There are many benefits to eating seasonally, one of which is simply the food tastes better! When we eat out of season in the UK, we need to source the food from other countries so we import it. The journey the food goes on is known as food miles and involves time, and time means that the food loses flavour and nutrients.
There are also environmental consequences of food miles. The National Resource Defence Council reported the consequences resulting from importing agricultural products to be:
- 250,000 tons of global warming gases-the equivalent of 40,000 cars on the road
- More than 6,000 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides-equivalent to 1.5 million vehicles
- 300 tons of particulate matter released into the air-equating to 1.2 million cars
- Also the way the food is shipped can greatly affect pollution outputs too…Planes produce 177 times more emissions than ships
So why should we eat with the seasons?
- Better Nutrition: By eating seasonal foods you are more likely to get the full nutritional benefits. The closer our food is grown to where we live the less time it will have spent on a boat, plan or lorry. This means there has been less time for nutrients and vitamins to degrade.
- Environmentally Friendly: Eating seasonally reduces the energy (and associated CO2 emissions) needed to grow and transport the food.
- Community Benefit: Eating seasonally means your demand for imported food will be less and instead you will be supporting the local economy. Buying from local farmers markets is a great way to build community.
- Tastes better! Seasonal food hasn’t had to travel far from origin so it is fresher and so tends to be tastier.
Start small, even just choosing one seasonal item will improve your nutrient intake and help reduce your carbon footprint.
Common Seasonal Foods in the UK
Lettuce, spring onions, carrots, asparagus, spring green cabbage
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, courgettes, aubergine, onion
Pumpkin, garlic, beetroot, apples, mushrooms, pear, potatoes, plums
Cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato, parsnips, brussel sprouts, cranberries,
CHRISTCHURCH FOOD FESTIVAL EDUCATION TRUST: CHARITY NUMBER 1127292
BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY: MSc NUTRITION AND BEHAVIOUR: DANI