9 December 2023

Breakfast Within A Rights Based Food System

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Written by By Finlay Allmond, Scotland Policy and Public Affairs Manager

Home > What we do > News and views > Breakfast Within A Rights Based Food System

This UN Human Rights Day we are celebrating a rights-based approach to our food system. It is vitally important to embed this approach, and we work closely with Together (The Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) to reflect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which includes influencing the Scottish Government’s new Human Rights Bill, to deliver the future our children and young people deserve. 

The breakfasts we deliver every day may seem a far cry from legal intricacies of international human rights treaties, but a rights-based approach is essential to building a strong food system. 

A Human Rights Based Food System 

The key right that Magic Breakfast taps into is the right to food. This is outlined in both the UNCRC and another treaty, the Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights. Whilst the right to food is one right it is deployed in tandem with all rights to build a societal structure that protects everyone including children and young people. 

We all know that food is the fuel and foundation of life. A strong food system isn’t an add-on that a society can take or leave, but rather a fundamental need. Rightly, much of the discussion around the right to food focuses on the food production system, ensuring that the food we can all access is healthy and well made. However, the right to food is about more than food on the plate, it is also about building a network of delivery that works for all. This must include community food systems such as school food. 

Breakfast As Part Of A Human Rights Based School Food System 

The children and young people we work with understand the importance of embedding breakfast in the school food system. In our leading What’s For Breakfast report, 80% of children in young people agreed it was important to offer breakfast at school and Mhari, a mother at one of our partner schools in Scotland, highlighted one of the key benefits. 

People are not feeling like ashamed or embarrassed to go and have their breakfast, because they’re all doing it together.” 

This message of dignity is at the heart of community food systems. Our work is hunger focused and barrier and stigma free. This model allows us to reach children and young people where they are, bringing the rights-based food production system to their plates. This final step of the journey is often forgotten when developing a rights based approach. 

Children and Young People At the Heart 

At Magic Breakfast, children and young people are at the heart of everything we do. As we continue to build out embedding a rights based approach into our food system we’re keeping children and young people at the centre. 

The UNCRC makes clear that children and young people have a right to be included in decisions that affect them. In their foreword to our report young people from Leeds City Academy highlighted the importance of ensuring ‘that policy that directly impacts us reflects our own experiences, views, and feelings.’ 

As the Scottish Government progresses with their plans for incorporating international treaties into Scots law, Magic Breakfast will continue our mission of supporting a rights-based approach to school food.  

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4 January 2024

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