Source Your Food Locally

There's no guarantee you'll be buying the freshest, tastiest produce if you shop in a supermarket. Local producers grow produce for the best flavor and freshness, so it's worth reconsidering how and where you shop.

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Carrot Crop DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Make a Resolution

Christmas and New Year are traditionally a time to think about breaking old habits, making new resolutions and putting those good intentions into practice, so Christmas is a perfect time to rethink the way you shop as you prepare for the holiday festivities. Source all your ingredients from diverse, small-scale, local producers that grow and rear their produce for quality, not quantity, and you'll be feeding your family the tastiest, freshest food at its highest nutritional value. They'll also be free from the pesticides and fertilizers that are used on air-freighted produce to control the ripening time, and the hormones and antibiotics commonly used by large-scale commercial meat producers to rear their animals.

Local Benefits

If you initially spend a little time locating and researching your local producers, shopping locally can become as easy and convenient as going to the supermarket. You'll also be supporting your local economy, reducing the environmental impact of imported foods and helping to sustain food security and variety.

Fair Trade

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of shopping locally is that your support ensures that farmers are paid a fair price for their produce. There are currently no laws protecting farmers from the often unreasonable demands made by some of the larger supermarkets — such as paying prices that don't cover the farmers' growing costs, insisting on perfectly shaped fruits and vegetables at the expense of quality and requiring minimum quantities of a particular produce, which can prevent the farmers from diversifying into growing other crops.

Good Standards

Most small, specialized producers naturally farm organically even if they are not certified as organic farmers, because they follow traditional farming methods. Small-scale animal husbandry, for instance, avoids the use of large quantities of hormones and antibiotics, which results in healthier, happier animals and good-quality meat. However, if you want complete assurance about the food you buy, look out for a recognized organic certification (the rules and regulations vary from country to country). 

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Excerpted from A Greener Christmas

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2008

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