Five reasons to eat local

by robin on February 20, 2013

If you needed a reason to Eat Local, here are five great ones to get you started:

Eating local

Eating Local… supports local and rural communities. By shopping locally we are putting our money back into local communities and the rural economy. It keeps those places thriving, and the good food pubs, cafes and restaurants open.

Eat local… because we love our countryside. Put simply, where we choose to buy our food has a direct effect on the countryside around us. Local farmers are the caretakers of the landscapes and open spaces we love. Those who farm sustainably give as much back to the environment as they take. They rotate crops in a way that puts nutrients back into the land rather than using chemical fertilisers. They maintain our hedgerows and encourage wildlife and insects rather than obliterate them with chemicals and pesticides. Obviously just being ‘local’ isn’t enough. We can avoid intensive farming practices by buying directly from farm shops or farmers’ markets where we can meet the person involved in growing the food – and ask them questions. Putting our money directly in their hands means we’re helping to protect the natural resources we love.

Eating Local… keeps local traditions and skills alive. Choosing local dishes and specialities encourages regional distinctiveness and supports traditional and local skills. Dishes such as Lancashire hotpot, Welsh laverbread and Somerset cider were originally made by folk who used the best simple ingredients around them. They tasted so good that these dishes have now become the palatable fingerprint of a place. Let’s keep them going.

Eating local… means your food is fresh and fabulous. Buying from a farmers’ market means your food is likely to be in-season and fresher than if it has been freighted across the world. Food made in small batches, like a just-baked loaf from an artisan baker or plums plucked ripe from the orchard, is likely to have more flavour, care and (yes, I’Il say it…) ‘love’ in it than an item mass-produced in far of factories. The food miles and packaging are happily low too.
So, it’s better for the environment, local economy and it’s low in food miles.

Eating Local… is good for the soul. Camping holidays are about making happy memories and having new experiences – and food can be a huge part of that. Why shop in the same big chain stores, buying the same things you would at home when you can explore what’s around your campsite? Bustle in the markets, smell the freshly-baked bread in the local bakers. Trying new foods with all their colour, smells, tastes and textures is the perfect way to lift your spirits and bring back a sense of adventure.

(adapted from an excellent article by Ali Ray, and reprinted with permission from Camping and Caravan Club magazine)

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