We wrote about the Scotland’s FoodScape event originally back when it was first announced in December 2015. Since then, regular saloneer Charlotte Maberly, along with her merry band of folks from the QMU MSc in Gastronomy, have been working to put together a fantastic programme for the event, which came to fruition the other week.
Delivered in partnership with David Szanto and his Eco-Gastronomy Project, this was a two day opportunity to consider and reflect upon where we are on the journey towards the land of milk and honey that is Scotland’s Good Food Nation.
Now everyone we’ve ever had contributing to or attending Scran is part of the story of Scotland’s Foodscape. Yes, that means you, too.
Scran Salon tends to take a pretty light-hearted approach to this journey; we are firmly in the land of the picaresque. And there was certainly plenty of our earthy humour apparent across the two days of this event, too.
Without name checking our entirely alumni in attendance, it was lovely to see Richard Shetland Lamb, Steph Slow Food Youth Network, Ben and Sashana Food Studio, Eleanor and Will Larder and Charlie Real Junk Food.
The event was structured across morning panels and presentations, followed by afternoon workshops and discussions.
Thematically, there was a consistent tension between evocations of the past set against the considerations we need to make to deliver a sustainable future.
This was given its clearest expression in two back-to-back workshops on the second day: one on crofting and the idea of coir – respect for the land and duty it places on people; and one workshop about meal replacement liquids such as Soylent.
There was a great line from the crofting perspective summarising our disconnection with communities and the land – “we’re out of our indigenous minds.” Mugs and t-shirts to follow, I reckon.
Regular saloneer Laura Wyness gave a great presentation on the resurgence of ancient grain beremeal, which is looking to secure PDO status in Orkney.
Bere is appearing in more and more guises from whisky and beer to bannocks and bread. In some senses it’s an evocation of the past seeking to find a bridge to the future.
Geoff Tansey put it succinctly when his concluding call to action was to be “positive in our vision, practical in our actions.”
We’ve got a good opportunity through the monthly Scran Salon events to build on the possibilities, discussions and topics that the event raised.
For example, one idea that came up, from Alice Will, Director at Lux, was to create a skills-swap/knowledge exchange space. Our resident baket Lea Harris has already told us about Skillshare that she’s involved in, but maybe there’s a more informal idea that we can develop through Scran.
We’ve been great at connecting projects and people together, to date, so this is likely just a fresh way of describing a thing we’re already been doing. But let’s see what we can come up with from our collective Scran brain.
Thank you to the Foodscape organisers, particularly Charlotte, David and Donald Reid. This was an excellent and thought-provoking event that has set us a challenge that we should be keen to tackle.