A Food Co-op for Fife: the beginning of the journey


by Elly Kinross


A group of excited Fife Diet members, growers and producers, some pens, paper, lots of talking, Fergus on his pipes and some very very tasty haggis.

On Burns Night in Dunfermline 2014 we came together all thinking that a Fife Food Co-op sounded like a good idea, here is what happened.

What does this solve?

First we heard from Mike. In a nutshell he said “the produce that is difficult to source at present but which is vital to a local, sustainable diet is local fruit, locally grown grains, local bread flour, organic meat, and wholefoods.  Fife Diet have been working on ways to make these more available and we think the food co-op is the right place to take this forward.”

What do we know already?

Then I presented the headlines of our survey. In a nutshell I said “ Over 400 people responded positively to our recent survey. 255 people said they would definitely get a members food box if it were available. The most popular produce to be included in the boxes were fruit, oats, flour, eggs, dairy, seasonal specials, bread and vegetables’.

So, over to everyone now….

We all discussed the question ‘How can we make the Fife Food Co-op a big success?’

This is what we said…..


The model with members box deliveries and local food hub5472_10152749724775716_220136584_ns is a workable and attractive model.

This project needs effective communication and coordination.

It has to be affordable.

It needs to be of a high quality.

It is important to get lots of people signed up to make it work!

It is important to keep our costs low.

We should make the most of gluts with our own produce of seasonal specials.

We should encourage diversity and imagination at the hubs.

It is important to install ourselves in people’s food shopping routine


We had lots of questions too!

Do we have enough money?

Can we get the numbers?

What does affordability mean?

Can we have staff?

How much autonomy should each local food hub have?

Next we discussed “What are the next key steps”

This is what we said….


It was agreed that these things need to happen to keep moving forward:

We need to form a steering group.

The setting up of a pilot project for the members food box is a good idea.

We can learn from other similar projects .

We need to investigate funding opportunities.


We had more questions:

Do we want help creating a feasibility study or business plan?

Where are the best places for a pilot? Suggestions were Cupar, Dunfermline, Auchtermucty.

Next we brainstormed what can we contribute and realised that we had a wealth of experience amongst the group in fundraising, community work, gardening, networking, and I.T skills.


 Then we got into the nitty gritty!

Finally, with our eyes firmly on the prize of supper just round the corner we formed groups around different themes and brainstormed on those themes. These discussions brought to light important areas for further investigation, things that need to be considered in the future and highlighted the strengths of our group.

So, we will be having a stall at the AGM on February 15th please drop by and say hello. 

Our next Food Co-op meeting will be somewhere near the end of February/beginning of March. We would love for you to join us, please get in touch if you can. elly@maryland.cochranfirmcriminaldefense.com 01592 871371

  • Joshua Msika February 11, 2014 at 11:47

    I am in St Andrews with no transport. I think you would get quite a big take-up from students here, especially those involved with Transition St Andrews and One World Society. It’s just that getting to your planning meetings is hard as almost none of us have transport! We currently run a regular veg-bag scheme for students and others with Bellfield Organics and could combine that with a local food coop to extend the range of products on offer.

  • Laura February 10, 2014 at 16:50

    Very exciting and would love to sign up to box deliveries, but what about including St Andrews and the East Neuk?

  • Wendy Gudmundsson February 10, 2014 at 14:45

    Auchtermuchty Community Centre are happy to be used as a hub. Also Falkland Farm are looking to sell Organic beef direct to customers within the next few weeks. More info to follow!

  • Roo Mckidd February 10, 2014 at 14:17

    I am in Kirkcaldy with no transport, so probably wont make it to a meeting, but I am interested in buying food boxes when they start up. I’m just wondering if the Cupar/Auchtermuchty area is already covered to some extent by the Pillars in Falkland, it would be a shame to step on their toes.