This morning started with a short stint on the radio for me.
BBC Oxford got in touch last night whether I’d be willing to give my opinion on The Earth Trust’s new initiative “Our Footprint” which is looking to address the phenomenal 6,500 food miles our humble Sunday roast can travel before it ends up on our plate.
“We’re asking people to take part in our Friday Footprint Challenge! Once a week, try sourcing your entire evening meal from local producers. There are an array of farmers’ markets, farm shops and ‘pick your own’ places out there to choose from so it may not be as difficult as you might think. Visit our website and take a look at what some our Farm Step businesses are growing – there’s fruit, veg, salad and meat being produced right here on the Earth Trust Farm. Try shopping locally and let us know how you get on,” said Jayne Manley, Chief Executive of the Earth Trust
The principles of sourcing things locally, supporting local businesses are close to my heart. I’d love to know that my pork and lamb is from the farm down the road, as are my carrots and spuds.
However, making this happen as a family, on a single income, juggling and stretching a budget between all that we want to do is a different issue.
Shopping comes down to time, practicality and budgetary constraints.
A good example is savoy cabbage from the Vegvan costs £1.50 but is available from Lidl at £0.49. There is no contest in my mind.
— CultivateOxford (@CultivateOxford) February 7, 2015
You might argue that the locally grown produce is fresh, tastier and often organic, therefore commands a premium.
As a side issue, I have a fundamental problem with organic, besides the price, namely organic produce cannot fulfill the global need for increased food production.
Is local really more expensive?
It depends on how you define local!
So far, when I’ve looked at shopping locally at the bi-weekly farmers’ market or the local pick-your-own farm shop then the produce was significantly more expensive than at my supermarket. In the interview Jayne confirmed this being the trend.
Jayne did, however, have a very valid point:
“Look at the labels of where your food comes from.”
She brought up an example of her recent shopping experience of a butternut squash from Senegal or other squashes grown in Britain for roughly the same price. She opted for the British produce.
I do the same and have often put some yummy looking veg back on to the shelf because had traveled all the way from far away lands like Kenya or similar. I will draw the line at Spain and the Netherlands for most of my veg, but opt for the British Red Tractor if I can.
So here are my first, tiny steps for my Friday Footprint Challenge:
1. Look at the labels
2. Have at least 80% of the produce in my supermarket basket from Britain
This week I will also look at what my options are for buying locally produced foods.
What drives your weekly shopping decision for choosing the produce?
Image credit: Earth Trust
You can join the Friday Footprint challenge with current blog posts about:
- shopping locally- what treasures are you finding?
- buying seasonal
- meal plans from seasonal produce
- growing your own produce- it could be herbs or salads or keeping chickens for their eggs
- delicious recipes using seasonal produce
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