Laura Atkinson from LESS explores the benefits of buying local food.
Where does our food come from? Believe it or not, some people have told me that it comes from the supermarket! Well, if you do a weekly shop at a supermarket, your trolley will probably contain food products from the four corners of the globe – despite the fact that many fresh products such as meat, dairy and veg can be sourced from just down the road.
We are lucky to live in an area surrounded by countryside that is home to many farms. It is therefore much easier than you think to obtain locally produced food products. And by choosing to buy these fresh local products you can reduce your food miles.
And, with the use of technology and media, you can even do an online shop and still access local food- via the Lancaster Food Assembly for example.
Sourcing local food can cut down on transportation costs; reducing our level of impact on the environment. In this country carbon emissions produced due to the transportation of food has increased steadily for 25 years according to the Office of National Statistics. One of key contributor is the increased imports of food. Emissions occur when products are transported from the source, to the dock, and then shipped to a port on our coastline. When buying local we can reduce these emissions.
By buying local, we can also keep money flowing in the local area, with additional social and economic benefits being felt over time. Smaller businesses, generally run by locals, are more likely to stay rooted in the community and provide local jobs. There is a ‘flight risk’ with chain stores, with them moving to where there is the most profit to be made.
Although I am not in charge, I am very much involved in my household’s food shopping practices. I like buying local food primarily because I know where it has come from. The fresh products that we buy from the supermarket are always grown in the UK.
We get our meat from Bowker’s Butchers, a family run business with a wide variety of meat and dairy products sourced from local farms and suppliers. Bowker Butchers has become a hub of the local community, having built great relationships with their customers for generations. There are also a selection of preserves, chutneys and condiments on sale – all made locally to accompany meat products. I have discovered that quality here, especially with meat, is supreme compared to the supermarket’s shelves.
Why don’t you give it a try and buy local?