LOCAL MARKETS AND health food shops are food places where culture and community are still strong and thriving. Shopping at your local market will not only help you save food waste and reduce single-use plastic in your own home, but within the whole food system. I now buy the majority of my shopping from local markets, health food shops and bulk-buy stores and spend less than I used to, saving money by not buying unnecessary items and purchasing mostly whole vegetables and loose products.
Waste happens at every level of the food chain from the farm to our forks. Food changes hands many times as it is harvested, packaged, processed and distributed from the farm to the store. Each time that food changes hands the same issues arise (such as storage, handling and fluctuating demand) causing food and packaging to be wasted.
Shortening the food chain by shopping at your local market cuts out several of these steps, reducing unnecessary waste at every level. Local markets traditionally sell loose products so you can purchase what you need, using your own bags and containers. If you don’t have the time to find a local market then a seasonal veg box will also do the trick, however be sure to comment and consider other companies if they over-package their vegetables, individually or in plastic.
If supermarkets are your thing and you don’t want to buy a veg box or visit the local market, buy loose seasonal products (products marked with British country of origin – avoiding salad and tomatoes in winter that will have been in heated greenhouses or grown hydroponically), basing the bulk of your weekly shop on local and seasonal products. ‘Seasonal food’ refers to produce grown locally (or at least nationally) without extensive external inputs, such as heated greenhouses, special storage like gas-regulated refrigeration, or hydroponics.
Five London food markets to visit
- Brockley Market
- Borough Market
- Walthamstow Market
- Parliament Hill Market
- Queen’s Park Market
You can find out more on the London Farmer’s Market website: lfm.org.uk