Buying direct from farmers
Many of us are concerned about our food and the global food industry. Our existing patterns of food production are not fit for a low-carbon, resource constrained future. And yet, because of the globalisation of our food supplies in recent years, it is not always easy to buy locally produced food on the high-street. Wholesome, nutritious food is essential for our health and wellbeing.
Buying local organic food from a local producer can be a life-affirming experience, and the benefits of local food are clear:
- It's good for the environment - less road and air transport, less packaging, less pollution, less waste
- It's good for your local economy - it keeps money in your local area, creating jobs and businesses locally and giving farmers a bigger cut of the price-tag you pay
- It's good for your community - making links between people in urban areas and the countryside
- It's good for your health - fresher food, with improved nutrient levels, containing fewer contaminants
Field to Fork
Watch these four short animations about local food made by Worth Valley Young Farmers in West Yorkshire...
Support your local farmer
You can support your local farmers directly at a time when they need a loyal secure market by seeking out local food whenever you shop. Despite there sometimes being a paucity of local produce in supermarkets and high-street grocers, the growth of local food networks in recent years has started to rebuild some of the local food infrastructure that previous generations would have taken for granted.
Organic box schemes are now available across the country and deliver fresh seasonal produce direct from the grower delivered to your door or to a central pick-up point. Farmers' markets have also sprung up around the country, giving the opportunity for you go enjoy the colourful and relaxed atmosphere, talk to the farmer and take home freshly picked and produced food. Meanwhile there has been a renaissance in farm shops offering direct farm gate sales - many of the farms on our organic farm network feature shops and cafés. And if you want to go a step further and get more involved in supporting your local farm, a new concept called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is springing up across the country where members of the public invest in their local farm in return for a share in the harvest. Follow the links below to find out where to find out where you can buy local food from your local farmers:
School farmers' markets
The Soil Association, in partnership with the Mid Wales Food and Land Trust, is establishing farmers' markets in school playgrounds. This follows a successful pilot with three schools within the Shropshire hills last year and the experience of the Mid Wales Food and Land Trust in Wales over the last five years.
School farmers' markets provide an innovative way of creating new markets for local producers, as well as hands-on educational experiences for children. They provide new access to fresh local food for parents and the community, creating a new food culture and social interaction.