Saturday 14 November 2020

14th November 2020 - Lockdown 2 - Day 10 - Local Food

 One of perhaps the few silver linings of the first lockdown was that when panic buying swept shelves in supermarkets clean, many people looked to local shops and suppliers to provide groceries. It does seem that to some extent, this buying pattern has continued, albeit perhaps not to the same extent. 

In a few short weeks, the UK faces a cliff edge of the final Brexit transition end point. The Road Haulage Association and many other people in the sectors of logistics and ports have warned of a crisis as the systems to handle customs declarations and inspections for goods coming in and out of the UK are nowhere near ready. This will also affect many farming, and (rather ironically) fishing businesses who export to the EU. There are major issues around certification, particularly for seeds and organic produce as the UK will leave the EU certification systems at the end of the year and there is a delay of several months for application for these from a non-EU country. 

I've mentioned before (in my Small Steps series and here) about how one can be more prepared for food supply issues. However, what one can also do is to support local producers and businesses, and this is especially important at the moment when there is such a large impact on trade from the Covid-19 pandemic and necessary lockdowns. 

So, I am starting to put together here a list of local markets, businesses and suppliers, initially in Yorkshire, that can be supported with trade. Buying locally wherever possible and from individual small businesses keeps money within the local economy, often reduces food miles, can use much less plastic and can contain fewer embodied carbon emissions. Local food in season is often fresher than items from a supermarket shelf that may - even if produced in the UK - have travelled hundreds of miles to reach the store. (However, at certain times of the year - for instance in Spring when our apples are not in season and winter stores have run out - it can make sense to buy from parts of the world where they are in season if the produce has come in bulk on ships) 

I've mentioned a few times that the two butchers I use, one of which is just around the corner from our house, source much of their meat from local farms, our nearest one sources beef, pork and lamb from a farm about three miles away. We use a farm shop which sources local vegetables when in season. Even if the produce isn't that local, the shop selling it is local, and it still supports local people who then spend their earnings in the local community and can support local businesses in the supply chain. 

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