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Going to the supermarket for food to help us eat healthily is part of most of our routines now. In fact, how much attention do you pay to where the food you are buying has come from?
Eating local produce can have a big impact on your shopping experience, food bill, education about the food in question and impact on your community. Therefore, to eat healthily, you need to educate yourself about your food.
Buy Directly from Local Producers
Buying directly from a local farm or farmers’ market helps the farmer to get a good price for their product, so build a good relationship with the local farmer and you may even be able to negotiate deals with them, something you can’t do in a supermarket.
Therefore, you will encourage more community spirit. You get to know your producers and build a relationship with them. This relationship will allow you to help them by buying regularly from them and it will help you by the producers rewarding your loyalty with deals.
Improves Local Economy
Money spent on local produce stays within the community. As a result, this allows the producer’s business to grow and potentially provide jobs.
There are less links in the chain, if you buy directly from the producer. Therefore, the food is fresher.
Producers can offer multiple varieties of one food if they don’t have to worry about food miles travelled.
Different food varieties have different flavours. For example, tomatoes can vary in taste, as can onions. The more choice you have the better you can match it to the type of meal you want to make.
Less time travelling means fresher food. Therefore, if you buy locally for better quality food then the farmer can earn more. This allows more money to be injected back into their business.
If you want to ensure you eat healthily, the quality of your food is an important factor.
Eating seasonal food is usually cheaper and the produce is at its best. As a result, buying seasonally and locally gets it from farm to fork quicker.
Buying directly from the producer can reduce packaging, so take a good strong (preferably non-plastic) bag and pile everything in.
Packaging to protect supermarket produce in transit can be over the top. However, packaging can be reduced if it doesn’t have to travel. It can show itself off in all its glory.
Farmers who follow organic and sustainable energy and practices, help farmland remain in the local community. In other words, there is less chance of contamination if there are less steps that the food goes through to get to your plate.
Better Health Benefits
Nutrients may be lost the longer it takes for the produce to get to you and you certainly need nutrients to eat healthily.
Local producers can build more of a relationship with regular customers and can subsequently offer advice on how to prepare or cook the food.
Where Are Local Food Producers in Your Area?
Big Barn is a website that lists farm shops, farmers’ markets, butchers, delicatessens by postcode.
Farmers’ markets are a treasure trove of goodies. They open your mind to different varieties of food and allow you to interact with the person who produced it. As a result, you can find out more about the food’s origins and a bit of background about the producer.
Often, market stalls reduce prices towards the end of the day because they need to clear the stall. I worked on a market stall as a teenager and used to shout out lower prices in order to attract the attention of someone passing by. Consequently, a gathering would usually form to see what else was on offer. Therefore, don’t look at it as paying less to the farmer. If they don’t sell, they’re getting zero and also it is waste.
You can get anything from meat, fish, fruit and vegetables to jams, honey, pickles and fermented products.
Farm Shops often use suppliers outside of the local area and try to source any food from within a 30-mile radius.
Some have restaurants connected to them and the meals tend to comprise of some ingredients from their own farm. They act as a social network for locals too and give them ideas of what sort of meals they can prepare at home using the food they sell in the shop.
A list of Farm Shops local to you can be found at Farm Shop UK
Box Schemes provide a variety of fresh, seasonal produce from local producers.
I ordered from a box scheme and received a Romanesco Cauliflower, which I used to make my Christmas Cauliflower.
Pick Your Own
Picking your own strawberries, raspberries or pumpkins can be a great experience, especially with your children and it helps them understand where your food comes from.
Going to farms and picking strawberries yourself seems to make the strawberries taste better, as if you’ve grown them yourself. Having an active role makes you feel good about eating it.
Community Supported Agriculture
You can invest in farms if you want to get more involved with local produce and helping your community. It allows customers to gain produce, invest in the producer and commit to a fixed period to help give the producer a more stable income. The Community Supported Agriculture website explains more.
These act like a co-operative. They follow a similar format to Farmers’ Markets and are usually held weekly. The Country Markets website will let you search for one using your postcode.
Buy Milk Direct
You can find farms to buy your milk directly from on the Farmers Weekly website.
In conclusion, there are many ways you can help improve the quality of your food, eat healthily and improve a local business.
Community relationships can be built so your normal robotic walk round the supermarket can be turned into a more pleasurable experience.