Thursday, September 9, 2010

Victoria's Green Matters - 9th Sept

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

We have heard some quite alarming stories this week about the excessive transport of food from manufacturer to retailer. We have come to associate the term ‘food miles’ with the import of food from far distant lands but these stories concern transport within the UK.

A tub of clotted cream, made in Cornwall, is transported 340 miles to a Tesco distribution centre and then to the Tesco store in Redruth, 2 miles from the creamery where it was produced. A similar situation is happening with Ginster’s pasties, made in Callington, in Cornwall, and taken on a roundtrip of some 250 miles to a Tesco store next door to the bakery where they were produced. We can be sure that these are only two of many thousands of examples of this procedure.

The clocking up of food miles in these examples is surely madness. There is no point in advertising ‘local’ food if that food has travelled hundreds of miles, particularly if it really was local in the first place. While we may try very hard to buy only foods grown or made in the UK, it is infuriating to find that local foods may have travelled further than imported ones. When oil becomes scarce, and therefore very expensive, the practice of transporting food vast distances will no longer be a viable option.

It is important that we buy foods as close to where they were produced as possible and that means using local shops that stock locally made goods that have not travelled from a central distribution warehouse. A vegetable box scheme, delivered to your door and sourced from local farmers, is a very good way of reducing your food miles and eating vegetables that are in season.

So, think twice before only using the supermarket: can a local supplier serve your needs better? Reduce your food miles, your carbon footprint and help to keep our high street shops open.

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