Eating Sustainably

Eating Sustainably

When we go food shopping, most of the time we don’t pay any mind to where or when our produce comes from. We see the fruit aisle stocked with strawberries in winter, yet we don’t actually consider whether they’re in season.We don’t take into account the amount of fuel needed to fly imported strawberries half way across the world. We don’t think about the time they take to get from farm to table. Instead, all we think about is how much we want the sweet fleshy berry in our mouths. You pick up a punnet for £3, excited to have an indulgent night in front of the TV, glass of wine in hand, a bowl of strawberries and cream in the other. You take the first bite of the berry… and realise they’re not quite as good as you thought they’d be. The answer – eating sustainably.


eating sustainably


Why is this?

Locality and seasonality have a huge influence on the flavour of produce – especially fruits and vegetables. Strawberries in winter are most likely imported, meaning that by the time they get to supermarket shelves, flavour is impaired for the simple fact they’re no longer as fresh. Strawberries in winter are also more likely to cost more than summer berries due to import and fuel costs. Simply put, fresh produce that’s out of season is nowhere near as good as it can be, will burn a hole in your pocket and ultimately leave you feeling disappointed.

Food that is not sustainable has a huge effect on the environment. The reasons why are simple. With over half of UK food imported, Co2 emissions from transporting the produce from farm to supermarket shelves thousands of miles away dramatically increases our carbon footprint. As we are increasingly sourcing our produce from other countries, co2 emissions from the farm production will increase too. What this means is that outsourcing our food production not only has a negative effect on our own country, but also influences the carbon footprint in others. Admittedly, I’m not particularly environmentally conscious – but I do try and buy local wherever I can to do my bit.

Local and in season produce is always better. By reducing our food miles, the time from harvest to consumption is decreased, resulting in a better quality product that is fresher and tastier.



Support local businesses by eating sustainably

Buying local not only supports local businesses and boosts local economy through the production of jobs, but also preserves open space. The higher the demand for local produce means that more land will be bought by farms, preserving green space from urban redevelopments. Easing sustainably also encourages diversification in the crops grown, reducing the reliance on single crop reduction which can in turn become detrimental to the soils in the long run. There’s also less waste – as the foods will be fresher, there’s less likely that the crops will spoil before hitting supermarket shelves.

How do I know where produce has come from?

Easy! Fresh produce is often explicit about where it has come from. The country of origin is usually clearly stated on the front of the packaging. Keep an eye out for the place of origin next time you’re out shopping – you’ll be shocked at how much food comes from abroad! If we make conscious decisions to eat food that has been produced locally – we are automatically eating in season. Buying food that’s been produced locally will almost always be cheaper, too!

Whilst we may not be thinking about where our food comes from or whether it’s in season, it’s really easy to swap out a few of our usual buys for better quality produce. Instead of buying out of season goods that don’t taste as good or as fresh, try researching what is in season and centre your shopping list around this. This will mean your dishes are tastier and won’t cost as much – and who can complain about this?





11 thoughts on “Eating Sustainably”

  • my partner and I already try to do this as much as possible — one question I have is about local markets. how do I know where this food has come from? we generally assume the ‘in season’ stuff is local, but some of the more exotic produce definitely has to come from elsewhere.. any thoughts?

    • I guess speak to your local market or wherever you get your produce from! They’ll be able to tell you where it’s come from – as a rule of thumb I generally try cut down the amount of exotic produce I buy but sometimes it’s unavoidable 🙂

  • I’ve been trying to eat more locally but it can be really expensive! I guess the trick is to work out what you can afford and what will make the most difference and concentrate on that.

  • This is definitely something I really need to think more about! I have started buying my fruit and veg from a fresh fruit and veg stall near me that only stocks fresh in season produce so stock changes all the time but it has encouraged me to try new things!

  • This is definitely something I have been trying to be more considerate of recently! I have started buying my fruit and veg from a fresh fruit and veg stall near me. They only stock in season produce which has also encouraged me to try new things!

  • We don’t have many local farm shops etc but will be moving to the countryside soon and the thought of being able to grow our own fruit and veg and visit farms for what we can’t grow ourselves makes me so happy!

  • Eating seasonally and sustainably is so important for our planet. When I grew up you ate what was fresh from the garden and it’s a shame we’ve moved away from that way of life

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