Should more be done to promote buying produce from local farmers?

November 29, 2018 5:00 PM
By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points
Originally published by Folkestone and Hythe Liberal Democrats

Gary FullerWe're on the verge of destroying our planet. Climate change is very real, and we need to make significant changes to our lifestyles if we want to avert a climate catastrophe. One such change is we need to significantly reduce the distance that food travels from the farm to our plates. We need to buy local.

Most initiatives aimed at getting us to do so are well-meaning. They call on us to support our local farmers and play heavily on the suggestion that we're getting high quality produce, even if it costs a bit more. That's great if you'll reasonably well off, but for many people going to your local Farmer's Market is at best a treat.

If we're going to save the planet, we all need to buy local. Most of us shop in supermarkets, so the change must start there. Government could, for example, levy extra taxes on food that has travelled more than thirty miles from the farm to the shelves. They could also force supermarkets to label all foods based on distance travelled, making it easier for us to pick and choose.

If we're going to do so though, people need to be educated. There are some people who buy local to support their local farmers. There are even some people who do so out of a sense of national pride. How many people do so because it's their responsibility to help save the planet? I suspect the answer is not that many.

We need a concerted push by Government to sell the benefits to our planet, to our very existence, of buying local. A public information campaign, like campaigns such as the green cross code, along with education in schools would be a good starting point. To save the planet, we need to buy local.