Is it better to buy local or organic?

Much more UK-produced organic food is now available than a few years ago, so it is misleading to suggest that people are always faced with a polar choice between eating ‘organic’ or ‘local’ food.

Ultimately – it is up to you as a consumer to make a choice. The ideal choice would be local and organic. Local refers to distribution, whereas organic refers to the methods of production – therefore the two should be synonymous.

Moreover, when shopping for food we should ask ourselves, what does ‘local’ really mean? Much local non-organic food will have clocked-up hundreds of food miles even before it leaves the farm – from animal feed, pesticides and fertilisers, which are largely produced off-farm and often imported. In contrast, organic farming is an intrinsically local system because it utilises natural processes on the farm to control pests and fertilise the soil.

Food miles are just one environmental impact of modern agriculture. Organic farming also supports more wildlife, causes less pollution and waste and substantially reduces the use of fossil fuels.

More and more consumers are buying local, organic food. Sales though box schemes and farmers’ markets are growing faster than supermarket sales of organic food.

A great way to source organic food in your local area is to use a veg box scheme. Buying fresh seasonal organic produce from local farmers through a local farmers' market, farm shop or box scheme is a really great way to eat healthily, protect the environment, ensure full traceability and support local farmers and the local economy.

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