Markets could hold key to banishing food poverty

TRADITIONAL food markets should be brought back to the city to help combat rising hunger and food costs.

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Regular street markets, although still common across much of Europe, have largely disappeared from Scotland
Regular street markets, although still common across much of Europe, have largely disappeared from Scotland

This is the call from one Glasgow councillor, who said more must be done to help those struggling to feed themselves.

The number of people in the city turning to food banks is at a worrying high, according to the Trussell Trust charity. The Evening Times revealed recently that they handed out 27,603 meals to local people in the last three months.

The charity fed 3067 people from three city food banks - a jump from 2218 in the first six months of the year.

Councillor David McDonald, who represents Greater Pollok and has been involved in setting up the newest Trussell Trust food bank covering the south west of the city, believes that local food markets would help cut prices and promote greater access to fresh, healthy produce.

His call comes after meetings with community groups in his ward who complained about rising prices and a lack of choice.

Mr McDonald, the SNP's communities spokesperson, said: "The recent RPI inflation figures show how the cost of staple foods has risen sharply in recent years.

"Oven ready chicken is up by 37.9% and potatoes up 81.82% from 2007 prices.

"YouGov, the market research group, also just announced that families expected to spend an average of £180 on food and drink for Christmas."

He added: "Markets are the original civic centres of our communities.

"They have always been places that unite communities, public gathering points for people from different ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds.

"The Greater Pollok Integration Network, which works with the immigrant and asylum seeker community across south west of Glasgow, originally raised the idea of a market with me as a place that people could both buy the products they wanted but also take part in a shared experience across cultures."

Mr McDonald, has written to City Property Markets, a trading division of City Property (Glasgow) LLP, who operate the largest wholesale fruit and fish markets in Scotland as well as managing a number of farmers' markets across the city, to ask for their support to reintroduce regular markets across the city.

Mr McDonald said: "By providing a community resource, open to all, we can ensure our citizens have access to healthy, wholesome food in a welcoming environment.

"I am looking forward to the first of many new, local markets opening as soon as possible".

Food and drink

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