5 ways to food shop sustainably

5 ways to food shop sustainably

As a local, regenerative farm based in rural Derbyshire, here at Unthank Farm we’re passionate about advocating for sustainability within our community. 

With today being World Earth Day, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some tips on how people can join us in adopting more sustainable habits - for the good of the planet and health. 

In this blog, we’ll be delving into five of the best simple and easy ways people can alter their food shopping habits…

1. Shop locally

Shopping locally doesn’t just mean shopping in the nearest supermarket. Although making that change to shopping closer is a good one, as you’ll be reducing your mileage and carbon footprint, going a step further and shopping in your local, independent businesses really helps to become more sustainable.

Shopping locally not only reduces your carbon footprint, but it will also mean that your money will go towards your community. In fact, government studies have shown that for every £10 spent locally, £3.85 is recirculated within the local community. This supports the local, often small or family-run, businesses, to survive and thrive.

In helping local businesses to thrive, you’ll be contributing to making your town, village or city a vibrant highstreet in which people can shop and visit - in contrast to the increasing number of ghost town highstreets that we see today thanks to the rise of mass producers and corporations. 

What’s more, local businesses often shop locally, too, thus supporting the community even further and leading to prosperous employment opportunities. 

How about a compromise? Do your big food shop at the supermarket, but buy your fruit and veg, meat or bread from a local business, instead!

2. Buy organic produce

Organic food is a term that’s become more and more popular recently, but it’s often forgotten that before the days of mass farming and fast food, humans ate organically. 

Essentially, organic food is where farming for it avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives

In using more natural resources, rather than synthetic technology and science (like growth hormones, for example), produce is more nutritious and healthier for humans to consume.

It’s also just a more natural way of eating, as it eliminates the toxic pesticide and bacteria residue that can be found in most mass-produced food nowadays. 

The one downside to organic food is that it is usually more costly, but much like most sustainable practices, it’s good to compromise. For example, buying organic fruit and veg, or grass-fed meat like here at Unthank Farm, will go a long way to acting more sustainably. 

The more people that buy organic food, the less expensive it will become!

3. Buy in bulk

Perhaps one of the best ways to be both sustainable and cost-effective, bulk buying is a great way to reduce waste. 

For example, here at Unthank Farm, we sell ‘Meat Boxes’ where people can buy a bulk load of meat that can be refrigerated or frozen to keep for later. Often, this means that you’ll have meat for over 2 weeks, thus saving money going back to the supermarket and eating better quality produce, too!

Buying in bulk saves time, money and mileage. 

4. Buy seasonally 

Buying seasonal food produce is not only environmentally-friendly, more nutritious, tastier and healthier, but it’s also often cheaper, too. This is because the food is in peak supply, and therefore doesn’t require all the preservatives or extensive shipping costs.

Eating seasonally is also a great way to eat organically, too, as less chemical preservatives will be used in the farming process, thus meaning that the surrounding water and ecosystem won’t be contaminated. 

Aside from the sustainable benefits, eating seasonally is simply just a great way to try new recipes and gain fresh ideas for each season of the year. 

Think about strawberries, when we buy them in autumn they don’t last more than a day or two! This is because their season is spring.

5. Meal plan

Similar to bulk buying, meal planning is less wasteful whilst being more cost-effective and nutritious. 

Taking the time to plan your meals can be hard, especially when you work or have a whole family to feed, but it does really help to be just that little bit more sustainable in your food shopping. Often, meal planning can also mean that you’ll actually get more for what you pay for, too, with leftovers for lunch or a different meal, too.

If you’d like some inspiration, our series of family-friendly recipes are free to read here.