Producing food in a fragile food system – a case study on Isle of Skye, Scotland

Ann Bruce*, D. M. Bruce, Isabel Fletcher, Chrysa Lamprinopoulou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The current food system, emphasising efficient food supplies to urban centres, works at the expense of providing food security to remote rural communities. We draw on a case study of a remote, rural location in Scotland (the Isle of Skye) to demonstrate that systemic factors in the food system disadvantage both the provision of food locally, and the contribution that agricultural activity in the rural area can make to wider markets. Skye’s agriculture consists mostly of sheep and beef cattle production, the soil and climate being poorly suited to other types of activities. The production systems in turn contribute to maintaining landscapes and high nature value biodiversity. However, pathways to consumers, which require continual supplies of consistent product, fail to reward these producers. On the other hand, citizens in these remote, rural areas, mainly purchase food from supermarket chains, allied to global supply chains. Because they are at the extreme end of supply chains, they are vulnerable to perturbations in the system. Where local food is available, it tends to be an expensive, premium product, often aimed at tourists. Producing food in a fragile food system does not easily secure food security for locals in food production areas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJustice and food security in a changing climate
EditorsHanna Schübel, Ivo Wallimann-Helmer
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9789086869152
ISBN (Print)9789086863624
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2021
EventEurSafe 2021 - Fribourg, Switzerland
Duration: 24 Jun 202126 Jun 2021


ConferenceEurSafe 2021


  • food security
  • beef
  • lamb
  • retailers
  • butchers
  • shopping


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