Think less MacDonalds and more Old MacDonalds
farm, as Inside Out go back to basics.
Transporting food is bad for the environment,
so what is the alternative?
100 years ago nearly all the food we ate came from within
20 miles of our homes. Now you’d find it difficult to find more than a
handful of locally produced foods in your supermarket.
This is bad news for the environment, bad news for our
motorways and roads, and bad news for our bodies.
Inside Out has given one Cambridge family the task of
turning back the clock for a week to live on nothing but locally produced
Back to basics
|Richard is forced
to return home with nothing but a bag of potatoes - will his family
go off their trolley?|
Richard Newman and his family get off to a poor start.
Out of a whole supermarket trolley piled high with goodies, only one item
is locally produced. So Richard, along with his small bag of locally produced
potatoes, returns to a hungry family.
Mashed potatoes may be delicious with a juicy sausage
and gravy, but with no meat and not even any salt or butter to season,
the family’s first meal is far from appetising. Oh well Richard, better
luck for tomorrow!
Bleary eyed without his regular coffee fix and extremely
hungry from last night’s meagre meal, Richard faces another day of food
Richard’s shops may be local, but the produce on offer
certainly isn’t. All Richard comes away with is a few vegetables and the
prospect that tonight’s meal may be no improvement on last night’s mash!
Shaping the environment
"Part of the problem that has emerged is an
increasing movement of food on our road systems."
- 1/4 of all trucks on our roads are carrying food
- 1/3 of all trucks transporting food are running
- Almost as much greenhouse gas is created by moving
food than by all power stations in the UK
Fortunately for Richard and the rest of the family, the
local butcher's comes up trumps. Local fruit juice, partridge and chipolatas
- it’s a start.
Finding local produce is a time consuming business, but
according to Professor Jules Pretty of the University of Essex, we only
have ourselves to blame.
"If people know something about their food and where it’s
come from, they will realise that they have a role to play in shaping
what we might want to see in the environment, but also in shaping their
own health," says Jules, author of Agri-Culture.
Richard’s ever difficult quest to find local food, brings
him face to face with one of the oldest ways of getting fed - hunting.
In a stew
goes back to basics |
Richard is let-off with the task off killing, but that
is not to say that the task of preparing the rabbit is any easier.
Skinning the rabbit is an eye opening and stomach turning
experience and really forces Richard to acknowledge where food actually
comes from, something that Jules heartily approves of.
"Food has become more anonymous. We don’t understand
where it comes from. It’s become more convenient, it’s abundant. We just
eat it and continue our lives," says Jules.
The week ends with a somewhat potent smelling rabbit
stew and an exhausted Richard.
Food from afar
warns of the environmental implications of food transportation|
"It’s the time it’s taken to find things. The ringing
around, going to buy the food. I’ve driven about 150 miles to get the
produce… Not having a night off and being able to throw a lasagne in the
oven," says Richard.
So would the family volunteer again? The answer - a resounding
Buying locally may not be the easiest task, especially
when a luring well stocked supermarket lurks nearby. But if we as a nation
are to tackle the mammoth food transportation problem and improve our
health in the process, we better start trying says Jules.
"Just the last two generations, we have adopted very different
diets, high in fats, high in sugars. Childhood obesity has risen three
fold in the last 20 years. Many children will pre-desease their parents,"
and that's certainly food for thought!