Why Buy Local Food
|If you're even contemplating the idea of buying local food, then you're a long way ahead of most consumers. |
Food miles are a big issue.
It's estimated that 40% of the trucks on our roads are involved in the food industry. That's an awful lot of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, diesel and noise pollution.
But with the trend towards large supermarkets, many local food stores have now closed. Our village used to have a green grocer and a butcher, but they went when the out-of-town supermarket arrived.
Why should you care?
The greengrocer knew most of his suppliers. His produce hadn't travelled very far. It was fresh and tasty - and he could give you advice on how to cook it.
The butcher knew the farmers who had reared his meat. He knew how the cattle had been fed and treated. It was important to him that the farmers maintained high standards of animal welfare - he knew it made the meat taste better.
But supermarket meat often comes from countries that have little regulation of welfare standards or animal feed controls.
So it's worth buying food sourced in the UK, whenever you can.
But "UK" isn't really local, is it?
Strictly speaking, no. But it's a good start.
However, really local means with 20-30 miles of your home.
And that's where a box scheme, farm shop or farmers' market helps.
These mean you're buying direct from the producer, where possible.
At the end of the day, only you can decide how far you want to take the idea of buying "local". For some, that will mean only truly local farmers. For others, nationwide networks of UK producers will be ok.
But whatever you choose, your food will be fresher, tastier and better for the environment.
Isn't local more expensive?
Actually, most of the time it's cheaper!
Because you're buying from the farmers. So there's no middle-man in the supermarket. You're also buying what's in season, so there's no premium for air freighting.
So why not check out your local food providers next time you shop. Every little bit makes a difference. And, you never know, it might be the start of something delicious!
Next: How to choose a veg box scheme