One thing we can all do to support good food is to buy better when we’re shopping and eating out. It might not feel like much, but consumer pressure on companies, restaurants and cafes really does work. If we all demand better when it comes to how our food is grown or farmed, how the people involved in the supply chains are treated, and how it impacts on the environment, then they will respond. We’ve come up with some ways we think you can have a real impact through what you buy. You don't have to do all of them; maybe pick 1 or 2 and see how you get on.
Buy seasonal ingredients
Buying fresh produce in season is a great way to contribute to Good Food.
Seasonal produce is better for the environment, tastier and more nutritous too! It’s not always easy to know what’s in season, so use our ‘what’s in season’ guide to find out what to eat and when. If it's come from a local farmer, you’re supporting the local economy too.
Use local producers and independents.
Using local producers and shops is more than just good food and a great way to support the local economy; you’ll get stories, passion and real love from these guys too! Greenwich has a few markets like Blackheath Farmer’s Market, Eltham Farmer’s Market, Beresford Square Market and Woolwich Arsenal Farmer’s Market where you can get locally grown or produced food.
Or try your local shops too; they often are a great community resource and very responsive to local needs.
Buy certified foods
Another way to support Good Food is by buying certified ingredients such as Fairtrade, MSC – Marine Stewardship Council, Freedom Food. These certifications assure you that the food has been produced in ways that look after the people and the planet:
The Fairtrade stamp shows that product has been bought for a fair price from a co-operative and money is put back into the local community to build wells or schools.
The MSC stamp means you know that fish has been caught in a sustainable way – a way that looks after future fish stocks and doesn’t damage the environment.
The Freedom Food stamp means you know the farms have been checked by the RSPCA and that welfare standards of the animals have been assured.
We’ve done some price comparisons, and found that often certified products are the same price or cheaper than the alternatives. Have a look the next time you’re out.
Check out Compassion in World Farming’s ‘Compassionate Food Guide’ for a clear explanation of all the different and often confusing food labels on meat. A great resource to help make fairer choices
Waste less food, and compost and recycle what you can
Did you know that on average each family throws away £60 in wasted food every month?! That’s nearly £700 per year! Wasting food is not only bad for your pocket, but disastrous for the environment too. If we stopped wasting food it would be the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road!
Greenwich Council now does curbside food waste collections, and turn food waste into compost. They also pick up all of your other recycling too, so check to see before you throw anything away whether it can be recycled.
Another great website to check out is Feedback. They have loads of great information about what’s going on and how to get involved such as joining a gleaning network, or taking part in their Feeding the 5000 feast event!
Buy less meat
The impact of meat on our health and environment is huge. Meat and dairy production produce 60% of greenhouse gases and takes up over 80% of our agricultural land. The UN recently said that the single most effective way of tackling climate change was to stop eating meat. There’s also animal welfare to consider; animals kept in unpleasant and cramped conditions. And what about our health? There are clear links with increased meat (particularly cured meats) intake and risks of cancer and heart disease.
Meat free Mondays are a good place to start. It doesn't have to be every day, just not eating meat one day a week will have a big impact! There are a lot of resources out there to support with tasty recipes such as the Vegetarian Society and the Vegan Society.
Eating out; demand better!
Ask for healthier, more sustainable options. It makes good business sense to listen to customers, and good ones will do just that.
Ask them for:
Some healthier options
Where their fish or chicken comes from
Whether they have good veggie options
Tap water on the table
The more we ask, the more likely they’ll change. And look out for the Healthier Catering Commitment – this shows that the café or restaurant is making changes to offer you more healthy options.
Our Good Food in Greenwich Business Charter is for businesses that have demonstrated they’ve made changes to be more healthy and sustainable – ask your local business to sign up to it! For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org