Our demand for out-of-season foods all year round creates "food miles" which
means that foods travel literally from across the other side of the world to
appear in our local supermarkets. This results in huge transportation costs,
threatens local farmers' livelihoods, and adds to the problems of pollution
from air and road travel. There is also potential for exploitation of third
world countries as we strive to find cheaper and cheaper produce. In terms of
health, foods are often picked before they are ripe and before they have reached
their peak for nutrient content. Some foods are stored for
many weeks, further depleting nutrient content.
Do we really need apples from far-flung nations when we have hundreds of
wonderful English varieties?
Do we really need to have strawberries in October
that taste so vastly inferior to our home-grown crops which peak in June?
Many people are rejecting the concept of 'cheap food', available 24 hours a
day, all year round, as they discover the many hidden costs to this way of
living. There is ultimately a cost to pay in terms of your pocket, your health
and the environment.
A good way forward is to buy from your local
Farmers' markets are gradually increasing in number and provide fresh,
locally-grown produce in season. A typical farmers' market contains not only
quality fruits and vegetables but also breads, meats, cheeses, eggs, honey,
herbs. There are often unusual foods such as ostrich eggs or meats from
rare-breed animals and buffalo milk cheese. Because everything is grown locally
and picked in season, this means fresher, tastier foods with a high nutrient
content from produce harvested at its peak.