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Ode to the Tattie

Spoken word poet, Cat Hepburn, calls on Scots to address potato waste on Burns Night.

24 Jan 18

Every day Scots throw away a staggering half a million tatties and Burns Night is no exception.

Cat Hepburn, spoken word artist, visits Sarah Dagg, a young potato farmer, to get inspiration about the effort that goes into growing potatoes, often destined for the bin

(R_L) Cat Hepburn, spoken word artist, visits Sarah Dagg, a young potato farmer, to get inspiration about the effort that goes into growing potatoes, often destined for the bin

Highlighting the plight of the potato, Cat Hepburn, spoken word poet, has joined forces with Zero Waste Scotland’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign to address the issue.

In the spirit of Rabbie Burns, Cat has turned to poetry, penning a contemporary ‘Ode to the Tattie’ to galvanise Scots to make a change so they ‘dinnae waste a morsel’ this Burns Night.

Burns Night revellers number their thousands and in the aftermath of the famous supper, Scots will needlessly bin 500,000 potatoes; all of which could have been frozen or eaten as leftovers in tasty soups, salads and even pizza toppings. 

Sprouting potatoes and discolouration often lead Scots to think their spuds are not edible, which is not the case. Storing potatoes in a cool dark place and removing sprouts or discolouration before cooking are a few ways to get the most out of your potatoes.

Cat Hepburn, spoken word poet, said:

“Rabbie Burns is the ultimate Scots poet and it’s really exciting to share this new piece of work – a quirky and modern ‘Ode to the Tattie’ – ahead of Burns Night.

“We’re all familiar with the ‘Address to the Haggis’ and I’d love to think that people all over Scotland will take a moment to address their tattie waste at the same time, thinking twice about throwing away such a staple Scottish food.”

Ylva Haglund, Food Waste Campaigns Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Food waste in Scotland is an issue day in, day out, adding up to to 1.35 million tonnes annually – with a serious impact on our pockets and the environment. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Collaborating with Cat has enabled us to interpret this challenging issue in a contemporary way, at an event where lots of us will be particularly enjoying our food. I will certainly be addressing my tattie waste, as well as the haggis, this Burns Night.”

Sarah Dagg, a young farmer from Kelso, whose farm – Crailing Tofts – produces 20,000 tonnes of potatoes each year, said:

“It’s disheartening to think half a million potatoes end up in the bin in Scotland on a daily basis.

“It was great having Cat visit our farm to show her all the different processes required to produce a crop of spuds. I love how Cat’s ‘Ode to the Tattie’ celebrates potatoes’ versatility – chips, mash, baked, boiled and roasted; the list is endless!”

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said:

“Half a million potatoes wasted every day in Scotland is a staggering figure. That’s why the Scottish Government has set an ambitious target to cut food waste by 33% by 2025.

“I hope people will take action after hearing Cat’s brilliant ‘Ode to the Tattie’ and do their bit to address potato waste on Burns Night and all year round.”


‘Ode to the Tattie’ by Cat Hepburn

Ode to the Tattie

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face

Great chieftain o’ the… stem veg race!


I love your imperfections

Dirty, earthy, fleshy, lumpy,

beautifully misshapen, soft and sweet

You’re my favourite food to eat

I can have you mashed or boiled

roasted or baked,

Warm, reekin-rich

cut into into chunky chips

Into Tommy K, you shall get dipped


But it’s a great shame, When every day in Scottish hames

Half a million tatties end up in the bin

In the space of just one year

We throw away enough food to make 800 million meals

And all that scran we toss?

A billion pounds per year it costs


So before ye hastily waste

Store your spuds in a dark, cool place

And remember that their leftovers can make dishes of great taste

Croquettes, or soup, or cheesy mash

And Cutting aff

Green patches and sprouting bits is not a hard task

And mind, you can freeze potatoes with ease

Come on Scotland, stop wasting tatties please!

For more recipes, hints and tips on how to save food from the bin and save money, visit scotland.lovefoodhatewaste.com or facebook/lovefoodhatewastescotland


Videography & photography can be downloaded at the following link:




For media enquiries contact:

Mhairi MacLeod, Director – LUX – The Food & Drink Agency

0131 555 6691



Notes For Editors

Food waste facts

By cost, the research found that the largest food groups wasted were:

  • Meat and fish accounted for £190 million
  • Homemade and pre-prepared meals accounted for £190 million
  • Fresh vegetables and salad accounted for £150 million
  • Drink accounted for £110 million
  • Fresh fruit accounted for £79 million

About Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland exists to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. Our goal is to help Scotland realise the economic, environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources. We are funded to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy.

The Scottish Government has identified tackling food waste as a key priority for action, and Zero Waste Scotland is focused on working to help deliver the landmark national target to reduce Scotland’s food waste by 33% by 2025.

The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit the website or follow @scotgovESIF.

More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at www.zerowastescotland.org.uk or keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland via our social media channels: Twitter | Facebook | Google Plus | LinkedIn

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