My default mode in regard to Scotland's relationship with food is one of despair.
We have some of the best produce in the world but too many people eat garbage. Their diet is dictated by supermarket chains. Have a look at the shelves heaving with unimaginable quantities of biscuits, crisps and fizzy drinks. There are healthy options if you hunt for them. Mackerel fillets on the reduced shelf because few folk buy them. Even organic chicken breast instead of chicken nuggets. But so many of the shopping trolleys are filled with processed food.
Same on the eating-out front where fast food chains pump the populace full of fat and sugar.
This is what we are up against. On the other hand we have Martha Payne who offers a glimmer of hope. She is the nine-year-old from Lochgilphead who was banned by Argyll and Bute Council from expressing her opinions about school food on the internet.
I followed Martha's NeverSeconds blog before she became really famous. I was impressed by her enthusiasm and forensic approach. I was appalled by her photographic reportage of unimaginative dishes and niggardly portions the council put on the school dinner tables.
Bad food is at the heart of many of our society's ills. Poor health and obesity are the most obvious. And the lack of family cohesion when parents eat while watching telly and the kids fill their faces while on Facebook.
I have this vague idea where how we approach food in the community might allow us to turn the tables.
It involves community kitchens where surplus food ends up on a plate not in a bin. Where people eat well no matter how hard the times. Not soup kitchens but centres of excellence with Nick Nairn, Jamie Oliver et al inspiring enthusiastic volunteers. I'll go along to peel the spuds and wash the pots and pans.
There is no shortage of empty premises and under-used public facilities that could be pressed into service.
Such a food in the community enterprise would have more chance of success if young people were closely involved. A children's crusade where the parents have no choice but to join in.
The only problem is that Martha from Argyll may be too busy with school work and her blog to take charge of the operation.
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