STORIES · 23.02.22
Farming | Food | Mindful Living
The pandemic brought many areas of our lives into sharp focus – one being an awareness around where our food comes from, and the journey it takes from field to fork. From flour and pasta to tomatoes and eggs, shortages of everyday staples made it clear that to eat in a sustainable way, we must support our local food systems, shortening the distance between producers and consumers. Although I am an advocate of eating organically I know this isn’t possible all of the time, and should I have to make a choice I would opt for local and seasonal as a priority. Even though the shelves have long been restocked, here are a few more reasons why it is still so important that we consciously choose local where possible.
Perhaps most importantly, shopping in farm shops, farmers’ markets, and small independent local bakers, butchers and cheesemongers is much lighter on the planet. Long supply chains are drastically reduced, limiting pollution from transport and emissions by moving food across UK counties rather than whole continents.
Smaller farmers also tend to be more mindful of their ethical and environmental footprint when compared to those producing food on a mass scale for supermarkets. This can include using natural manure fertiliser, encouraging biodiversity, selling food loose, and considering the long-term health of their soil to safeguard future growing cycles.
Boosting the local economy is another benefit of buying food locally, retaining demand for produce within the small businesses and farms of your community. This will also create jobs and opportunities within the local food industry more widely – whether that be picking, processing, retail or hospitality.
eating in harmony with the rhythm of the land reinforces our connection to nature, and in turn the need to look after it so that future generations can enjoy its riches too
Less food waste is a happy side effect of shopping locally, encouraging people to find out where food is from, how it was produced and even speak to the artisans who have grown it with care. This personal and geographic connection adds value, making food something to be treated with reverence rather than simply a packaged commodity. Such produce is therefore more likely to be put to good use, rather than going around a supermarket and buying lots of cheaper imported food that is then wasted. Food grown locally also reaches the shops more quickly and in fresher condition, meaning less is spoiled en route, and shelf life is extended.
Food grown locally is more nutritious and better tasting. It is an easy way to ensure you eat in sync with the seasons, and nothing tastes better than that. Whether it’s a plate of lightly steamed asparagus in spring or a freshly-picked summer strawberry, food grown and enjoyed locally is packed with so much flavour and goodness, it takes very little preparation to make it delicious.
In this way, eating in harmony with the rhythm of the land reinforces our connection to nature, and in turn the need to look after it so that future generations can enjoy its riches too. You can discover five of the brilliant suppliers we support in our farmshop over on my Instagram page by clicking here.