WHEN I grew up, my grandma used to run the village bakery, and my earliest memories include her teaching me to make pies and cakes. 

Later, applying that knowledge helped me to fund my way through university. 

Moving to the South Side of Glasgow broadened my horizons and I’m now a sucker for samosa and barfi. It’s fair to say I’ve always had a connection to food, albeit skewed towards pastries and confectionery. 

So it was with interest this week that I chewed over the Council’s new Food Growing Strategy, which was presented to the City Administration Committee. It was a little insipid for my taste. I wasn’t alone. Glasgow’s Allotments Forum said it was “not fit for purpose”. 

The plan talked about how more land could be made available for growing, but offered no specific proposals for new sites. It mused that some dedicated money for food projects would be nice, if only there were some. And because no council strategy is complete without an embarrassing display of silo working, it suggested that one part of the council (the sustainability folk) should engage with another part of the council (the planning folk) to see if they might be persuaded to do an obviously good thing. A feast of political leadership it was not.

Green councillors voiced these concerns and secured backing for an amendment which ensured that the strategy was approved, but with a rocket attached, so that an implementation plan comes back soon with actual, specific, measurable commitments and targets.

To be fair, the strategy was mostly prepared before the coronavirus took over. It clearly wasn’t adapted to the new reality we’re all in, when many people have picked up the food growing bug. 

My family’s lockdown veggie patch has just yielded its first bumper crop of Maris Pipers.

The First Minister has found time to nurture her tomato plants. Allotments are reporting a 700% increase in demand. And it’s not just people having more time on their hands driving that. It’s their fears over a no-deal Brexit, and it’s their daily battles with access to decent, affordable food. 

Glasgow Times: Even Nicola Sturgeon has got in on the actEven Nicola Sturgeon has got in on the act

The need for more decisive action is clear. Our current food system is failing people and planet. Research for the Ellen Macarthur Foundation shows that for every one pound we spend on food, there’s two pounds worth of harm caused. 

These are social costs, linked to ill health, waste, or environmental damage. We have enough food for everyone to eat a healthy, sustainable diet, yet one-in-10 people globally is undernourished. 

Destructive and wasteful farming practices are wrecking habitats and driving unprecedented species loss.

There’s a huge opportunity to drive a food revolution in our cities.  By 2050, 80% of all food will be consumed in cities and up to half of that could be grown using land within 20km of their urban areas. 

Glasgow already has some amazing growing projects. My own ward is home to great work by Locavore, Tenement Veg, Urban Roots, the Hidden Gardens and the New Victoria Allotments. But we can and should do much, much more. 

A regenerative, inclusive, local food system can build health, wealth and connection in our communities. That requires bolder vision and political leadership than the council has shown to date.