Eat better, eat local

Why and how do we eat better and eat local?

There is unequivocal evidence that we need to increase landscape biodiversity, relocalise supply and eat less meat in order to improve the sustainability of our food system. What we now need are opportunities to grow more food through agroecological methods, to transport and distribute this food to everyone, and to learn about what to do with planet-friendly produce. Collectively, growing more, wasting less and cooking with the seasons could give us the nutrients we need to maintain a healthy sustainable diet, full of wholefoods and low on processed. And it would slow the acceleration caused by capitalism.

Investing our money in initiatives that support this change are crucial. New innovations, like smart urban farming, and local retailers, like Better Food, help to support such diets when convenience is required. Meanwhile education at schools and in the community around growing, cooking, preserving and storing food can instil more long-term behavioural changes at home. For instance, having the skills to make sauerkraut could bring much needed nutrition to northern climates during the hunger gap.

Local, most of the time

On occasion, we may wish to supplement our diets during the hunger gap with foods from Europe. Imported food should be grown outdoors (as opposed to energy-intensive greenhouses), are traded fairly and which support local economies. If these foods support people’s livelihoods and are more environmentally friendly then it may be worth in our investment on occasion. Citrus, for instance, in addition to providing Vitamin C, is important for prolonging the life of certain foods and for cleaning and deodorising. You can’t get that with cabbage.

Ultimately, we have to make our decisions based on the best evidence and on our values and preferences.

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For more research on the health benefits of citrus, see the FAO website. Citrus can be grown outdoors in Britain and brought inside for winter. So it is a great plant to consider if you have the space at home. Commercially there are no organic UK suppliers we know of. So currently Better Food source our citrus from Hector of Biovergel in Spain. At 1,300 miles from farm to shop they are not exactly local, but this is important to highlight as we continue discussions on what it means to ‘eat better, eat local’. We ensure that food is ethically sourced, and local and organic where possible. For healthy diets, perhaps local may need to vary depending on the seasons. In the meantime, we should find ways to increase local supply and educate on seasonal eating.

The food system is complex, and many challenges lie ahead. We at Better Food hope that we can offer some insight into these issues. And as always, we appreciate your input. If you would like to contribute to our blog series or share news that you think is worth sharing, then comment below. Alternatively, send us an email: marketing@betterfood.co.uk

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