This Christmas, we'll be spending an average of £228 on food and an additional £182 on alcohol, and so, I want to take some time to talk about organic and locally grown food - again.
1. Buy locally.
A lot of big supermarket chains have deals with the cheapest farmers all over the world. I get so frustrated when I see pictures floating around of packaged pears that have been grown in Chile, packaged in plastic tubs in Thailand and are then sold in the USA.
If you can, go to a farmer's market. Local producers sell their produce there, and there is often an organic stall as well. And if you have questions, you can get the answers straight from the source!
As mentioned before, your carbon footprint will be smaller and you'll keep the money within your own community. So please, go local.
2. If you can't go local, go organic.
Non-organic farmers don't really care about nature. They care about profits, or keeping their clients happy - who are often big supermarket chains pressuring them to sell their produce cheaper and cheaper.
That is why most farmers use pesticides to try and keep insects and other bugs away from their crops. These pesticides harm our wildlife and environment, and add toxins into the food chain. Some pesticides harm bees – and we rely on bees to pollinate our food. Pesticides can also affect the health of farm workers – causing severe and sometimes fatal illnesses.
Next to pesticides, are cheap synthetic fertilizers. Farmers use fertilizers to add nutrients to their soils and help crops grow faster. But too much synthetic fertilizer can lead to pollution of local streams and rivers with nitrogen, killing fish and plant life. It can be even worse in animal farming, where animals are often stuffed in tiny cages, fed on genetically modified organisms to help them grow faster and are administered unhealthy 'preventative' antibiotics regularly without the animals being sick at all.
There are some great farmers out there, who work with nature instead of against it. They allow the animals to express their natural behavior, they're maintaining healthy soils that don't need synthetic fertilizers and they're managing bugs and diseases the natural way. That's great news for their health, the environment and our taste buds.
The UK has very strict labelling rules for organic produce so all the consumer has to do is look at the labels. All products have a way of showing that they are certified organic. For example, most fruits and vegetables will have logos on their packaging or any other kind of label, like stickers. All labels have to state the code number the producers have received from one of the Organic Control Bodies approved by the government.
3. Eat less meat
The meat and dairy industry is one of the most taxing industries on our planet. Even if you reduce half your usual meat intake, this will make a huge difference on the planet.
Read more about the meat industry here.