The UK’s relationship with food and its supply chain is under increasing pressure to reform and become better for the environment. The hottest topic behind this reform at the moment is switching to a more plant based diet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside that, there are demands to reduce food waste, increase recycling and composting, reduce packaging and improve the sustainability of all products. Eating seasonal, local food is a great way to improve your personal impact on a lot of these elements with just a few small changes to your lifestyle and routine.
Why eat locally?
Eating fresh food that is grown and produced locally means that you are eating seasonal foods that haven’t had to travel very far to get to you or the shops. This means much lower food miles and a lesser impact on the environment. It is is also great for the local economy! Local foods sometimes have less packaging when purchased at places like Farmer’s Markets, so they can be a great way to reduce your plastic consumption too.
Tips to eat locally
So much of our food in the UK is imported that it may seem like a difficult switch to make, but any small changes you can make to start with are all positive steps in the right direction!
Switch one food category or even one product at a time. To prevent it from being overwhelming, perhaps try just replacing all of your fruit or even just your berries to begin with rather than trying to change your entire food shop.
Get savvy on suppliers. To start with try continuing with your normal supermarket shop and pay attention to where your usual products are coming from. Most fresh foods will say where they were grown/produced so start to pay attention to that.
Locate your nearest markets. Farmer’s markets are amazing places to find food that is not only grown in the UK, but often grown within your county! Make a trip to a few nearby ones to explore and find out what products you can get from each one and what ones you can’t.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match. You will find it may be very difficult to find everything locally grown at your supermarket so it will take more work at first. Farmer’s markets are great for fruits and veggies and things like cheese etc. but can be lacking on other food groups. Switch around as much as you like and find a routine that works.
Look for local farms. If you are trying to buy your meat and dairy locally, looking for farms in your area is a great way to find a local supplier. Many farms sell their meat and dairy direct to the public so it is always worth enquiring! You can buy in bulk and stock up your freezer to reduce the hassle.
Learn what is in season. To make normal supermarket shopping easier, try to learn what things are in season when and what foods are traditionally grown in England. This will make it easier to quickly pick up locally grown food while nipping in to the supermarket!
Give yourself grace! Like with all lifestyle changes, even a small change can have a big impact so just make improvements where you can.