The ‘localisation’ narrative is at the heart of food sovereignty in theory and practice, in reaction to the ‘distance’ dimension in the dominant industrial food system. But while it is a central element in food sovereignty, it is under-theorised and largely unproblematised. Using the theoretical concepts of food regime analysis, uneven geographical development and metabolic rift, the author presents an exploratory discussion on the localisation dimension of food sovereignty, arguing that not all local food systems are a manifestation of food sovereignty nor do they all help build the alternative model that food sovereignty proposes. The paper differentiates local food systems by examining character, method and scale and illustrates how local food systems rarely meet the ideal type of either food sovereignty or the capitalist industrial model. In order to address five forms of distance inherent in the global industrial food system, localisation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for food sovereignty. A more comprehensive food sovereignty needs to be constructed and may still be constrained by the context of capitalism and mediated by the social movements whence it comes.