If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

– J.R.R. Tolkien

Fresh, local food

Fresh food

Fresh food is much healthier for you and for the environment. Any type of processing is likely to have some environmental impact. For example processing will probably add to food miles, energy use and packaging.

Processing often adds unhealthy substances like salt, sugar, fat, colourings and preservatives which are not nutritious – and cumulatively can be quite harmful – they just help the food look better or last longer.

Locally grown food

Food miles are the measure of the distance food travels from field to plate. Agriculture and food now account for nearly 30% of goods transported on our roads. This adds substantially to the CO2 emissions that are contributing to climate change – which is why food miles matter.

Food travels further these days because of the centralised systems of supermarkets. It defies common sense when a crop of potatoes, for example, can be transported hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to be packaged at a central place then sent back to be sold where they were produced in the first place.

Imported produce from overseas is even worse, particularly air-freight which has a far bigger impact on the environment than sea or road travel.

We now travel further to do our shopping and use the car more often to do it. One solution is to do all your shopping for the week in one trip at the nearest farmers market. Read more about Farmers Markets »

Seasonal food

Out-of-season food is likely to be imported, stored in cold-stores, preserved in unsustainable ways or it might have been grown locally in artificially-created growing environments. Either way energy is being expended just so we can have a perpetually summertime diet.

Obviously if you buy local, fresh food you are likely to be buying seasonal food.

Spring and summer are much better seasons for food, you can always prepare for winter by preserving summer’s fruit and vegetables.

Grow your own food

Even if you only have access to a deck, a roof or a small courtyard you can grow food. Anybody with some time, patience and access to the internet or a library can learn enough about soil and gardening to be able to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit and therefore become more sustainable. Read more: Grow your own»

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