A bowl of blackberries next to a freshly picked lettuce

Eat Seasonally, Eat Local

"The joy of eating seasonally is the joy of eating fresh produce and fresh foods." Anna Lappe, sustainable food advocate
A bowl of blackberries next to a freshly picked lettuce


Eat Seasonally, Eat Locally

 

Eating seasonally and local can take a serious chunk off your environmental footprint while allowing you more control over your food sources and boosting the local economy.

1. Local Farmers' Markets

2. Veg Boxes

3. Is it in Season?

4. Woofing, grow your own & allotment initiatives

Eating seasonally and local can take a serious chunk off your environmental footprint while allowing you more control over your food sources and boosting the local economy.

1. Local Farmers' Markets

2. Veg Boxes

3. Is it in Season?

4. Woofing, grow your own & allotment initiatives

Local Farmers' Markets

Keep your friends close and your farmers closer

The resurgence in the local organic farmers’ market has stoked rural economies, helped bring back a sense of community to villages and cities, as well as considerably reducing the food miles of produce. – We can reduce the carbon footprint of your food by up to 6% by eating locally. What’s more, local farmers can now get a higher price for their produce, which is reflected in the quality, while you minimize the impact of your food shopping.

Organic leaks and carrots on sale at a farmers' market

Local Farmers' Markets

Keep your friends close and your farmers closer

The resurgence in the local organic farmers’ market has stoked rural economies, helped bring back a sense of community to villages and cities, as well as considerably reducing the food miles of produce. – We can reduce the carbon footprint of your food by up to 6% by eating locally.

Organic leaks and carrots on sale at a farmers' market

What’s more, local farmers can now get a higher price for their produce, which is reflected in the quality, while you minimize the impact of your food shopping.

Veg boxes

Fresh and local produce delivered to your door

For some time now, I have had a veg box delivered to my door by a local organic farm. I leave 10 euros under my door mat each Tuesday, and in return receive a box of seasonal fruit and vegetables. This simple exchange ensures minimal food miles, zero packaging and deliciously organic produce.

Freshly harvested vegetables including pumpkin, aubergine, green peppers and runner beans
Freshly harvested vegetables including pumpkin, aubergine, green peppers and runner beans

Veg Boxes

Fresh and local produce delivered to your door

For some time now, I have had a veg box delivered to my door by a local organic farm. I leave 10 euros under my door mat each Tuesday, and in return receive a box of seasonal fruit and vegetables. This simple exchange ensures minimal food miles, zero packaging and deliciously organic produce.

Of course, at times, I might receive some veg I’m not partial to, but such greens can all ways be blitzed into a soup. There are even more sophisticated veg boxes that come with recipe ideas and offer a wider variety of choice such Riverford and Oddbox in the UK or FarmBoxDirect in the U.S.

An organic food store advertising boxes of vegetables and pasture raised chicken

Buying local promotes more local wealth, utilizes less plastic and reduces the use of fossil fuels.

Is it in Season?

Fewer food miles, more nutritional value

Buying seasonally has two major benefits. Firstly, unseasonally grown foods have a larger carbon footprint due to the additional heating, lighting, water and in worse case pesticides required to grow them out of season. Secondly, it is said that eating produce that is purchased in season is more likely to be fresher, consumed closer to harvesting and higher in nutritional value, some anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, folate and carotenes will rapidly decline when stored for periods of time.

To help you remember what is in or out of season, we suggest investing in a seasonal fruit and vegetable chart available here for just £4.99. Another trick or rule of thumb is to look for the origin and price per kilo. If the veg in question is from the country you are in, it is likely to be the right season for it, while a comparatively higher price per kilo than normal suggests the veg is out of season.

Heirloom Tomatoes on sale at a farmers' market
A watering can pouring water over vegetables in an allotment

Woofing, grow your own & allotment initiatives

 

Growing food in small spaces

Some years ago, I had the fortune to volunteer on an adhoc basis at a small permaculture farm in return for a bag of veggies each week. In doing so, I learnt a lot about organic and sustainable farming, while knowing all my produce was 100% bio and had zero food miles.

Is there a farm near you that you could volunteer at? If not, what about WWOOFing? WWOOF organisations connect people who want to live and learn on organic farms and smallholdings with people who want to share their lifestyles, teach new skills and welcome volunteer help. There are places in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Oceania. If your looking for something closer to home, then contact your local council regarding any allotment initiatives in your town or village.

Of course, at times, I might receive some veg I’m not partial to, but such greens can all ways be blitzed into a soup. There are even more sophisticated veg boxes that come with recipe ideas and offer a wider variety of choice such Riverford and Oddbox in the UK or FarmBoxDirect in the U.S.

An organic food store advertising boxes of vegetables and pasture raised chicken

Buying local promotes more local wealth, utilizes less plastic and reduces the use of fossil fuels.

Jars of local raspberry honey on display

Supporting your local beekeeper

Having fewer local beekeepers threatens local agriculture. Since nearly one-third of the food we eat relies on bees for pollination, we need to support local beekeepers too.

Is it in Season?

Fewer food miles, more nutritional value

Buying seasonally has two major benefits. Firstly, unseasonally grown foods have a larger carbon footprint due to the additional heating, lighting, water and in worse case pesticides required to grow them out of season. Secondly, it is said that eating produce that is purchased in season is more likely to be fresher, consumed closer to harvesting and higher in nutritional value, some anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, folate and carotenes will rapidly decline when stored for periods of time.

Heirloom Tomatoes on sale at a farmers' market

To help you remember what is in or out of season, we suggest investing in a seasonal fruit and vegetable chart available here for just £4.99. Another trick or rule of thumb is to look for the origin and price per kilo. If the veg in question is from the country you are in, it is likely to be the right season for it, while a comparatively higher price per kilo than normal suggests the veg is out of season.

Woofing, grow your own & allotment initiatives

Growing food in small spaces

Some years ago, I had the fortune to volunteer on an adhoc basis at a small permaculture farm in return for a bag of veggies each week. In doing so, I learnt a lot about organic and sustainable farming, while knowing all my produce was 100% bio and had zero food miles.

A watering can pouring water over vegetables in an allotment

Is there a farm near you that you could volunteer at? If not, what about WWOOFing? WWOOF organisations connect people who want to live and learn on organic farms and smallholdings with people who want to share their lifestyles, teach new skills and welcome volunteer help. There are places in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Oceania. If your looking for something closer to home, then contact your local council regarding any allotment initiatives in your town or village.

Jars of local raspberry honey on display

Support your local beekeeper

Having fewer local beekeepers threatens local agriculture. Since nearly one-third of the food we eat relies on bees for pollination, we need to support local beekeepers too.

Sources & further reading

✅ for peer reviewed research

  1. 1. “The Food Miles Report – the dangers of long-distance food transport” – Sustain – sustainweb.org
  2.  
  3. 2. "Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States” – Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews 2008 – Environmental Science & Technology – pubs.acs.org
  4.  
  5. 3. “Local food, food miles and carbon emissions: A comparison of farm shop and mass distribution approaches” David Coley, Mark Howard, Michael Winter, L Cenci, M Tettamanti & M Berati 2007, Food Policy, Elsevier – sciencedirect.com
  6.  
  7. 4. “Food (miles) for Thought – Energy Balance for Locally-grown versus Imported Apple Fruit”Michael Blanke, Bernhard Burdick – Environmental Science and Pollution Research – springer.com
  8.  
  9. 5. ”The Benefits, Challenges, and Strategies of Adults Following a Local Food Diet ” – Byker, C., Rose, N., & Serrano, E. (2016) – Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development – foodsystemsjournal.org

Sources & further reading

✅ for peer reviewed research

  1. 1. “The Food Miles Report – the dangers of long-distance food transport” – Sustain – sustainweb.org
  2.  
  3. 2. "Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States” – Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews 2008 – Environmental Science & Technology – pubs.acs.org
  4.  
  5. 3. “Local food, food miles and carbon emissions: A comparison of farm shop and mass distribution approaches” David Coley, Mark Howard, Michael Winter, L Cenci, M Tettamanti & M Berati 2007, Food Policy, Elsevier – sciencedirect.com
  6.  
  7. 4. “Food (miles) for Thought – Energy Balance for Locally-grown versus Imported Apple Fruit”Michael Blanke, Bernhard Burdick – Environmental Science and Pollution Research – springer.com
  8.  
  9. 5. ”The Benefits, Challenges, and Strategies of Adults Following a Local Food Diet ” – Byker, C., Rose, N., & Serrano, E. (2016) – Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development – foodsystemsjournal.org