During the current health crisis, there has been a lot of talk about the vulnerability of supply chains. But one thing few people stop to ask themselves is why our supply chains are so long in the first place. In other words, why do we buy produce and products from around the globe when there are producers and growers with these things practically in our own backyards?
Often, the easy thing is simply to pop down to the supermarket to pick up the things we need. But if we go the extra mile, we can dramatically improve not only our own health and wellbeing, but also benefit the environment – both local and global.
We are very lucky where we live that we have access to a food hub (which has also been delivering) that links people like us (consumers) with those who grow food and produce products locally. (We grow a lot of our own food – and plan to grow more. But we are not, nor can we be, entirely self-sufficient.)
One example of a foodstuff I buy locally rather than buying from the supermarket is flour. We are again very lucky because there is a local mill producing flours from very locally grown heritage grain.
It sometimes takes effort to connect with local growers and farmers. But it really does make a massive difference if, as much as possible, you can buy locally, and cut out the middle men as much as possible.
This might involve joining a CSA scheme, a veg box scheme, or visiting a farm shop or farmer’s market. It might involve joining a local community garden and not only buying from local growers but contributing to growing the food yourself.
Of course, we need more food hubs to connect everyone with those who grow their food in the local area. But in the meantime, we should all make more effort to learn who is growing food in our area, and how. We should support those taking efforts to make food production more sustainable. And make our communities stronger and healthier places by supporting growers more directly in doing the work they do.