Do you know what food is produced locally? Or, like so many of us, do you walk around the supermarket with a list and, without realising it, buy goods that have actually been imported from around the world?
Quite apart from the thousands of air miles and environmental impact involved in getting such produce to our shelves, wouldn’t you rather shop knowing that you’re getting fresh, locally-grown alternatives and helping to support businesses in the community at the same time?
Megan Saunders clearly thinks so. Today we report how, as the city representative for the EU-funded Local Food Project, she wants people to join her in helping Portsmouth become a Sustainable Food City by promoting local, sustainable food.
It’s an exciting initiative that builds on the good work already being done by groups such as Southsea Greenhouse, a community co-operative that has established its own garden near Canoe Lake where people can grow fruit and vegetables.
The Local Food Project is all about getting families and businesses to, where possible, use ingredients that were grown or made here in the city.
A perfect example is cordial company Yarty, which is based in the city and uses fruit from a farm in Titchfield. No sweeteners or additives – just good, fresh, healthy produce.
We hope Megan can inspire other companies to think along these lines, but also get shoppers to think differently. Her ambitious aim is to give residents of all backgrounds in Portsmouth access to local, affordable and sustainable food within 500 metres of their homes.
More than that, there is the desire to improve people’s health and wellbeing through what they eat – a vision of our households, schools, hospitals, restaurants and workplace canteens all serving only nutritious and sustainable meals.
The Sustainable Food Cities programme deserves to succeed, but it will only do so if we all engage in its aims and objectives – not just for own sakes but for the benefit of the planet.