What Does Buy Local Mean?

Buy local.Fresh vegetables

That’s the third challenge for my carbon fast.

But what exactly does ‘buy local’ mean?

Does it mean that I only buy from businesses close to where I am?

I can walk or ride (or even catch a bus) to local businesses. 🙂

But buying from a local business doesn’t mean that their stock is sourced locally.

Take, for example, the other day, when one of my children talked me into buying a treat for afternoon tea.

I suggested that we could make our own, but she would not be in it.

I could rationalise that her preferred treat was baked with far more energy efficiency than I could ever do…and that the packaging could be recycled.

But the special treat that she wanted was made in the Netherlands (it’s a Dutch speciality)?…and, because I don’t live in the Netherlands, that means that it comes with huge food miles and therefore (with our current transport systems) huge greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s without even considering whether it came by air (which is far worse for environmentally than transport by ship)…or from where and how the ingredients were sourced?

So I think it is very important to choose to eat food close to where it is produced.

I prefer to grow a lot of our food at home. That reduces food miles to a few steps. 😉

But, thanks to my garden being insufficiently prepared for the horrendous heat and insufficient bees we had this summer, we don’t have much food in our garden at the moment.

And yet I can still get most of my food from producers pretty close to home. 🙂

I simply take my shopping jeep for a bus ride (and walk) to my local farmers market.  There I can stock up on local fruit and vegetables…even eggs, honey, olive oil and meat. And, if you extend the definition of ‘local’ to include the nearest sea some 150km away, I can even buy seafood. (And that seafood (like the fruit and vegetables) has come direct…not via some faraway centralised market and/or storehouse. :))

But there are some things we often eat that are not produced (or at least produced and available to buy) close to where I live. These include cereals and most processed food…and bananas, coconut, chocolate and coffee.

In the interests of trying hard during this carbon fast, I have not bought any bananas or coconut products (including my favorite, vegan coconut yogurt).

But if we want to ensure our food is sustainably sourced, we may have to reconsider what we put in our mouths…at least until our transport and agriculture systems are not based on fossil fuels like oil and gas.

What are your thoughts on eating local food?  Just leave your comments in the Reply box below…or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!