There is growing demand from consumers for sustainably produced food, and a food co-op might want to consider the environmental and social benefits of supporting sustainability and transparency in the food chain.
Some of the advantages of supplying local and seasonal food are that it is:
- Fresher: often you will get a delivery the day or even a few hours after it's been picked
- Tastier: if your fruit and vegetables are fresh and in season you can taste the difference
- Healthier: vitamins essential for health can deteriorate with long storage times, so for fruit and vegetables, the fresher the better
- Good for reducing food miles: even local food still needs to be transported but no-one can dispute the difference between ferrying apples a few miles down the road and importing them from across the globe
- A way to support local farmers and keeps growing skills alive: we are going to need people who can grow food, as it becomes ever clearer that we cannot keep transporting it from thousands of miles away
- Helpful in supporting the local economy: buying locally helps ensure more money circulates in the local economy helping more local farms and food enterprises stay in business
Growing Communities, a community-led organisation based in Hackney, north London, have developed an excellent diagram, the Food Zones, to explain what a sustainable and resilient food and farming system might look like - how the food we eat should be produced and where it might from come based on 20 years of practical experience.