The Food4Fife Partnership is consulting Fifers on a food strategy to benefit producers, consumers and the environment. The strategy is about supporting changes in the food system to maintain high quality food and drink production, reduce and regenerate environmental damage, and increase community participation.
The consultation has now closed, and the final strategy is being developed. You can still read through the details of the proposed strategy below.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation
In August 2021, organisations from across Fife’s food system came together to launch the Food4Fife Partnership. The partnership recognised a need for a more joined up, strategic approach to the various aspects of the food system and the need to address key challenges. Members of the partnership committed themselves to work across boundaries and disciplines to make sure actions are connected and of benefit to the whole system. In 2021, the Partnership developed and agreed the vision to:
“Create a sustainable food culture for a healthy Fife”, by:
This strategy uses these six ambitions as “pillars” forming the basis for this strategy. They are based on the Sustainable Food Places’ six-pillar model (see following diagram) and have been adapted to fit Fife’s local ways of working.
Each pillar represents an integral part of Fife’s food system – from the food and drink sector of the local economy to how food is procured; the impacts of food poverty to the community responses that seek new ways of creating sustainable food.
By considering each pillar and its interdependencies, the strategy and action plan outline how partners can work together to tackle the challenges facing Fife’s food system now and in the future.
There are some significant challenges that prevent Fife’s food system from flourishing.
The national and international context – climate and nature emergencies, changes to international trade, the Covid-19 pandemic and international conflict - are impacting local and global food systems. As a result, global food security is no longer as strong as it once was. putting food supplies and affordability at risk across the region.
Fife is an important food producer for Scotland. However, whilst Fife exports produce grown or reared here, it also buys some back following processing elsewhere, potentially increasing food mileage and economic value for Fife’s economy.
Food security depends on several interconnected issues, which this strategy proposes to take action on.
Funding also presents a challenge for Fife’s food system. Public services budgets are under pressure, and there is increasing demand for services. The Partnership recognises the need to find innovative ways of getting the funds needed to support action and deliver results. Creative solutions that build on community wealth building approaches can be used to make positive change throughout the system.
Communication and skills development will be crucial for behaviour change and building understanding of the importance of locally produced food across Fife’s private, public and third sectors. It will need co-ordinated and partnership approaches to enable delivery.
Fortunately, Fife has a history of strong partnership working, including activities developed and delivered by local community organisations. The Food4Fife Partnership looks to build on this strength, and it will be key to the success of vital communication campaigns.
In creating a sustainable food culture for a healthy Fife, this strategy encourages a redesign of the local food system and puts the principles of the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022 into practice. The Act underpins in law the work that is already being done nationally to make Scotland a Good Food Nation. It builds on the national policy Becoming a Good Food Nation, launched in 2014, which set a new vision for Scotland:
that by 2025, Scotland will be “a Good Food Nation, where people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve, and eat each day.”
The Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022 also puts a requirement on local authorities to develop a Good Food Nation Plan. This strategy aims to meet that requirement.
Further, the Scottish Government vision for agriculture is as a leader in sustainable and regenerative farming. A draft Scottish Agriculture Bill is under consideration.
Within Fife, the Plan for Fife 2017-2027 sets out the ten-year ambitions for the Kingdom. The Recovery and Renewal Plan for Fife 2021-2024 update, published in August 2021, combine these ambitions with learning from the pandemic. The three key priorities for recovery and renewal are supported by an overarching approach of Community Wealth Building:
Fife Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019. Shortly after, the Council approved the ambitious Climate Fife: Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan in March 2020. Climate Fife recognised both the catastrophic effects climate change will have for Fife and the changes needed to all aspects of day-to-day life. It committed to working: “...With local stakeholders to produce a local food strategy for Fife which will look at improving the quality, health benefits, affordability, access to and reduce the environmental impacts of food consumed within Fife.” (RE06 p73)
Poverty continues to be one of Fife’s key challenges with many more Fifers impacted by the Cost of Living and needing to access food banks. The gap between those that can afford food and those that can’t is widening. Fife’s deprived areas are becoming more deprived, and Fife continues to see worsening health deprivation.
Research and mapping projects undertaken in Leven during 2018 and South & West Fife in 2022 showed that poorer neighbourhoods have fewer fruit and vegetable retail outlets selling fresh produce. It found that rural locations with reduced transport to shops exacerbates those issues.
Fife faces many economic challenges with rising inflation, shortages and problems in the labour market, low levels of Research and Development, and the persistent underperformance of Mid-Fife. Creating alternative local and sustainable markets for local food producers and maximising local public procurement of food can help support a local food economy in Fife.
Support for new businesses to develop ideas for locally grown produce could create new markets and potentially avoid the need for importing of food.
Another strand of the food system that could benefit the local economy is food trails and the development of agritourism.
Despite the challenges, Fife is the breadbasket of Scotland and so is in a strong position to take this work forward. Community Wealth Building offers Fife many opportunities to ensure the local food system works well for local people and that any wealth generated by the local food economy stays in Fife.
Each of the following chapters show one of the six food pillars, noting the ambition, challenges and direction that will be taken. They were each developed by a multi-agency working group formed of partners who are actively involved in the pillar. From farmers to public services, from community groups to food and drink businesses, each partner contributes a wealth of knowledge and brings a different perspective on Fife’s food system.