Become a Sustainable Eater - By Going Local & Seasonal
We can get any food we want any time of the year. That makes eating a diverse and balanced diet so easy, that it's easy to forget about the drawbacks of this constant availability of "fresh" foods from around the world.
Why Does It Matter Where My Food Comes From?
By 2050 the world population is predicted to hit 10 billion. This estimate often leads to fears around “How are we going to feed them all?”. The crazy truth is, that the global food production is already capable of feeding 10 billion people, BUT: a third of this food is being wasted every year. And we’re talking about perfectly edible food here.
Why does this happen? It’s obviously a very complex situation, but cosmetic standards driven by supermarket chains, over-ordering by restaurants, an end to the practice of feeding leftovers to pigs (who are now eating crops like soy) and, of course, our own consumer behaviour. Here in the UK nearly half of the 15 million tonnes of food wasted comes from private households. We don’t plan, overbuy, and because it’s so cheap, throw away food without thinking about it.
Buying food seasonally and locally can make a big difference to that waste. You are buying less fruit, veg and meat that has been transported halfway around the world - which causes a lot of waste along the supply chain. But there are many more benefits to eating seasonally?
Why Is Eating Seasonally Good For My Health?
When you eat locally and seasonally you know you are eating the freshest, most abundantly available produce. It is better for everyone – you get the tastiest veg, the local farmer benefits and food miles decrease too.
Another unexpected benefit is to reconnect to nature’s seasonal cycle. If you have children, this is especially important as it teaches that food does grow at specific times, a hard concept to grasp when imports from all around the globe ensure that supermarket shelves look the same practically every week of the year.
If you're wondering when you should start, the answer is: now. A survey in BBC Good Food magazine showed we’re not as good as we think at figuring out what is in season when. Of the 2000 people it asked, 86% claimed it was important to shop seasonally, 78% said they were doing it – and yet only 5% could say when blackberries were at their best.
I want to help make 2021 the year that you can embrace this concept. Watch out for my social media channels (Instagram, Facebook & Linkedin) for regular reminders of what’s in season each month and a little inspiration for what to do with it.
Where Do I Buy Seasonally?
Farmers’ markets are a great place to find local seasonal veg. And I don’t mean your mixed town market - the fruit and veg there usually comes from abroad as well. Make it your mission this month to find out what local farmer’s markets are on near you. Ask friends and family or social media to get the quickest response. Failing that, try these two resources to find a place near you:
Having someone else do the hard work and just bring you the goodies is a good plan B. If you’ve never considered getting an organic veg box, it can be an amazing experience. It’ll teach you very quickly what is in season when, you’ll get some of the best produce available in your area delivered to your door, and it will wake you up to the magic of cooking.
I wonder whether this resonates with you. I actually LOVE cooking but as a working mum, it often turns into a real chore. Inviting a veg box into your life gives you the opportunity you to try something new, and this can be very invigorating. Of course, you can pick and choose the types of ingredients you want and avoid having things added that your family hates, but I urge you to have a go and see what happens.
The following offer a huge variety of veg-only or fruit and veg boxes, some even with a ‘pick your own’ element where you can pick and choose exactly how much of what you have:
If you’d like to step up your environmental friendliness specifically support your local permaculture farms. They use holistic system approached such as regenerative farming with grazing practices instead of tilling and chemical use on soils. This type of farming reverses climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity leading to carbon drawdown and improved water cycle.
I’ve just received my first wild range meat order from Knepp Estate, after being inspired by the book “Wilding” written by Isabella Tree about this farm. But you can easily find your local ones online.