Posted 8th Feb 2017
The ‘vegetable shortage’ caused by bad weather in Spain has had us all thinking a bit more about where our food comes from. The labels on our supermarket shopping tell a story of food travelling from all corners of the globe to make its way to our plates: lamb from New Zealand, apples from South Africa, potatoes from Israel and peppers from the Netherlands. But many of us are missing out on a whole world of delicious food grown much closer to home.
‘Local food’ – grown or produced within 30 miles of where it’s sold – has travelled less and so is better for the environment. But there are many other reasons for seeking out local produce. A survey by the Campaign to Protect Rural England found 54% of shoppers preferred local food for its freshness and quality. And 56% said they bought local food because it helps support local farmers and community businesses.
But local food can seem a bit more difficult to find – so here are five tips for discovering the great food in your area.
Get on the internet to find your local food outlets
Websites like Big Barn and FARMA have map tools so that you can search for a wide range of local food outlets using a postcode: farm shops, delicatessens, farmers’ markets and more.
Join a community supported farm
These farms recruit members who commit to taking produce, usually vegetables and salads, for a fixed period, which gives the farm a secure income. There’s a strong community element, with members encouraged to volunteer and plenty of opportunities to learn more about horticulture. Find your nearest community supported farm at the CSA Network website.
Sign up to a box scheme
Box schemes do well at providing delicious seasonal produce and for supporting smaller producers. Often they can deliver meat, dairy and eggs as well as fruit and veg. The Soil Association has a helpful map to help you find your nearest scheme.
Take part in a Food Assembly
The Food Assembly lets you shop from a range of local producers online, then pick up your order weekly from a central location, like a parish hall, where all the producers come together. It’s convenient, and a great way to meet the people making your food and drink.
Your local supermarket
It’s still worth visiting your local supermarkets and looking out for local labels. Waitrose and Budgens have a better track record on local food than most.
For more tips on finding great local food, download the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s local food guide.
Text courtesy of CPRE / image courtesy of Hans Splinter via Flickr