Support local food this year :
As the holiday season come to a close and we turn our attentions to the year ahead we want to take a moment to thank you — for following, liking, engaging with and supporting Your Local Food Network throughout 2018.
It’s been an adventure – 2018. The weather threw everything at us. Extreme snow in March, extreme heat in the summer, a few extreme storms and some monsoon-like downpours. Is extreme the new norm? While it’s a worrying development that has disrupted many lives, in our little corner of the planet we have been spared the worst. There is no doubt that the changing climate presents all of us with adversity. We increasingly see and read about catastrophes suffered by communities around the world. From raging fires, overwhelming floods, desolating drought. Not so long ago, most of us had never even heard of the word tsunami, now its destructive consequences are all too familiar. The fatalities and annihilation of climate chaos are heartbreaking to watch, distressing and unnerving. Not least because deep down we have an inkling that we may be partly to blame.
The power of our purse strings
As consumers we do possess the ability to change things. Really. We do. If each of us were to seek ways to alter our own spending patterns, then we are opening up the potential for more positive outcomes. It’s more powerful than you can imagine. Rather than expend your energies feeling low and helpless, instead take action and resolve to make small but meaningful changes. We are all a vital part of the solution.
Our food system is a good place to start
As long as we continue to purchase seductively low-priced produce that has been flown in from across the globe, nothing will change. I’m not suggesting you deny yourself bananas and avocados but what you may not realise is that this little green island if ours is importing tons upon tons of produce that could easily be produced here. According to the CSO figures (deciphered by Richard Hackett in his article for the Irish Independent) in 2017 we imported :
“62,000t of apples, 72,000t potatoes, 47,000t onions, 33,000t carrots, 29,000t tomatoes, 23,000t cabbage and 15,000t lettuce.”
A shocking statistic when you consider that these fruit and vegetables grow well here. As a keen gardener I know this to be true because I have grown all of them in my own vegetable patch. Sadly, economics, labour costs and discriminatory subsidies keep us from being closer to self-sufficiency. It’s not easy to directly influence the political realm that governs these factors. but here are a few easy ways you can play your part.
Some ways you can help make a difference
- Support local growers and farmers that tend their smallholdings responsibly and with due care to the environment. These are your neighbours. They may have a stall at a farmers market or sell online. Each week you put your hand in your purse to buy food for you and your family. Can you maybe make a small alteration to your weekly spend. A conscious decision to seek out Irish, sustainably grown onions for instance? Maybe forgo the shipped-in, out-of-season beans in favour of locally grown?
- Please pass the word! Your Local Food Network, only 6 months ago, started to collate a directory of small, Irish food producers that farm sustainably in order to promote them in their own communities. Read about our trailblazing Simple Food Pledge, a helpful way to instantly recognise your local producers. It’s a tentative first step towards building more solid relationships. Afterall, how can we support them if we don’t know who and where they are? Do you know any growers or farmers that would benefit from a listing? Please tell them about us. We always appreciate a social boost- retweets, likes, mentions, etc..
- Have you considered signing up to a local vegetable box scheme? A number of our producers offer a box scheme. A weekly selection of vegetables and eggs are either collected from a convenient local location or delivered directly to your door. We also have members supplying organic meat that can be delivered directly to you. Click here to find what is available in your area. Please contact us if you are interested in a box scheme and there is currently none operating in your area.
- Are you a business that buys regularly from one of our Simple Food Pledge holders? Contact us to gain a Supporter listing. We’d like to promote you too.
Every small change has a real benefit. As you plan your new year goals, make a resolution to be the part of the solution.