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Sourcing Locally

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Sourcing Locally

Post by assassin on Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:10 am

For many of us gardening is a way of life, and many of us grow enough food to be self sufficient in most fruit and veg, but what about those who dont grow their own? how many of us know around half our food is imported and any imported food cannot be fresh as it has to be grown, picked, packed, transported to a depot and onto a cargo ship and transported by sea to the UK where it is transported to a wholesalers before being bought again and transported to the end user. All this transporting of food takes time which means it cannot be fresh and if we take the transport time from picking to arriving in the Uk it can be up to two weeks which means my claims are proven as unloading a ship in the UK can take 2-3 days alone.

How do we overcome this issue of fresh food? basically we source locally and buy locally and as many people think this is difficult, it isn't as difficult as many people think; why do top restaurants have food experts all around the country sourcing top quality produce from a variety of farms and even smallholders who produce the quality and freshness they demand, so we simply do the same.

Many people may not be aware that most of the food coming from abroad is produced in countries with a dubious track record, for instance most of our imported carrots come from China which has a reputation for dumping highly toxic waste onto the ground or dumping it in rivers; meanwhile the majority of our imported beans of most types come from India which has a dubious record of dumping toxic waste onto the ground and into rivers, while its record may not be as bad as China it isn't that good either, so what is going into our crops. In a recent documentary a leading environmentalist went to Chine and looked around the vicinity of one of these industrial areas and he was shocked, surrounding houses found their crops failing and when they spoke to the local population they found a significantly raised level of cancers of various types and a masive increase in tumours in the population and they identified the industrial areas as the source of the pollutants which cause these cancers, they then mobilised the local population into action.

Why is this significant? with so many highly toxic pollutants being pumped into nearby rivers they can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles in unsafe doses and affect food growers thousands of miles away when they pump river water for crop irrigation and these toxins build up in the plants which are picked and shipped to the UK, and we eat them.

Sourcing localy grown foods is actually much easier than people think and the first port of call is the local growers which can usually be found online with a simple search; if you want feet on the ground you can go to local farmers markets where you can usually speak directly to the growers themselves, and many local growers have websites which you can visit and do your own research into how they grow their produce and if they use manufactured fertilisers or not. Now you can make informed decisions as to what you are buying and where the food comes from, but beware as many people latched onto the farmers markets and are not farmers or producers themselves, merely retailers who buy in from wholesalers and that means imported foods.
Some farmers markets are poor, they may only have a few stalls, and you have to remember most things are seasonal, this may mean travelling further to a larger and more reputable farmers market to get quality local produce.
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Re: Sourcing Locally

Post by daveiron on Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:13 am

I think assassin you are fortunate where you live ,because i'm in N.herts /mid beds area .Virtually no small farms/smallholdings ,and when you see a tractor in a field its a 50% chance its spraying something toxic.
If I go to one of the very few farm shops here and ask if they have anything organic I get the impression they think i am some sort of hippie.
As much as I detest supporting large supermarkets Sainsburys is the only place locally i can get Organic.
Like you I steer well away from Chinese foodstuffs .
I am growing as much fruit & veg as i have room for ,foraging is something I have to be very selective about due to the spraying.
I do however find its worth the effort as i feel so much healthier because of my changed eating habits.

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Re: Sourcing Locally

Post by assassin on Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:16 am

The thing is Dave, you are in a transition and new to gardening as I read it, and you have a lot still to learn; you will get to grips with maximising yields from small spaces, and I know you have the intelligence and desire to get there.

It is often a balancing act and I sometimes go to a local Tesco or Aldi for certain items (not food) and its all about finding your balance between what you can grow yourself and what you buy in, and there are no right or wrong answers. You are already growing a proportion of your own food stuffs and that in itself is improving your health and allowing you control over your ground which is a positive thing and reducing your reliance on large chains.

None of us know everything and as you improve your gardening skills you will find what works best for you and what grows best in your ground, remember gardening is a long term thing and even someone experienced as I am is still learning.

Have you done an online search for organic outlets and farmers markets in your area?
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Re: Sourcing Locally

Post by urchinatheart on Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:17 am

Wherever the organic food comes from, its grown by someone who is making an effort in the right direction, we can fund their efforts, and encourage the big stores to do the same!
In Herts /Beds we have the Icknield way path, and all along it grow the descendants of nourishing wild herbs and bushes set accidentally (use your imagination) or deliberately by our ancestors, who knew the true meaning of the term 'Pick-Nick'!
It is unlikely to be sprayed, as weedkillers are too costly for
footpaths, and taking a small amount from each plant ensures healthy regrowth.
Stinging nettles are sprouting now,bursting with magnesium, calcium and potassium and vitamins a-plenty. Dandelions and
Chickweed are up and about, so give your liver a treat. All three need minimal preparation, cut the leaves off the nettle stalks with scissors and snip through the chickweed stalks before putting all the leaves in a high-speed blender with chopped apples and bananas (about half and half fruit to leaves) add enough water to blend easily and whizz them up for a minute or so. The 'high' can last all day as your cells rejoice.

Icknield way is on local ordnance survey maps, some parts of it are barren or on farm fields, but there's usually plenty of safe goodies also. Ancient trackways have a great variety of foodplants. Nuts, fruit , salad and medicinal herbs abound. Happy hunting!

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Re: Sourcing Locally

Post by assassin on Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:14 pm

Urchin, one thing I have advocated for a long time is geurilla planting which is where you go and spread seeds in open land, at the roadside, or any space which can grow food, these schemes are gaining popularity and its nice to see children walking past and picking fresh produce straight from the ground and eating it.

Mate is a beef farmer and his herd is fed in silage or hay he has produced himself and he only uses muck from his farm along with one annual dose of organic fertiliser per year, I have shown him how to make his own and his beasts always fetch a premium by his buyers because they are "clean" and not full of rubbish. He grazes them in winter and summer amd rotates them, he fetches them in, or nearer the farm in winter, amd when they are in the sheds they are in an open shed where they can roam around the whole shed.

By adding a mixture of flower seeds onto his fields his beasts get some of these flowers in their haylage/silage and they would rather eat that aand leave the plain haylage/silage until that with flowers in is exhausted.
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Re: Sourcing Locally

Post by landlubber on Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:41 pm

Whilst I would wholeheartedly agree about spread seeds around, something that I've been doing for almost 3 decades now, I would not advocate doing it on roadsides simply because of the now extremely high levels of pollution at these locations. The traffic on our roads is reaches what I can only call, plague proportions. This poisons all roadside plants, so if anyone eats it regardless of cleaning first, their health is not going to be what it was before they started ingesting their roadside harvest. We have an enormous open country acreage that has an almost boundless source of healthy plant life...think before you pick.

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Re: Sourcing Locally

Post by assassin on Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:33 am

I dont use roadside planting for eating, I advocate them to digest the CO2 and pollutants from vehicles and emitting oxygen LL.
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