1 - Local Distinctiveness - The Tamar Valley has a rich tradition of food and flower production for over 200 years as a result of its favourable climate and length of season, with many unique local varieties. Market gardening and orchards also played a key part in what makes the Tamar Valley such a distinctive landscape. Buying local produce can help to support this local distinctiveness, and offers a much wider choice!
2 - Local economy - A more localised food system has many benefits for the local economy of the Tamar Valley and can strengthen the economic activity. Nationally, many producers are currently not getting a fair price for their food from supermarkets and struggling. Local food systems can give producers greater control over their future, a fairer price and access to a wider market, by working together.
3 - Environmental - As individuals, food accounts for roughly one third of our overall carbon emissions. As well the issues of transportation, recent reports have suggested agricultural production can account for up to 44% of carbon emissions related to food!. Buying local produce reduces food and flower miles, reducing our environmental impact in relation to climate change, but also reduces the need for packaging and processing.
4 - Affordability Food prices are increasing and predicted to rise significantly, being affected by less seasonal reliability, water availability, competition for land from bio-fuels, and increasing consumption. Increasing oil prices will also affect the price of food, particularly beyond ‘peak oil’ (the point where demand for oil is outstripping supply, which is decreasing). Local food systems reduce the length of the food chain and therefore offer greater affordability and security.
5 - Healthier - Local food is generally fresher, requiring less processing and packaging. Fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutrients as soon as they are picked and out of season produce may have been harvested six or more weeks before you buy it, so many of the vitamins and nutrients will be long gone. Buying fruit and vegetables in season means you get the most from your food, it’s tastier, and contributes to a healthier diet.
This picture of Alwyns Field was taken by Alan Preston and the Apple photo by James Bird.