Our local food heroes!

15 June 2020

The Covid-19 virus pandemic has been difficult for many businesses, but one good thing may have come out of it. More of us have been looking at shopping differently, buying from small independent shops, who, in this crisis have been there and so willing to help anyone in need.

The local food campaign has been around for many years, so what does it mean?

Most often people talk about food miles. Local food shouldn't produce a large carbon footprint from overseas plane travel or long vehicle trips. This reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. There isn't a need for shipping facilities, packing facilities or refrigeration, all adding to the environmental problems transport can cause. The fewer the miles the more sustainable and environmentally friendly the food should be.

Using your local shops can also save on fuel consumption because it may be possible to walk, cycle to take a bus to the shops instead of driving to an out of town supermarket. There may be no choice for some people, so let's not beat ourselves up if we have reasons for using the larger stores. However, local shops and markets usually provide fresher food, often bought from local growers, not kept in containers, ships or in storage for weeks. Local shops and supply businesses provide jobs and help grow the local economy whereas the supermarket giants generally move money out of the local economy.

By buying local food, you are supporting local farmers and producers and protecting local land and wildlife. With your support, these farms are kept going. Because the farms are owned and operated by local farmers and producers, they aren't then sold to developers, who can totally transform the land, destroying the wildlife. Big business producers could buy out farms and incorporate inhumane and non-eco-friendly farming practices. Local scale farming quite often involves friendlier farming practices because they don't need to produce food on an industrial scale and concentrate on creating value from fresh, local or organic food.

Just look at the range we now have in Crediton of independent and specialist food shops not forgetting great cafes. We still have a butcher, a greengrocer, bakeries, cafes, a wine shop, a sweet shop, a cake shop, restaurants, fish shops and other take-aways and are able to buy ethical foodstuffs at various places. I have been shocked visiting other towns, we have few large multinationals, few closed shops and a great range in comparison to boarded up shops interspersed with a few take-aways. So get down the High Street, support our local food shops, eat well and help make Crediton even more sustainable.

Dee Ross