Christmas Food could be miles better

There has been much talk of the need to reduce Carbon dioxide pollution, which causes Climate Change. One simple way we can all help is by changing what we buy. Choose fresh local produce from a greengrocer or farm shop, rather than old produce from a supermarket which has travelled hundreds of miles to get to you. Transport contributes 34% of greenhouse gases in the UK.

The cost of food miles to the UK, including time lost from congestion, road wear and tear, ill health from pollution and noise, and road crashes, is £9 billion a year. The average distance we drive to shop for food each year in the UK is 898 miles, compared with 747 in 1992.*

We have all heard the good advice to aim to eat five fruit and veg a day. To ensure that your food has not lost essential vitamins try and buy little and often. To reduce consumption of pesticides buy British and European foodstuffs, as the EU has some of the strictest rules in the world restricting their overuse.
You can support the Friday Farmers and Producers Market in Newport and buy local produce. The local companies attending help reduce ‘food miles’ and thus help the environment whilst also creating sustainable jobs. Those attending include, Afton Park near Freshwater, Godshill Organics, Horringford Gardens near Newport, the Farm Shop at Arreton Barns and Briddlesford Lodge Farm, Wootton. The local Countryside, (formerly WI), Markets, also stock locally produced foodstuffs as do many of the Island’s car boot sales and allotment societies. Farmhouse Fayre in St James Street, Newport also sells Isle of Wight fruit and vegetables when in season. Hamilton’s, and most locally owned butchers, sell IW meat and eggs. Phillips Fine Foods are the largest fish and seafood company on the Island and are able to offer a variety of local products to both trade and retail customers

Green entrepreneurs Jackie Phillips and Rachel Foy from the The Real Island Food Company are extending availability of local produce by offering a weekly delivery service of a broad selection of local foods at very competitive prices. They have a wide-ranging customer base, including busy mums with families, people with disabilities and elderly people without transport.

Horringford Gardens do a local produce delivery every week, this includes vegetables as well as eggs, pork, lamb and beef and preserves. This service is open to visitors, just simply order through the website before you leave;

Why not try Godshill Organics, there is a farm shop on site and they also provide a local organic box scheme.

Remember that ‘local food’ in supermarkets will often have travelled to the mainland to be packaged. We would suggest that organic produce which has travelled more than 100 miles has practically lost any of its ‘green’ credentials. For example buy local garlic rather than ‘organic’ from Israel.
One New Year resolution could be to give over a part of your garden or patio to growing some vegetables. You don’t need a lot of space to grow tomatoes, herbs and even potatoes. There are some 500 people on the Council’s waiting list for allotments, so you may have some wait to get a plot. The Footprint Trust will be launching an “Adopt-A-Garden” scheme in the new year – whereby gardeners ‘adopt’ an uncared for garden and use it as a growing space for themselves. Contact The Footprint Trust, Newport Quay, PO30 2QR.


* Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005

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