Farming, soils and climate

Farming, soils and climate

Sustainable local farming and healthy food production, that tackles the climate and nature emergencies

This chapter sets out Fife’s local ambition to deliver the Scottish Government vision for sustainable and regenerative farming. It looks to support farming and food production. Fife is in a strong position to become a leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture that delivers high quality food production, climate mitigation and adaptation, and nature restoration. High quality, nutritious food locally and sustainably produced is key to our wellbeing – in economic, environmental, social and health terms. The Food4Fife Partnership is working with farmers to meet more of Fife’s own food needs.

Fife has an abundance of seasonal food, and many farmers are leading the way in sustainable and regenerative practices, with many inspiring case studies and examples of organic farming. Fife also has a strong food and drinks business network.

Fork to Farm Dialogues

This section has been written in partnership with Fife farmers, members of the Fork to Farm Dialogues and the Food4Fife Partnership. The ‘Fork to Farm Dialogues’ are local-led, relationship-building meetings aimed at bringing farmers into food system and food policy discussions. The dialogues are a platform for learning, knowledge-sharing, and opportunities. It has been developed and supported by Nourish Scotland to bring Fife farmers, members of the National Farmers Union and Food4Fife members together. These dialogues helped identify the many challenges for farmers and soils in Fife, as well as the climate emergency, including:

Soil Health

Looking after Fife’s soil is critical to providing nutritious food, maintaining clean water, supporting restoration of nature with biodiversity gain and to sequester carbon; which are vital in tackling the climate emergency.

Business resilience

ction on farming, soils and climate should enable long term business resilience, which will be key to supporting efficiency, productivity, food quality, affordability and more local employment on the land.

Building capacity and sharing of knowledge

The Scottish Government recognises the need to identify and develop the skills needed for regenerative and sustainable farming, changes of land use and adaptation to the changing climate. In part, this could be through encouraging co-operative approaches to optimise collaboration and knowledge exchange. For food security, working together on research and development will be essential.


Land, energy and water for food production are important for food security. Low carbon technologies for production, growing, storage and distribution of food produce should be supported.

Local distribution, processing, storage and markets

To be successful the right infrastructure and supply chains will need to be in place across Fife to support the many different sizes of farms. There is a need to create more localised supply chains, enhance producer value and cut food miles, and access local markets. Again, to encourage co-operative approaches to optimise collaboration.

National policy and long-term investment

To be successful policy needs to support farming make commitments and change required, recognising farming’s long planning timescales.

Food and waste

Scotland and Fife need a secure food supply, to be more self-sufficient, making best use of limited land resources. Food waste needs to be reduced across all the pillars in this strategy, from growing right through to eating. Wasted food from each stage also wastes all the energy and resources that went into growing, processing, transporting and cooking it. Scotland’s ambitious target is to reduce its food waste by one third by 2025.  
Food Waste Reduction Action Plan: 2025 Target | Zero Waste Scotland

These challenges come with opportunities. The potential for growing food for Fifers is very varied. Fife is also well positioned to access world leading tech and research with the James Hutton Institute, animal genetics, universities, and a history of scientists. Projects to develop and use data will be key to delivering change, enabling better understanding of the opportunities and gaps for supporting Fife’s food infrastructure. This research can also help us understand the links between food quality and health.

In addition, growing food in gardens, town centre spaces, allotments, and community gardens offers additional potential and will be covered in the Community Food chapter.

To tackle food waste, the partnership will also work with national partners including Zero Waste Scotland to develop and support projects and behaviour change campaigns to reduce the carbon emissions from food waste.