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Scarborough Local Food Group - link to home page

Why buy local

The food that we choose to buy and eat has an enormous influence on our culture, landscape and health. Unfortunately, we currently have a food system that serves the best interests of a centralised industry: major supermarkets control 88% of the market, a far greater concentration of retail power than in the rest of the EU or even in the USA. Recent research has shown that the interests of communities, the environment and our health are much better served by diverse local food and farming systems.

Although 70% of people say that they would prefer to shop locally it's not always easy to source local food. The Scarborough Local Food Group has produced a local food guide to make it easier for us to enjoy and thrive on local food.

Buying local food is good for our purses, our health, our landscape, our community and our local economy.

Buy local food and enjoy . . .

You can make a difference

If the population of Scarborough and Filey spent £1 a week on local food, it would save £190,000 a year on the environmental costs of intensive farming practices and the transport of food over long distances. If we spent a £1 a week on local organic food, it would save £356,000 a year on those environmental costs.

Lots of reasons to buy local food

Buy local – eat fresher food

Food that is transported long distances may be weeks old. Fruit and vegetables are treated with chemicals and stored in artificially controlled conditions just to stop them going rotten.

Buy local – reduce CO2 emissions

Transport of food by air causes the highest CO2 emissions per tonne. Its use more than doubled between 1992 and 2002.

Buy local – improve animal welfare

Animals reared and slaughtered locally will not have travelled long distances in lorries. This is kinder to them.

Buy local – reduce landfill

At least a quarter of household waste is packaging, two thirds of which is from food. Buy local and reduce the amount of packaging going into landfills or being incinerated and producing pollutants.

Buy local – reduce the spread of diseases

Reducing the distances that animals travel hinders the development of national and international disease epidemics such as foot-and-mouth disease.

Buy local – save local jobs

Every time a large supermarket opens, there is a net average loss of 276 retailing jobs within a 10-mile radius.

Buy local – spend less on packaging

The average British household spends £470 per year on packaging -- almost a sixth of food expenditure. Fresh local foods require less packaging, processing and refrigeration. Buy local and spend your money on food rather than packaging.

Buy local – save money

Price comparison studies during the last year have shown that supermarkets are up to 52% more expensive than local independent shops for fresh ingredients, such as meat, delicatessen items and fruit and vegetables.

Buy local – reduce food miles

A traditional Sunday lunch could easily have travelled 25,000 miles before reaching your plate.
Chicken from Thailand 10,691 miles by ship
Runner beans from Zambia 4,912 miles by plane
Carrots from Spain 1,000 miles by lorry
Mangetout from Zimbabwe 5,130 miles by plane
Potatoes from Italy 1,521 miles by lorry
Sprouts from Britain 125 miles by lorry

Transport of imported goods from port of entry to distribution centre: 625 miles. Transport from distribution centres to supermarket: 360 miles. TOTAL 26,234 miles

Choosing and buying local seasonal foods, at a farmers' market for instance, could reduce the total distance to 376 miles, 1/66th of the distance needed for the above meal.

Buy local – eat tastier food

Fruit and vegetable varieties are being bred with characteristics which maximise the profits of big companies at the expense of nutrition and taste. Transnational food companies and supermarkets value hardiness under monocultural growing conditions, the ability to travel long distances and a long shelf-life more highly than nutritional content and taste.

Buy local – eat naturally ripened food

Tomatoes are often picked green and hard so that they can survive mechanical harvesting and long-distance transport, and then artificially ripened in rooms pumped full of ethylene gas. As we all know, these tomatoes are much less tasty and nutritious than ripe, locally grown tomatoes.

Buy local – for better value

Supermarkets use “loss leaders” to entice customers into the store by giving the impression that everything there is cheap. Bread and milk are “known value items”, so they are priced low, but less familiar products can often be obtained more cheaply from local independent shops. This is especially true of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Buy local – support local producers

Today, just 9p in every £1 spent on food and drink goes back to primary producers, whereas 50 years ago, 50--60p in every £1 spent on food and drink went to farmers.

Buy local – save money

A typical out-of-town superstore causes £25,000 worth of congestion, pollution and associated damage to the local community every week.

Buy local – reduce food miles

Food miles increased by 15% in the 10 years to 2002. In the same period, the use of air freight to transport food more than doubled.

Buy local – reduce traffic congestion

The use of heavy goods vehicles to transport food has doubled since 1974. Food transport accounts for 25% of all the miles driven by HGVs on our roads.

Buy local – enjoy variety

Two thirds of farmers say supermarket demands for conformity have led them to give up otherwise productive varieties of fruit. There are 550 varieties of pears native to Britain, yet 94% of eating pears grown on British farms consist of just three varieties. Seek out variety -- buy local.

Buy local – avoid waste

Supermarkets impose such extreme cosmetic standards -- such as shape and uniformity -- on food that lots of perfectly edible food is wasted. Between 40% and 50% of raw vegetables and salads are rejected at some stage of the production line before reaching the supermarket shopper.

Buy local – keep our land productive

Britain is becoming more dependent on imported food. Between 1990 and 2000, British fruit and vegetable production fell by 37%. Food imports have risen by almost 25% since the early 1990s.

Buy local – reduce CO2 emissions

The transport of food is responsible for more lorries on our roads than any other single commodity. The amount of food being transported increased by 20% between 1978 and 1998. Road transport is one of the fastest-growing sources of CO2 and accounts for around 20% of total emissions. Buy local and reduce CO2 emmissions.

Each year 105,000 tonnes of English butter are exported from the UK whilst 230,000 tonnes of butter are imported. Buy local and reduce this madness.

In 1997, 126 million litres of liquid milk was imported into the UK at the same time as 270 million litres was exported out of the UK

Buy local – reduce packaging

Fresh local foods require less packaging, processing and refrigeration. For example, frozen peas require 250% as much energy as do fresh peas, whilst aluminium tinned peas require 450% of that for fresh peas.

Buy local – for good value genuine food

Although processed foods are often made with waste products from the food industry, such as maize starch and sugar beet fibre, the costs of marketing, packaging and transportation mean that they are more expensive than the pure food that they are mimicking. For example Northern Foods’ Dalepak lamb grills cost £8.45 a kilo; almost twice the price of genuine lamb chops from a local butcher.

Buy local – support local farms

Farmers' incomes have fallen by over 60% between 1995 and 1999, and the number of farms has fallen from 233,000 to 168,000 in the last ten years. Buy local and support your local farms.

Buy local – reduce food miles

Food is travelling further than ever before. Within the UK, a tonne of food now travels an average distance of 76 miles, whereas the distance was 51 miles in 1978. Buy local and reduce food miles.