The discussion about food miles has been going on for some time. A recent article by the Guardian claims that, in some cases, buying food brought in from overseas is more ecologically sound than buying locally. The argument is that the food-miles campaign is too simplistic, pointing out that produce from third world countries uses low-carbon methods, natural fertilisers and manual labour – all of which help reduce the overall carbon footprint which would otherwise be used by local food producers (tractors, mechanised diggers and power washers, for instance) .
While this may be true of British farms forced by economics to produce massive quantities of fruit and veg for the supermarkets (much of which will be composted because it isn’t pretty enough for the shelf), it’s not true of many local farmers who aim to sell directly to the consumer.
At Taunton Farmers Market, there are two excellent local producers, Linscombe Farm and Rays Veg, who grow their own vegetables from seed using organic methods. Both are small producers and, while they might employ polytunnels to extend growing seasons, they use manual labour as their primary source of power. Digging manure into their soil each year has made it fertile, deep and full of all the good stuff a growing plant needs.,
Both these growers come from the local area and are here every week with their seasonal vegetables, picked the day before market.
Organic vegetables are not only tastier than factory-farmed ones, they are sold with the dirt still on them, which keeps them fresher and reduces the ecological impact of power washing them just for appearances sake. And talking of appearances, these vegetables are not filtered for how straight, round or pretty they are, they come as they are, warts and all, so no unnecessary chucking out of perfectly good food just because it doesn’t meet an aesthetic criteria.
There we have it: no unnecessary waste, minimum carbon miles, freshness guaranteed, and extra-nutritious to boot!
Just what you need to sit beside your Christmas Roast.
Can’t argue with that.