Eat My Street

September 24, 2015

This October, the ‘Street Feastival’ will make its Edinburgh debut.  The event, organised by Kiltr, has made appearances across Scotland, showcasing fantastic food vendors and after some alfresco fine dining this weekend at the StrEAT Glasgow event, I’ve been left pleading “why not this every day?”

Indeed many a travellers will tell you fabulous tales of walking streets glittered with mouth-watering food.  Yet here in Scotland, opportunities for comparable cuisine experiences are curbed to a handful of organised festivals and markets.

After the success and fun of Foodwise’s own cooking event earlier in September, the team was left wondering how easy it would be to have weekly pop-up cooking sessions and provide the local populous with fresh, health and locally-sourced banquets.

It seems if you’re looking for a daily fix of trendy street food, you’ll be heading into bars.

This is particularly true of Scotland’s biggest city Glasgow, where many street food vendors have seen their applications rejected, whilst larger vendors on Edinburgh’s Castle Street came under fire from other local businesses for stealing customers.  The result is a stringently organised and predominantly restaurant-based scene, creating an increasingly frustrated street food cartel.

If selling food in our cities was hard, growing it is a nightmare.  Waiting lists for organised allotment and hut plots are ridiculous, while vacant land seemingly goes to the highest student accommodation proposal.  This still leaves our cities awash with derelict, unused land (often due to subsidence).

Despite this summer’s land reform bill re-igniting the grassroots campaign to reclaim #ourland, much of the local food growing outwith organised spaces has been in the form of ‘guerilla gardening’….often with predictable clashes.

Why is urban food growing and street selling important?  There are too many answers (feel free to comment and add your own), benefiting everything from our health to our environment to our wallets.  More concisely, producing and selling more of our food builds our local resilience, as well as creating a more community and experience-focused vibrancy to our future sustainable food cities.

"Another wasted space?" - Volunteers 'clear and create' an urban garden at a derelict site in the west end on Kersland Lane (Glasgow), where continued pressure to abandon their efforts remain from both council and land owners, who hold no approval to develop further on the subsiding land.

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