Not since the Second World War has attention been so firmly focused on food. Before coronavirus we took a steady availability for granted. Now after coronavirus we’re wondering just how secure our food chain really is.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring useful ideas and strategies for how we might get through this unprecedented crisis, looking at all the resilient, creative, resourceful ways we can respond.

Coronavirus tests our food system, and throws into stark focus debates that have been simmering away in the national food discussion for some time. What lessons can we draw from the crisis so far?

Let’s cook more

Eating out is a dwindling option, albeit in weeks to come we’ll be reporting on the creative adaptions restaurants and cafés are making. Now’s the time to reacquaint ourselves with the delights of simple, pleasing home cooking, using scratch ingredients. For all but essential workers, “no time to cook” is no longer a credible problem. Many more of us will have lots of time to sit down around the table together to enjoy convivial, heartening meals.

We need our farmers

Pre-coronavirus, livestock farmers were under attack. Even regenerative, grass-based producers had been wrongly characterised as the key driver of climate breakdown. Prominent commentators have seriously suggested that the UK doesn’t need its own agriculture, that we can just live on fake meat made in bioreactors and plant-based, ultra-processed foods concocted from globally-sourced commodity ingredients. Enough of that, it’s time to support and cherish the Scottish farmers who produce our meat, dairy and eggs. They are the people who will feed us.

Our small shops are heroic

While the supermarkets’ “just in time” delivery systems have been sorely tested, small local shops, already more grounded in their communities, and using a multiplicity of smaller, closer suppliers, have stood up really well to the initial shocks from coronavirus. No signs of panic buying here, good humoured, helpful staff, and stock levels at reassuring levels. What heroes!

Value every scrap of food

Before coronavirus, the average UK family wasted an eye-popping £700 worth of food each year. We knew it was wrong, but in the current situation, food waste stops being merely lazy and starts being crazy. Now we must use everything and waste nothing. Meat bones, bacon rind, vegetable parings, stale bread, hard cheese, legumes that have passed their “best before” date, leftover egg whites, every scrap of ‘waste’ food is precious, so let’s show our ingenuity and use it to feed ourselves in delicious ways.

Develop those old skills

Perhaps you’ve thought about baking bread, making cheese, keeping hens, making kombucha or kefir, curing your own bacon, making sausages and paté, fermenting pickles or sauerkraut, growing food in your garden, window ledge or balcony, bottling fruit, making yogurt, drying herbs, yet never got round to it. Now’s the time to do it, as opposed to just talking about it.

Be flexible, not faddy

We’ve spent too much time in the recent past discussing all the things that we can’t or won’t eat, cutting out whole food groups, pulling faces when we see meat and fish in its unprocessed forms, being scared of produce that doesn’t come plastic-packed, or from a chilled supermarket display. Coronavirus gives us an opportunity to get to grips with real food, in all its diverse forms. Let’s start thinking in terms of what ingredients we can get, and what we can make of them in the kitchen, not restricting ourselves to those we ‘must’ have. An “I only eat X” mentality makes life harder . If you normally buy red lentils, try yellow split peas. Do you really hate liver? Or cabbage? Or meat on the bone? Revisit your prejudices.

Think local

The UK is only 60% self sufficient in food, which makes our food distribution system vulnerable to supply shocks. The giant retailers and the big businesses that supply them have relied heavily on multi-link, global supply chains, which, in a global crisis, are liable to disruption. It’s what’s grown and reared nearest to us that really counts, and the crucial people who supply it. We need them, not only in times of crisis, but to grow a resilient food future for us all.