Over the past year I have become increasingly aware of where my food comes from. Where does our food come from? I went to the supermarket today and spotted satsumas from Uruguay, peppers from Chile, potatoes from America, bananas from Columbia, apples from South Africa and kiwis from New Zealand. Even my local farmer’s market imports a lot of it’s produce from far off lands.
It makes me feel so uncomfortable thinking about the air miles of my food, not to mention the probable lower nutritional content, what it’s been sprayed with and how long ago it was picked. There is of course the argument that these poorer nations need our custom, but in the back of my mind I can’t help thinking that if we didn’t use their agricultural space they’d be able to grow food for the millions starving in their own country. It’s all so confusing.
When I was younger my Mum would use a trip to the supermarket as a teaching opportunity (brave woman). She would talk to us about how the food grew, what colour it was, the shape and whereabouts the country is located.
I would say that about 70% of our food shop is fruit and veg so it feels appropriate that I should try and reduce our family’s impact on the environment. A few months ago I decided to really try and only buy fruit and veg that is grown within Europe, so at least the food miles are drastically reduced – I’m working on getting around the other issues, and sticking within our food budget. I came back with potatoes from Holland, lettuce from the UK, celery from the UK, strawberries from Spain, courgettes from Spain, broccoli from Holland, oranges from Spain, spinach from the UK and pears from Holland. Makes me feel much more at ease.
Understandably, organic produce is usually grown much closer to home as it’s not sprayed with harsh preservative pesticides. I did try for a few months getting organic fruit and veg boxes delivered from company Abel & Cole but with no amount of money jiggling could I keep within our monthly food budget. The other big organic delivery company in the UK is Riverford’s. Both Abel & Cole and Riverford’s can deliver all manner of organic food produced close to your home – milk, bread, cheese, smoothies,chocolate etc.
There really is no denying that organic food tastes much more delicious than it’s non-organic equivalent…particularly tomatoes, berries and carrots. My husband remembers the special moment he tasted the most gorgeous blood oranges in the world – they really were divine. In the meantime, I will eagerly look forward to a pay rise and the day my fridge is rammed with organic fruit and veg! Paradise!
I agree with you, it’s always so hard knowing your fruits & vegetables have been grown so far from home. Especially with the toxins, bacteria and what not. Organic is always the better choice but I find that when on a budget, it works to stick to the “dirty dozen” rule. The dirty dozen rule is basically just a list of fruits & vegetables that you should avoid buying unless they’re organic. This list can be found here http://www.eatingwell.com/food_news_origins/organic_natural/dirty_dozen_plus_14_foods_you_should_buy_organic. I hope that helps a bit!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’ve heard of the ‘dirty dozen’ before and you have reminded me that I need to memorise it asap! Thanks for the link. I will be checking it out! 🙂
Esther do you have a garden? Try to make room for a few vegetable plants. Green houses come in all sizes now and once you have made the initial investment you are looking at very cheap and extremely delicious produce, lovely experiences with your children, and free therapy (nothing like working in the garden to make life right again). We have broccoli and cauliflower in right now. Tomatoes and squash go in next week, two peach trees and one apple. The peaches should be glorious this year!!! Let us know what you come up with 🙂
I also have a rhubarb plant that has gone berserk. Haven’t decided what to do with it yet…..
Helen! Thanks. We do have a very tiny garden and last year grew lots of onions, cabbages and green beans. There’s really not room for much more, unless I swap the shed for a greenhouse (tempting). Going to do courgettes and squash this year…our herb garden is the only bit that seems to thrive and the sunlight isn’t great either. I applied for an allotment about a year ago – the waiting list is between 2-3 years! 🙁 I love stewed rhubarb in my porridge! x