Mike Small: Scotland’s Local Food Revolution

Mike S



Mike SISE alum Mike Small has been working in the Fife district of Scotland to develop new models of organizing around local food. That work has now culminated in a book titled Scotland’s Local Food Revolution.

Mike writes:

It seems fitting  in the same week that climate warming greenhouse gas reached 400 parts per million for the first time in human history … to launch a book on efforts to radically change the food system.

The book is not about the Fife Diet, it’s about the wider movement and the response to the collapsing dysfunctional industry that thrives on maintaining  a market for super-cheap processed food and ignores the consequences to health and planet.

It looks at the European horsemeat scandal and what it means for our society but also focuses on the amazing creativity and energy behind the hundreds of projects, campaigns, farmers and producers across the land who are finding a better way.

I look at the power of Big Shopping, the process of globalisation of food and the responses in building community through food, the idea of ‘living within limits’. I look also at what elements of Scottish culture and ideas can be drawn on to create a sustainable low-carbon future: what does an economy of thrift look like? How can a generalist approach inform food-policy? How do we relocate food in place and wrestle control back from big business to develop a practical food sovereignty?

From the Introduction to Scotland’s Local Food Revolution:

This may sound like grim reading but this is a profoundly hopeful book. Of course, it shows that our food system is fundamentally wrong but at its core is the realisation that there’s something we can do about it. Indeed much of this book is about the growing movement that’s creating a ‘restorative practice’ that could help nurture community, as well as providing affordable and nourishing food for everyone. It outlines the ideas and motivations that have led many thousands of people in Scotland to turn away from industrialised food and its accompanying ill-health.

… The Fife Diet, and much of the local food revolution that has swept Scotland in the past five years, has been driven by the realisation that few if any … external agencies are motivated or equipped to act. It is up to us to change our behaviour and way of being and we must do so on an unprecedented grand scale. We must be the change. We must heed the visionary Russian thinker Peter Kropotkin’s injunction: ‘Act for yourself’.

More information is at, and the book can be ordered from the independent online bookshop, Word Power Books.