When looking at your environmental impact, it’s hugely important to consider buying local, seasonal and organic food.
By shopping in this way, you can often get great tasting food with reduced food miles, less chemicals and support wildlife-friendly farming practices.
The benefits are numerous:
By investing your money within the community, you are supporting local farmers and enabling them to get a fairer price for their produce. Research shows that for every £1 spent with an independent business 63p stays in the local economy.
Independent businesses add to the unique character of your local area. As well as being retail outlets, markets can often have a social purpose and role in bringing people together.
Local business owners often have a better understanding of the products they’re selling and take the time to get to know their customers’ needs. Why not ask for their advice or see if there’s a tasting opportunity before you buy?
Local food doesn’t have far to travel and so can be sold soon after it’s picked, meaning it’s more likely to be fresh and flavourful. Producers who sell direct can also select their fruit and veg varieties for flavour rather than just those that offer a long shelf life.
Independent and local businesses can be the more ethical choice: meaning less transportation, fewer food miles and less packaging. If you buy seasonally and buy less (but better quality) meat and dairy you can cut your carbon footprint further. The countryside will also be protected, because more of your money goes direct to the farmer so they can earn a decent living without needing to farm more intensively.
Top tips for places to buy from:
• Local markets and farmers markets.
• Independent food shops.
• Farm shops and Pick Your Own sites.
• Sign up to an organic veg box scheme.
• See www.bigbarn.co.uk for an online way to search for independent food producers. Big Barn’s mission is to reconnect consumers with producers and encourage local trade.
What’s your experience of buying locally and ethically? Let us know your views, email email@example.com.
- Choose local, seasonal and organic vegetables