With the synchronicity of the internet that only the algorithms of social media can evoke, we were just talking about shopping locally in the Less-stuff Facebook group when this 7 day challenge came to my attention. Happerley is a new way of certifying food producers and suppliers that lets us consumers trace where it came from. They are running a 7 day challenge asking:
Can you survive for seven days only consuming food and drink where you know where it is from?
Why is knowing your food source important?
So you know it will taste good
You can choose to buy your strawberries from Costco where they are shipped in from America or you can choose to wait until they are in season and buy them from the nearest farm. Food generally tastes nicer and retains more vitamins if it has not spent hours and hours in shipping containers. Local does not always mean best though, my favourite Tapas restaurant in Bristol only serves food imported from Spain, we just don’t have the temperatures to dry tomatoes in the sun or produce enough olives to make oil. The owner of Barrika Tapas knows all of his suppliers though and brings in Spanish food purely to bring us an authentic (and delicious) taste. It is ok to get pasta from Italy if it is made from good ingredients and tastes better than pasta from the UK. Having bought a box of tasteless strawberries from Costco (without thinking of reading the label) I will never do it again. They were pointless pink things.
So you know it is ethical
If you are vegan or vegetarian lets just put aside the fact that you consider all animal products to be unethical. If you eat meat, eggs or diary and you are concerned with the welfare of the animals involved then knowing where they came from can be reassuring. You possibly don’t want to know your chicken was called Colin but you might want to know that it really was free range and not just green-washed into looking that way with clever labeling. Happerley are using the hashtag #namethefarm to encourage transparency.
So you know it is real food
If you can trace food back to it’s source and that source is not a chemical factory then you are probably eating something that is good for you and not junk food.
Lets not get all purist about this
I am not at home to the local food police. It is much better to make small changes that are doable than to be scared off thinking you won’t be able to do something well enough. I’ll be doing the 7 day challenge to the best of my ability, within my tight budget. I’ll spend the week hunting down alternatives to food that has come miles, but it will have to be affordable. It will also have to fit in with my efforts to be plastic free and zero waste.
If you want to join me please visit the Live Happerley website for tips and ideas to make it a very exciting week. You can see what everyone else on the challenge is up to by following the hashtag