Even growing my own fruit and veg I still need to buy from the shops from time to time however this does not mean my ability to choose what food passes my lips gets left at the allotment. If anything I am more particular because I do not want to eat something that has travelled thousands of miles, been stored for days and by the time I get it, it is way past its best and unless eaten pretty much immediately it ends up in the bin.
I have heard the argument that buying local means you pay more money or it takes longer because you have to wander around your local town to different stalls or to the local shops in your village. I understand time and money is tight but you would be surprised that actually my local fruit and veg market is cheaper than the supermarket for many of their products. On top of this it lasts so much longer so the value for money is so much better. UK families apparently throw away 24 meals a month with Britons throwing away 4.2m tonnes of food and drink overall every year, with the top three foods being left uneaten and discarded being bread, potatoes and milk. I am not saying that all of this waste is due to the food being off as I am sure this isn’t the case, however much of it is and the rest could be contributed to the fact that when you are in the supermarket you are tempted to fill your trolley with loads of items not on your original shopping list. When you go round your local stalls or small local shops you only buy what you have gone there for and what you know you need for a meal or two. Many years ago mum would go to the shop daily to get the food so only bought exactly what was required for that day and nothing extra. Rationing made the ability to buy more than what was needed more difficult but even so there was a lot less waste.
For example if you go to your greengrocers for your fruit and veg, you buy loose and buy the amount you need for your family, if you go to the supermarket they are full of deals of 2 for 1 or buy 2 for £3 etc etc which entices you to buy 2 bags of oranges, how many of you throw the second bag away after a few days simply because you didn’t really need it so it didn’t get eaten and therefore it contributes to that 4.2 million of wasted food. That deal doesn’t work out quite so good as it did when you were in the supermarket does it?
On top of the reduced waste benefit of buying local there is the added nutritional value. Food that hasn’t been transported hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles, stored for days and thrown in and out of vans and trolleys is far fresher and therefore holds a far better nutritional value. If you pick a tomato straight from the plant and eat it you will know exactly what I mean, believe me after eating food straight off the plant you will be reluctant to go back to anything else!
Finally growing and/or buying local gives you and your family that connection with the land from which it was grown and how food is produced. This is so important for the next generation, they need to know peas come from pods, potatoes are dirty in the greengrocers because they are dug from the ground, not washed and put in fancy packets, carrots have stalks and are not all of uniformed shape. This is such an important life lesson for our children.