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Freumhland 2050 - A Food Citizenship Inspiration.

Agri-happiness indicators help all to see the benefit of a more regenerative and nourishing food system, encouraging more participation.

Photo of Edward Cox
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Cherrymark Design Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Other

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Glasgow School of Art, Innovation School.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United Kingdom

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

‘Freumhland’ is a collection of counties in the Central Scottish Lowlands which covers a total area of 9,365 km^2

What country is your selected Place located in?

Scotland, United Kingdom

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Freumhland includes our site of meeting and practice (Innovation School, Glasgow School of Art), this is emotionally significant for an international team and also from a field research perspective. It also incorporates each of the six Scottish Government Urban Rural Classifications^1, including Scotland’s most densely populated and diverse centre along with national, regional and local agriculture and aquaculture. 

The recognised unsustainability of the current food system, relatively low life expectancies and famous characterizations (Glasgow Effect^2) are motivations in wanting to contribute to significant and meaningful change. Our place is environmentally and culturally beautiful, full of history, myth and meaning. Our everyday is in our place. 

1. Scottish Government “Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2016” 29 March 2018. Accessed 03 December 2019.

2. Wikipedia “Glasgow Effect” 19 September 2019. Accessed 03 December 2019.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

‘Freumhland’ is a set of counties in the Central Scottish Lowlands within a 50km radius of Glasgow. It incorporates each of the six Scottish Government Urban Rural Classifications, including Glasgow, Scotland’s most densely populated (610,036 inhabitants in 2018) and culturally diverse centre along with national, regional and local agriculture. 

The weather, often described as four seasons in one day, is an important feature of our place, including extreme conditions and described by various local adjectives. Dreich – meaning gloomy, miserable, grey is commonly used.

‘Scots’ are known for a strong sense of national identity, recently expressed in a 2014 independence referendum and continuing with a second attempt at the heart of the current SNP political agenda, though this is balanced with a sense of connectivity with a majority wanting to remain in the EU.

Glasgow is one of the most vibrant places in the world, the UNESCO City of Culture (1990) and recently named the cultural and creative ‘centre’ of the UK by the European Commission. It’s also has the most ethnically diverse population in Scotland with 12% of inhabitants identified as ethnic minorities according to the 2011 study by National Records of Scotland. 

Historically the Glasgow diet was similar to those characterised by other industrial cities, highly calorific carb based meals served with sweet tea aimed at retaining the high energy needs of physical workers in the then booming shipbuilding industry. These eating habits have endured deindustrialisation with sweet drinks such as the famous, still highly popular, ‘Irn Bru’ an example.

At home wholesome affordable food such as Scots Broth and Neeps & Tatties is still popular, though the iconic dish Haggis is made only occasionally. The amount of people cooking is decreasing with traditional dishes being replaced with convenience food and takeaways. A popular choice are chippies offering a variety of deep fried dishes such as the classic fish and chips and the infamous deep-fried Mars bars. Scottish Government and the Office for National Statistics report that Glasgow currently holds the largest amount of takeaways in the country with a ratio of 88.5 vendors per 100,000 people in 2016, a trend that is spreading across Freumhland contributing to eating habits being the second major cause (after smoking) of poor health.

Glasgow does also have a thriving local food scene with a growing array of restaurants, community gardens and urban farms committed to involving people in food projects enabled by progressive policies such as the Community Empowerment Act and the engagement of NGO’s such as the Glasgow Community Food Network. 

The average farm size in Freumhland is 20-50ha; relatively small compared to other regions of Scotland.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

2020 Challenges

Healthy profits made by Big Business has not translated into value injected back into society (scoring badly on well-being metrics) or the food system with workers undervalued and farmers having disproportionally high suicide rates.

Poor distribution networks and 85% of Scotland being classified as ‘Less Favoured Area’ means agricultural incomes are reliant on direct and indirect Government and EU support, making the sector dependent and vulnerable. This is compounded by shifts from industrial technology happening too slowly, with power held by the largest producers, distributors and retailers (97% market share) and the majority of Scottish produce being exported whilst a lot being consumed is imported. Despite this, exports are uncompetitive compared to other EU member states.

Urbanisation and hyper-convenience are accelerating unsustainable and toxic consumption habits adding pressure on healthcare systems and accelerating rural decline.

Rural inhabitants have little food choice tending not to be locally produced or healthy and majority still need to drive an average of 15 minutes to reach basic services. Buying meat from local producers is prioritised over fruits, vegetables and other kinds of products. Shopping in supermarkets for convenience and a cheaper price is the norm.

A drive to have the Good Food Nation bill entered into Scottish Law, aimed at tackling inequality to ill health to ecological damage by approaching food related issues systemically, emphasises the unjust food system with many people priced out of a decent diet, reliant on food banks and suffering the consequences of poor nutrition.

2050 Challenges

With Brexit looming the future is increasingly uncertain. Current climate damaging production and distribution practices are causing declining and less predictable natural producing conditions (threatening already short growing seasons) in the form of poorer air quality, increased risk of flooding and contamination, changing topologies and declining soil quality. Consumption habits are contributing to a weakening of communities' and individuals' health and well-being. 

Together these are exacerbating access to land issues and population health and happiness, potentially leading to failed farms, forced migration and social unrest.

Emerging Challenge Opportunities

How might we chance people’s dietary and consumption habits and opinions to support a shift to a more sustainable regenerative food system aligned to improved health and happiness?

How might we change the export import dynamic whilst remaining globally connected and economically sustainable?

How might we build strong relations between those in power and those who are currently initiating and supporting change?

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

To change the current direction of the food system to a more regenerative and nourishing one requires many to adjust behaviours and decision making. Whilst the importance of governance can not be ignored, each individual has the power to make change. 

The complexity of the food system and challenge of appreciating one's place in it are significant barriers to overcome. Agri-happiness indicators guide the way. 

Agri-happiness indicators are whole system sustainability focused aimed at environmental, health, well-being, economic harmony and inclusivity creating stability at local, regional and national levels. They are present in day-to-day life, easy to recognise and understandable – phenomena in society. 

An example phenomenon proposed during research is the number of girls riding bikes. 

Direct citizen engagement in communities, workplaces, schools and colleges supported by media channels helps people to see beyond being a consumer and understand their role as independent participants in a food system that runs through the fabric of their lived experience. 

Small acts that contribute to the overall health of the system can be more easily recognised and acknowledged by linking them to an indicator that the organisation, collective or individual is directly or empathetically invested in. This linkage encourages more sustainable production and consumption habits perpetuating the behaviour. 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

A conversation with any survivor of the ‘crisis of the 2020s’ is a sharp contrast to the food citizenship we know in 2050. 

We can look back with a sense of celebration in what we have achieved since the early years of the Good Food Nation policy when most income generated by food production was taken overseas, food poverty was commonly felt and food banks were the norm for many. Our communities had little understanding of or connection with the food system, working hours were increasing and we were in the grips of loneliness epidemic. 

Today our diversified set of local, regional and national producers are thriving together with the majority of food we consume being produced locally. 70% of our communities are actively engaged in food growing, cultivation or education enjoyed at home, work and in leisure. A reconnection with the food system and shorter working weeks see rural and urban centres bustling with activity, engagement and community spirit.

Tomorrow we can feel proud of our world-leading position in the agri-happiness indicators as our belief in putting ‘nourishing and sustainable food enjoyed by all, forever’ at the centre of our Freumhland Vision for the Central Scottish Lowlands is ratified when the Right to Food Act is rolled out globally as part of the UN 2050 Food Citizenship Initiative.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

In Freumhland policy supports whole system solutions prioritising more sustainable localised options with shared knowledge and viability enabling farmers to grow food sustainably using regenerative practices. This includes accessible to all "open agri-tech" benefiting small producers and local markets by balancing out larger player dominance and reflecting high consumer demand for sustainably grown local produce. As a result, locally grown food is no longer considered a privilege and forms an integral part of community building and personalised diets, together forming part of normalised ill health prevention and improved well-being, which in turn is boosting micro economies and creating desirable jobs for all.  

After years of progressive legislation the life/work ratio shifted from heavy workloads to life that matters with a larger part of the population having the time to engage in things they actually want to do. Feeling more fulfilled, people don’t search for instant gratification instead partaking in more valuable long-lasting and nourishing experiences. People are much more likely to engage with their local communities which are more diverse, balanced and active supported by a welfare reform and a range of Community Food Projects available in both rural and urban settings allowing everyone to find a place for themselves. 

With feeding oneself no longer a ‘main’ preoccupation for Freumhland inhabitants booming knowledge, leisure and creative industries, accounting for increased spending of disposable income, are linked to improved education, employment, social life, mental health and happiness. More integrated communities account for better cultural empathy and reduced social divides. Food banks and food poverty have also ceased to exist. 

A focus on improving local agriculture has changed global relationships by relying less on imports and the associated power and influence meaning a more balanced and enabling tax income ratio between small local businesses and big commerce, with an improved and shared sense of pride of place and the food it produces. Through Freumhland’s agri-happiness focus it now produces sustainably, respecting the environment, animals and resources, including using livestock to regenerate soils as a contributing factor in preventing climate crisis; made possible due to a lower consumer demand for meat. 

Agri-happiness indicators are whole system sustainability focused aimed at environmental, health, well-being, economic harmony and inclusivity creating stability at local, regional and national levels. 

Government strongly supports and incentivises technological innovation, developing farming skills and knowledge, and reimagining land to create a more productive system prioritising nourishing all with good local food. This shift to significantly larger proportions of regionally and locally grown produce being aimed at healthy food consumption has required technological innovation to support the changed quantity, frequency and variety demands including artificially lengthening growing seasons and changed storage patterns. Labour intensive menial tasks have been automated with affordable regionally and locally aimed solutions and regionalised food distribution is carried out by networked autonomous clean means. A drive for technologically sustainability is focused on trust, ethics and associated value generation being put back into the system. Holistic regional and local agri-technology supports Freumhland’s success by providing information needed to intelligently manage the food system to balance demand and sustainability, soil quality and vulnerability to crisis. 

Inhabitants being proportionally included in policy and decision-making with enough power to influence has ensured urban centres have become more affordable and accessible with plentiful urban gardens and farms meaning no land is under-used, left vacant or neglected. 

A large percentage of communities involved in growing food locally and seasonally introduced a changed relationship with food, connection with nature and care for the environment by being more connected and physically close to it in the form of localised small-scale farms. This facilitated a way for Freumhland to get its citizens thinking about food and the food system more holistically, generating deeper understanding and appreciation which in turn influences decision making. 

The majority of communities work together on shared gardens that provide fresh produce that is directly accessible to them; contributing to the reduced transportation of goods. This along with consumers being more connected to producers generally has led to less need for packaging, collectively lowering the negative impact on the environment.

Transparency of the food system along with high levels of community engagement changed a complex relationship between food and value shifting purchasing and consuming behaviours from bulk buying to more sustainable choices. This had a big influence on the food industry with modified local, regional and national relationships opening up new potential for growth in other industries and global markets. 

Government is encouraging new forms of education where learning life skills is as important as learning academic skills. Children are being included in community farming practices, which is motivating younger generations to work in agriculture and maintain a sustainable system supporting growth in cross-industry innovation for export. Technology plays a role in engaging and educating people in knowledge and skills development.

Freumhland relentlessly makes sure that food production and processing is safe and accessible for all protecting working conditions whilst balancing profitability, sustainability and innovation. A healthier population costs the NHS less translating to a reduced tax burden resulting in a positive change in household disposable income and more public money being available to re-invest in infrastructure supporting localised food systems. Life Sciences innovation is more targeted on less preventable ill health challenges, boosting export opportunities. 

Changed work life balance relationships is enabled through real-time sequencing and rotation that protects shorter working weeks whilst maintaining productivity and output levels. Companies employ more people who work in sequential, overlapping and integrated shifts changing patterns of movement reducing urban and transport fluctuations and congestion.

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Attachments (3)


Using primary research findings we created a set of opinion cards to conduct further research based on provocations.


Visualisation of mapping vision statement across systems themes to understand interdependencies.

Freumh2050 Approach.jpg

Overview of our visioning approach


Join the conversation:

Photo of Andrea Vaz-König

Dear Edward Cox !
Welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!
Thank you for your Vision - and wow, I do love the opinion cards :-D
I look forward to see how you further evolve your ideas - We've built a very comprehensive Food Vision Prize Toolkit with a lot of information, activities, and guidelines. The Toolkit will help you refine your Vision and make it systemic, human-centred and well informed for the future.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit: in case you would like to use some support.

Photo of Edward Cox

Hello Andrea, thanks for this. The toolkit is great, we have been using it to help form our vision and support field research, and conduct stakeholder engagement activities - interviews, engagement tools, observations, workshops and panel discussions. Our long form vision statement has been developed to include perspectives of each of the themes in relation to the evidence our place is providing; though in an integrated way. Sounds like this is not coming across clearly enough. More to develop :)

Photo of Andrea Vaz-König

Hi there Edward!

You're doing a great job! We would like to encourage you to develop it further by grouping your thoughts also alongside the prize criteria.

Your vision will be scored against the following criteria:
01 - Systems Focused
02 - Transformative Potential
03 - Community informed
04 - Inspiring
05 - Feasible
06 - Community Created

Hope this helps for further guidance :-)