As Seasonarians, we believe that a sustainable lifestyle of eating seasonally and locally is possible again…after all, that is what we used to do! But why is this kind of lifestyle important in our modern world?
Eating food that has had a short journey from field to fork has a long list of benefits to you, your community and the environment (One Home, Positive Solutions). These benefits include:
Every mile your food travels, more carbon emissions are produced. The combined impact of importation and deforestation that has taken place for produce to be grown is extremely destructive to the environment. By eating seasonally and locally you can help reduce the demand for foods that come from overseas, and by doing this you will contribute to a reduction in deforestation, habitat destruction and carbon emissions. In other words, you will be nothing short of a lifesaver!
By sourcing food locally and following the seasons, you will be supporting your local food producers. If you grow produce yourself, you will save a large amount of money that you would otherwise spend on groceries. The price of one supermarket lettuce could buy you 200 seeds!
A local food economy is more resilient
The occurrence of events like extreme weather, a natural disaster or a pandemic highlight the fragility of our food supply chain. Growing your own or sourcing local produce would create a far more resilient food chain because fewer factors can negatively influence your food supply. This was evident during the outbreak of COVID-19, when many supermarket shelves were empty and people struggled to get the food they needed.
Local food is seasonal and healthy
Foods that are not in season take more energy to grow and transport, which means more carbon emissions. For example, asparagus flown in from South America has a carbon footprint that is 28 times higher than asparagus grown in the UK. As local food has a much shorter journey from field to fork, it retains its freshness, nutrients and flavour, and will provide you with a varied and colourful diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Furthermore, local and seasonal food is often cheaper, and knowing where your food comes from is always reassuring.
Another part of sustainable eating is wasting as little food as possible and knowing how to deal with your food waste appropriately. As your mother has probably told you, wasting food is like ‘throwing money in the bin.’ Unfortunately, this is a time we need to accept our mothers are right. Every year, £12.5 billion worth of food is thrown away, equating to roughly £60 per family every month. In fact, more than a third of all food produced worldwide is wasted (World Economic Forum). Not only is wasting food extraordinarily expensive, it is very damaging to the environment. If everyone in Britain stopped wasting food, the carbon impact would be equivalent to taking 1 in every 4 cars off UK roads (One Home, Positive Solutions)).
Check out the World Economic Forum for easy ways to reduce your food waste.
How can I eat sustainably when eating out?
A staggering 25% of the food we eat is eaten at restaurants, cafes, takeaways or food-to-go. You can make sustainable choices when eating out through the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), whose members (which include cafes, hotels and restaurants) source food responsibly and treat all workers fairly. Check out SRAs map of members to find sustainable places to eat near you.