By Alexander Lawrie
AN EXPERIMENT that has seen a group of people eat nothing but produce grown in their own area for a year has been declared “a roaring success”.
The Fife Diet was the brainchild of Mike Small and was initially designed to bring awareness to the carbon footprint created by every meal.
Participants in the diet were encouraged to source their food and drink just from the Kingdom of Fife.
The scheme was inspired by a Canadian venture which claimed a typical ingredient in a modern meal has traveled more than 1500 miles from farm to the plate.
Over 600 individuals eventually joined the diet which was also hoping to raise awareness of hard-pressed local food producers.
Mr Small, 40, a writer from Falkland, Fife, said: “It’s been such an amazing experience and we had no expectation that the project would be such a roaring success.
“At times, it was really challenging, but now it has become almost second nature to look for locally produced food.
“We started last year with only 14 people meeting in a rainy tent, and we now have a database of 600 Fife-based members committed to eating local produce.”
Members of the scheme kept in touch, and also encouraged each other, through the Fife Diet website where the participants shared information on where to buy hard-to-find foods.
And Mr Small revealed he has had interest in the scheme from other green activists from all over the world.
Mr Small said: “Probably the hardest thing we had to source was peanut butter and red wine, but on the whole we managed fine.
“And, to be honest, apart from bananas for the kids we actually didn’t miss anything from our old diet.
“The response we’ve had has been so positive because many people agree with us that the political response to climate change and food is slow and inadequate.
“Eating locally should be part of everyday culture.
“I’ve had contact from people in places such as Israel who are really interested in doing something similar in their own area.
“Once you stop shopping in supermarkets it is such a liberating experience.”
Mr Small is now hoping to encourage schools in Fife to adopt the scheme, and is currently applying for funding from Fife Council to extend the ideas behind the diet.