Policy and Research

The GYOWG Scotland was set up in 2009 in response to the Scottish Governments Food and Drink policy: a Recipe for Success. It is a group of agencies, organisations, groups and volunteers who all have an interest in promoting food growing in Scotland. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in furthering food growing in Scotland.

Policies and Legislation

Scotlands’ National Food and Drink policy recognises that food and drink is very important to Scotland, creating jobs and wealth, impacting on health and sustainability, and helping to attract people to the country. It aims to support and grow Scotlands’ food and drink industry, and to work with participants to ensure positive impacts on public health, environmental sustainability and Scotland’s international reputation.

There are 4 mains policy actions within the National Food and Drink Policy, to implement the Good Food Nation policy; support the food and drink industry; to investing in food and drink education; and, promote sustainable production and procurement.

The Good Food Nation was published in 2014 and is the next phase of Recipe for Success. Its Vision is for Scotland to become a ‘Good Food Nation’ where people benefit from and take pride and pleasure in the food they produce, buy, serve and eat each day. In this vision:

  • it is the norm for Scots to take a keen interest in their food, to know what constitutes good food, and to seek it out whenever they can
  • people who serve and sell food – including schools, hospitals, retailers, cafes and restaurants – are committed to serving and selling good food
  • everyone in Scotland has access to the healthy and nutritious food they need
  • dietary-related diseases and the environmental impact of our food consumption are in decline
  • Scottish producers ensure that what they produce is increasingly healthy and environmentally sound
  • food companies are a thriving feature of the economy and places where people want to work
  • other countries look to Scotland to learn how to become a ‘Good Food Nation’

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 aims to help to empower community bodies through the ownership or control of land and buildings, and by strengthening their voices in decisions about public services. There are 11 topics covered by the Act, including community planning, community rights to buy, asset transfer, participatory budgeting and allotments.

Part 9 of the CEA is about allotments, and requires local authorities to maintain waiting lists and take reasonable steps to provide allotments, it strengthens the protection for allotments and clarifies the rights of local authorities and plot holders. There is also a requirement for local authorities to develop a food growing strategy for their area, including identifying land that may be used as allotment sites and identifying other areas of land that could be used by a community for the cultivation of vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers. Guidance on part 9 is in development.


Other relevant policies:

National Planning Framework 3

Central Scotland Green Network

Scotlands Greenspace Map

Land Reform Act

Edinburgh Allotment Strategy

Fife Council Allotment strategy


Consultation responses:

Responses to consultations are made by the GYOWG with the caveat that organisations with an interest in the policy are not included in the response. Additionally, only responses that the whole Group can agree on are included. Individual member organisations may, and often do, also respond separately to consultations.

Here are copies of responses made to recent consultations by the GYOWG:


Research and Reports

Below are the reports and results of various pieces of research into growing, greenspace and linked agendas.

Policy Connections: Greenspace Scotland shows how greenspace contributes to wider Scottish policy by highlighting the contribution greenspace makes to the strategic objectives of the Scottish Government – making a healthier, safer and stronger, wealthier and fairer, smarter and greener Scotland.

Greenspace Scotland ‘Community Growing in Scotland’ report is the result of scoping research to produce a snapshot of the scale and range of community growing activity in Scotland. It reviews the different models and approaches that are being used, audits the range of guidance and support materials currently available, and identifies barriers and constraints.

The Scottish Food Coalition have produced a series of discussion notes, one of which is on allotments and community gardens. There is also a discussion document on the Good Food Nation.

The Glasgow Community Food Network and Propagate have published Roots to Market, the results of a research project into creating a sustainable local food economy in Glasgow.

The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens undertook at two year research project demonstrating the contribution made by community farms and gardens to increasing the well-being of individuals and communities: True Value Report

Social Return on Investment is a way of measuring the non-financial value of a service (i.e., environmental and social value) relative to resources invested. It can be used to evaluate impact on stakeholders and identify ways to improve performance.  The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens carried out an SROI report on Gorgie City Farm in Edinburgh which shows that community gardens will provide more than three times a funder’s initial investment in ‘social value’.

The health benefits of gardening and growing: Sustain Growing Health report from 2014 https://www.sustainweb.org/publications/the_benefits_of_gardening_and_food_growing/

National Garden Scheme research from 2016:  https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/gardens-and-health.

My Harvest – a tool which assess how people who grow their own food contribute to UK food production: https://myharvest.org.uk/

BigPicnic brings together the public, scientists, policy-makers and industry to help tackle the global challenge of food security.

Greenspace Scotland also has useful pages on surveys and statistics, giving results from greenspace scotland’s biennial survey of greenspace use and attitudes, as well as links to other national surveys; and research reports demonstrating the links between greenspace and health and quality of life