Buy locally produced products (when you can)
The food and drink on our supermarket shelves has usually travelled hundreds, often thousands, of miles to reach us. Meanwhile, most UK orchards have been grubbed out, and farmers go out of business as soft fruit from the USA is on sale at the height of the raspberry season. Other hidden costs of this imported bonanza are the rainforests felled and the people going hungry so that land can be used to meet our demands for a diet heavy in meat and exotic food.
- ‘Food miles‘ is the term coined to describe the many environmental consequences of transporting our food greater and greater distances between farm and plate. Sustain – ‘the alliance for better food and farming’ – campaigns for the reduction of food miles.
- Buying locally supports your local economy and local growers. Search BigBarn.co.uk‘s easy-to-use maps for local produce anywhere in the UK.
- There are now more and more farmers’ markets where you can buy direct from producers, building up a relationship of mutual trust and understanding. They’re colourful and sociable places to frequent, as well.
- Another way to buy direct is through vegetable box schemes, in which you receive a weekly box or bag of vegetables, freshly harvested and direct from the grower. The Soil Association box directory gives details of local box shemes. There are a number of websites directing consumers to organic producers. Although these all provide organic food, not all provide locally produced food – some actually import some of the vegetables they distribute, and some deliver vegetables throughout the country. If you can, it’s best to support growers in your own area.
- Look for local produce in your supermarket – several are beginning to use local suppliers.
- Real Food Guide, a guide and directory to where to buy organic and local food in the Manchester area. Compiled by Manchester Friends of the Earth.
- On a personal level, there can be a great pleasure and satisfaction in becoming more aware of the land and the people that support you, and the rhythms of the growing seasons.