and some of our suppliers.
Moving on to the business part of the evening, our Chairperson Catherine Francis reported on our sales, financial position and staff changes over the last year.
Community at the Heart of this Greengrocer
The evening ended with some lively workshop discussions to generate ideas for taking Dig In forward. Shareholders and community supporters gathered in small groups to think about opportunities for growth and sustainable working in the areas of finance, volunteering, community engagement and ‘big ideas’. The Management Committee and staff promised to take these suggestions seriously in the coming months as they continue to improve the shop.
During the break, we all shared some tasty samples from Greencity Wholefoods, our main distributor of chilled, dry and household items. Many thanks to volunteer, Jayne, for bringing along some lovely homemade treats to enjoy as well!
Celebrating our Volunteers
Finally, a highlight of the evening was the award of Volunteer of the Year, presented this year to Peter Dékány. We’ll be interviewing Peter for our next newsletter, so make sure to sign up if you don’t already receive them.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved, please visit our Volunteering page for a list of current volunteer opportunities or email email@example.com.