Eco-Food Shopping

To explore the world of occasioning we enter a world of claim and counter-claim, fact and a great deal of fiction. Some arguments are laid out below as we try to minimise the ecological impact of our food consumption habits in the Allertons.

fruit lorry

Food Miles

Food miles for determining environmental impact is increasingly questioned as misleading, and certainly difficult to calculate.

Two commonly used examples:


1) Major supermarkets may air-freight Fine Green Beans from farms in Kenya, which use manual labour. It is argued the ecological impact is considerably less than force-growing the same product in the UK or Europe during winter using heated poly-tunnels, nitrate fertilizers, and tractors.

2) Apples, grown mostly in the UK and France are available year round at all major supermarkets and local greengrocers. This is only possible because apples store very well for extended periods in cold storage. From April onwards it is also possible to Sea Freight Apples from overseas e.g. South Africa.

In an American study (Weber, C.L. and Matthews, H.S. (2007) quantifying the Global and Distributional Aspects of American Household Environmental Impact Ecological Economics, Journal of Environmental Science & Technology.), it was suggested that purchasing local products would not necessarily be the most environmentally sound choice in all cases. They suggested the changes in what we eat may have greater significance, as can issues of storage.


The study found that replacing red meat and dairy products once per week with chicken, fish or vegetables has the same effect as eating a locally sourced diet.

We can make easier choices to grow, or rear, as much of our own food as space and time may allow and buying locally produced food whenever possible, and buy it locally! There is no great saving ecologically or financially in buying locally produced cream, cheese or cider, from a supermarket in Highbridge, that gets there via Stafford and Chepstow. There are many genuine examples of food produced less than 10 miles from the Allertons, and available in the local supermarkets, that travel 300 miles+ by lorry in order to get there!

Reducing the impact of food shopping has as much to do with our choice of what we buy and when, as it does where we buy.

Local Food Shopping

  • red appleFarmers Markets at Axbridge and Cheddar
  • Mobile Greengrocer
  • Mobile Fish Monger
  • Local Food retailers or farm shops from business directory.
  • Freezing / pickling / preserving as much as possible
  • Veg. Exchange scheme If you have spare, post it on the web-site.
  • Ask your local supplier - where his produce is sourced and how far it travelled to reach the store.