Fruit and vegetables are an essential component of a healthy, balanced diet. Locally produced fruit and vegetables are of even greater benefit to a person’s health as they are far fresher than the fruit and veg found in your nearest supermarket. They are richer in nutrients and vitamins and thus provide greater nourishment.

Fresh fruit and veg grown by local producers are also of enormous benefit to your local economy. When you buy locally you are directly supporting the small businesses which comprise your local economy and ensuring their survival and continued success. You are helping to create jobs for those in your community and sustaining livelihoods and careers.

But this isn’t just of benefit to your health and the health of the local economy. Something as simple as having fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to your door can have a huge benefit to the environment and play a major role in the fight against climate change. If you’re unsure as to how such a small act can make such a big contribution to environmental protection, allow us to explain in more detail.


A Reduction in Food Miles

Food Miles is the distance food has travelled from the place where it was produced to the place where it will be bought by the consumer. Food found in the supermarket is often imported which means it has travelled a very long distance, perhaps even hundreds or thousands of miles. This doesn’t just compromise the quality and nutritional value of the food itself; it also leaves a very heavy carbon footprint.

Imported food travels to supermarkets via long shipping, plane travel and truck journeys. To put it simply, the greater the number of food miles travelled, the greater the number of fossil fuels burned. This constant emission of greenhouse gases heavily pollutes our air and severely damages the environment.

Buying locally is a highly effective means of minimising transportation and drastically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. When you shop locally, you are buying food that has been produced in your nearby area and, therefore, has a very small distance to travel. It produces virtually no transportation pollution and leaves a carbon footprint that is practically non-existent.

In addition to all of this, buying local creates jobs and expands the size of the local workforce. This means that more workers have shorter commutes to and from work and do not need to travel long distances every day. This helps to further lower the levels of transportation pollution produced from highway congestion and fuel consumption.


Protect and Preserve Local Land and Wildlife

People who buy locally produced food are more likely to better understand the processes of how and where their food is produced. A more informed consumer means increased accountability and this encourages small farmers to employ sustainable practises in their farming. They are aware of the potential damaging effects agriculture can have on the environment because they know the consumer is aware of them. For this reason, they are more likely to take that extra step in order to be eco-friendly and environmentally conscious.

The continued support for small farmers also encourages them to grow a diverse range of produce which helps soil maintain its nutrients and fertility. This is in direct contrast to mono-culture and industrial farming which greatly damages soil by destroying its natural balance. These practises lead to soil degradation which results in chemical fertilizers being used to aid crop growth. This causes severe harm to the environment. Industrial farming also causes a significant increase in the volume of fossil fuels burned and greenhouse gas emissions produced.

Local farmers are pivotal to ensuring biodiversity and protecting wildlife. Industrial farming destroys the natural habitats of animals due to the rampant removal of hedges and trees and the increased use of pesticides and herbicides. The effects of climate change have already significantly damaged the biodiversity of our planet. If our biodiversity is further harmed it will undermine global food security and increase the risk of diseases spreading. Supporting small farmers is key to maintaining a wide, healthy range of flora and fauna.

It is important to remember that the next time you have a box of fresh fruit and vegetable delivered to your door, you are making a crucial contribution to the protection of local lands and wildlife.


Fresher Produce Means Less Waste

When you buy locally, you are guaranteed to receive food that is perfectly fresh, healthy and nutritious. Local farmers’ produce is far more likely to be organic which means that it will be free, or largely free, of preservatives, hormones and pesticides. Avoiding the use of such chemicals is not just better for the health of the consumer but also for the health of the planet. This is because it reduces the risk of environmental pollution and helps improve the quality of our water and air. While not all small farms are strictly chemical free, it is widely accepted that the larger a farm is, the more chemicals it is likely to use.

As well as this, locally grown food produces far less food waste as it is more likely to be consumed while still fresh. This is due to its significantly shorter period of storage and transit time. Imported supermarket products often rot or spoil before they are purchased and consumed, or even before they are shelved. This leads to large amounts of food waste that then needs to be disposed of in some way, causing more harm to the environment. For many large retailers, a great deal of food waste occurs somewhere along the food supply chain. The widespread trend of ‘buy one get one free’ deals regularly employed by supermarkets is a major cause of food waste and it is believed such deals contribute to over 30% of food waste every year.


 Less Packaging

A fresh fruit and vegetable delivery from local sources is guaranteed to use little to no packaging. The less distance food has to travel means the less packaging that is needed to keep it preserved. So, for reasons already explained, excessive package is not necessary for locally grown food as it can be delivered to your doorstep within a day of being harvested. This means no plastic bags, no plastic containers and no plastic wrappings. Just a simple cardboard box that can be easily reused until it is recycled.

Somewhere between 8 to 10 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year. Supporting the minimal packaging practices employed in fruit and veg deliveries is a crucial step in protecting the environment and one that we cannot afford to overlook or dismiss.


It is easy to see how local shopping has a global effect. It results in a maximum positive impact on you and a minimum negative impact on the environment. It is a small but powerful action that will benefit your personal health, the local community and worldwide environmentalism. The next time you have fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to your door, know that you are making several simple but invaluable contributions to the future of the planet.


Article written by Nicholas Collender.




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