What are the benefits of locally sourced food? Today we begin the first in a series of blog posts which take a look at the benefits of a “Local food movement” which aims to form a locally based, self-sufficient food economy. This post is a general introduction…
One often hears about calls for “subsidiarity” in the political sphere. This term essentially means, when put simply, that if something can be dealt with at the lowest possible level, then it should be. This is an important idea in American debates about “big” and “small government” and it is a principle enshrined in EU law under Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union. It empowers citizens by ensuring that decisions which affect individuals are made as close as possible to the affected individual rather than far away from them by some faceless bureaucratic institution…
Yet what about subsidiarity in the “food market”? What about empowering people on the local level with decisions about their food’s source, production, distribution and consumption that directly impact upon them?
This is where the “Local food movement” comes in. To be honest, its not really a movement in any political sense of the word rather its a loose, international network of like-minded individuals, communities and organisations which work towards a common goal.
Other than empowering individuals and communities with a say in the production of their food, what is the point in “local food” one might ask?
Lets be honest with ourselves: local food tastes better and looks better. Why? That’s simple. Whether its authentic Cornish pastries we’re talking about, or Derbyshire bakewell tarts, or Yorkshire pudding or a Lancashire hotpot – no one can surely deny that food locally produced from its place of origin tastes like the real deal whereas mass produced copies, no matter the merits, pale in comparison. When food is locally produced, it is plucked and cooked at its peak for the best possible taste. It is fresh, organic and intimately scrutinized. The farmer, for example, has a direct relationship with those who will prepare and package his produce. This enables him to oversee the quality of the food, as well as adding a certain personal quality and human touch which is lacking in mass production, where the aim of the industrial facilities, abattoirs and factories is to “get as much out as possible, for the cheapest price”.
In the next few posts, we’ll be looking at farm food, local production methods, organic food and much more besides.