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A pound spent in a local shop circulates

some 16 times in the local economy


A pound spent in a supermarket goes into

the back of a Securicor van and out

to faceless shareholders

Click here for a Leighton-Linslade

'Go Local First' guide to food shopping


The health, economical and environmental impacts of imported food

95% of fruit and 50% of vegetables eaten in the UK are imported

In  the middle of the UK apple season, well over half of the apples in Asda and Tesco stores are imported

Food transport accounts for one quarter of all HGV miles in the UK (DEFRA, 2005)

The amount of food air-freighted around the world has risen by 140% since1992

Around one in ten car journeys are for food shopping

‘Road miles’ account for proportionately more environmental damage than

 ‘air miles’

Air transport accounts for 1% of food miles but 11% of food mile C02 emissions

The four largest supermarkets already control three quarters of the grocery market
If all foods were sourced from within 20km of where they were consumed, environmental & congestion costs would fall by £2.1billion annually Tesco now has a massive 30% of the grocery market nationally - a rapid rise from just over 13% in the late 1990s

In the UK, food and drink and tobacco manufacturers use more energy than is used in iron and steel production.

(DEFRA, 2006)

A 2006 DEFRA report stated that 19 million tonnes of C02 was released in transporting food into the UK - equivalent to 1.8% of the UK's total annual emissions

Britons spend £1.5billion on cut flowers each year, with 85% coming from overseas.

A fifth of imports are from countries outside the EU

A study shows flower

air-miles cost the climate

Since 1978 the amount of food moved about within the UK by HGV has increased by 23%


A Meaty Issue

  • In Europe, because of a loophole in EU legislation, GM feed is fed to animals on a large scale. Many consumers are not aware that they are eating meat and dairy products sourced from GM fed animals

  • A kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home. (New Scientist, 2007)

  • Soya cultivation, mostly for animal feed, is a leading threat to biodiversity. In Brazil alone soya is cultivated on an area the size of Great Britain

  • An area of rainforest equivalent to 10 football pitches is destroyed every SECOND. Source: Farmers Weekly Food Miles Facts

  • About two thirds of the deforested land in Latin America has been due to the creation of pasture for cattle ranching

  • Global livestock production is predicted to double by 2050

"The most political act we do on a daily basis is to eat as our actions affect farms,

landscapes and food businesses."

Source:  report published in the journal Food Policy, co-authors

Prof Tim Lang, City University and Prof Jules Pretty, University of Essex

Dear Parents,

Wouldn’t you like to know a little more about the food your family eats? Are you sure that your children know that flour and potatoes are from plants, cheese from cows and tuna from the sea instead of thinking they all come directly from the supermarket?

Seventy years ago parents didn’t worry about what their children ate. Junk food and hundreds of varieties of sweets had not been created.  Preservatives and artificial colours and flavours hadn’t been invented.  Food was simple and nutritious (and didn’t put a bulge on the waistline). Seventy years has made a big difference. Our food has moved out of the age of innocence.

To avoid all the additives and empty calories for your family and to veto unhealthy farm practices of big business, there is something you can can buy local whenever you can. No one is suggesting you buy local all the time. But doing as much as you can would really help local farmers and businesses. If you could aim to shop locally every week and only do one big supermarket shop every month you would be helping a lot. We’re not asking you to solve any world problems... We’re just asking you to give your kids the best whenever you can - food that is local and natural.

Click here for a Leighton-Linslade 'Go Local First' guide to food shopping


Friends of the Earth