Green Alternatives - Green SolutionsGreen Alternatives – Green Solutions

Buying exotic foods that don’t grow in a our normal climate has become such a normalised part of our culture that few people stop to think about how we can eat these foods without damaging the environment. The short answer is: we can’t. Food miles refer to the amount of distance a food travels between production and consumer.

This includes the place where it is grown, the place it is transported to for packaging and chilling, the flight from one country to another, its journey from touching down to reaching the stores it’s sold in and, finally, from the store to the consumer’s refrigerator. Wow, that’s a long way. A whole lot of carbon emissions will be released into the atmosphere during that journey – and the worrying thing is, this happens on a mass scale every single day.

There’s no getting around the environmental impact of food flown thousands of miles to be eaten by somebody who could just as easily have picked something grown seasonally in their own area. But supply and demand reigns supreme in commerce, and so long as people keep filling the demand for these foods with high air miles, companies will keep supplying them.

So what are some green alternatives to mindlessly perusing the shelves in your nearest store and picking up whatever looks the most appetizing, rather than actually thinking about where the food came from?

You Can Try These Green Options….

1. Grow your own. This is the most obvious and immediate way to reduce food miles, of course. There’s not much distance to cover between your back yard and your kitchen, and even that distance doesn’t emit any carbon emissions, given that there are no vehicles but your own two feet involved!

Green Alternatives - Green Solutions

2. Shop at farmers markets. Not only is this an eco-friendly way to feed you and your family, but it’s fun too. Getting to know your local farmers is a delight, sharing banter and compelling conversation each week as you stock up on nutritious goodies to enjoy in the coming days. For minimum environmental impact, put a basket on the front of your bike and cycle there! The only food miles involved here are the ones the farmer has travelled from his farm a few miles away.

3. Buy at local butchers, bakers, green grocers and other food suppliers. Often these shops will be run by farmers anyway, so it’s a great alternative if you don’t have a farmers market in your area or if it only operates once and week and isn’t enough to keep you and your family going for seven days.

4. Eat seasonally. If you do decide to continue shopping at your nearest big-brand store, at least try to eat seasonally, locally grown goods. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue once you realise just how much more expensive things are when bought out of season! Someone has to pay for all those flights the food takes across the globe, you know! Just think about how expensive strawberries are in the winter, compared with when you buy them in the summer. That should be enough to stop your unseasonal eating habits in their tracks!

Why Should You Make These Changes?

By trying to eat foods grown locally instead of things shipped and flown thousands of miles, you’ll not only benefit the earth by reducing carbon emissions, but you’ll benefit your own health too, as locally grown foods are often more nutritious.

Food that hasn’t been packed up, frozen, and flown halfway around the world tastes better too. There’s a huge difference between picking a sun-warmed tomato off the plant in your back garden and eating a chilled, tasteless one grown hundreds of miles away.

Ed Markwell, a well-known blogger describes many environment-friendly ways to improve your lifestyle in his blogs. You can get  more information on the site.


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