flatlay photography of vegetables

By Guest Blogger Devon (@ecotintedglasses) who is writing a small series about all things garden and food! I am super exciting for this mini series – get ready to get dirty and learn with Devon!

As we enter a new season, the fresh produce that is available to us changes. As someone who is eager to continuously reinforce their own connection with the environment, attempting to eating seasonally as much as possible, where possible, seemed incredibly valuable. 

Eating seasonally means connecting with our environment by appreciating its bounty when supplied, as a result of the terrain and climate in which we live.  

In short, to ‘Eat Seasonally’ refers to the act of buying foods which are naturally ready to eat at a particular time of the year when they are being harvested. However, as a result of globalisation, mass production and ability to cultivate crops out of their natural season, humans have indulged in the plethora of fruit and vegetables available at any time of the year, from every corner of the world, without any consideration of the impact the availability of produce has on the environment. 

The European Food Information Council express the impact of transporting foods out of season by suggesting that ‘GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emissions are only one side of a complicated story about environmental impact and the sustainability of food production. Other measurements include water footprint and pollution, pollution from fertilisers and land used’[1]. Though animal-based products are thought to have a much higher carbon footprint than plant-based products, the transportation of out of season fruit and vegetable also contributes to a polluted world (especially if air-freighted).

We can all participate in reducing the impact of fresh fruit and veg production on the environment by engaging in seasonal eating. 

Eating seasonally not only reduces the damage done to the environment by carrying and shipping foods long distances from other countries, it also supports a more sustainable food economy. Through the simple act of purchasing produce grown seasonally, you contribute to your local community by helping farmers in your immediate environment. 

If you decide to buy seasonal fruit and veg, the reality excites the senses due to the production of fresh, fragrant and nutritious produce that has not been spoiled during transportation, blanching or dehydration techniques. The traceability of local produce grown seasonally, means that you, as the consumer, know exactly where your food comes from and often the conditions that they are grown in. 

Eating seasonally means that some of our favourite fruit & veg might not be available all year round. However, this surely means that when it’s in season, we will appreciate the produce we are eating much more and really saviour its taste, the practices gone into growing it and its existence on our plate. 

TOP TIPS FOR REDUCING YOUR RELIANCE ON OUT OF SEASON PRODUCE

  1. Locate and visit your local farmer’s market. By doing so, you can buy the exact quantity of what you need (reducing food waste) and avoid unnecessary plastic packaging. 
  2. Use my helpful Seasonal Eating Guide (over on @ecotintedglasses) to find out what fruit and veg is in season each month so that you can meal plan!
  3. Give ‘growing your own’ a go. What a better way to learn and connect with our seasonal environment. Appreciate the work that goes into creating the food we eat as a result of both human and non-human intervention. 

It’s really important to note that it’s not always possible to eat locally and seasonally for everyone all of the time due to a number of personal, societal and cultural factors. 

It’s more about the importance of making small conscious changes where possible that are more sustainable for you, your community and your environment where you can.

SOURCE
[1] https://www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/are-seasonal-fruit-and-vegetables-better-for-the-environment#ref4