Eating seasonal, local, organic food reduces your carbon footprint.
It is estimated that eating locally can reduce your total carbon footprint by 7-11%. In addition to this reduction, eating native, seasonally grown food produced without hothouses can reduce your food carbon footprint by 10%. Organically grown food also reduces carbon emissions by preserving natural habitats and vegetation, therefore allowing plant matter to sequester more carbon. Finally, moving to a predominantly plant-based diet can reduce your carbon footprint even further (by ~25%), and eating locally grown fruits and vegetables rather than meat & dairy can help you to do this.
Growing food organically is good for the soil and wildlife
Unsustainable and irresponsible farming practices have a lot to answer for when it comes to the decline of Britain’s diverse wildlife. Bees and other pollinators have lost much of their natural habitat in the past 60 years, including 98% of wildflower meadows. Over half of Britain’s wildlife species have declined since 1970, and over 10% are at risk of extinction. On average, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms. Organic farming cuts the use of pesticides and antibiotics which pollute our water supply. Organic farming uses natural methods to control disease, and pests, such as well-designed crop rotations, encouraging natural predators, and developing good soil and healthy crops which have natural resistance to pests and diseases. Because of this, organic farms have healthier soils and over 75% more plant species - supporting more wildlife than those that are non-organic.
Small scale farming preserves genetic diversity
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 75 percent of agricultural genetic diversity was lost in the 20th century. Commonly, smaller local farms grow many different varieties of crops and rotate them to provide a long harvest season. This is often because more unusual varieties are available through seedbanks, and the ultimate aim of the production is not maximum yield, but better quality, pest resistance or taste. Conventional farming practices consist of mono-cropping with limited plant varieties, which is why you see such a small range of produce available in supermarkets. Therefore, there is an need for small, biodiverse farms to preserve food heritage and create food security.
If you are from the Tang Hall area, become a member of the Tang Hall Food Coop. You can volunteer with us at the allotment or the shop, and shape what we are doing and how we are doing it - it is a cooperative after all! We can share ideas, learn from each other, and help the food cooperative to grow. We will meet at least twice a week and work together at the allotment or in the shipping container shop. Don't worry if you've never done anything like this before, all you need to be is interested and willing to help - everyone can offer something worthwhile to the cooperative.
We will be having regular lunches with food we've grown on the allotment and bits and pieces from the shop. We want people to know about all the interesting ways you can cook seasonal and local vegetables and we have chefs who will help you do this. Even if you don't want to cook, you can still come along, enjoy a meal, meet other local people and find out more about what we're doing. Sharing a meal is one of the best ways to find some common ground - people from all walks of life come to the community centre, and everyone's got a story to tell.
Once our shop launches, we will aim to have a good stock of wholefoods so you can buy all of your food locally, ethically and sustainably. The prices will be good, as we will be buying in bulk at wholesale prices (from ethical suppliers), and passing those savings on to you, by selling at the same wholesale prices but in small quantities. Tang Hall residents can apply for a membership card with additional benefits. All the produce will be carefully sourced, and we won't be using plastic packaging. We will also have recipe cards to help you make the most of the seasonal vegetables.