The Somerset Levels and Catchment is theoretically self-sufficient in many types of food and drink, with surpluses of milk, cheese, poultry meat, barley (for beer), apples (for both eating and cider), beef, potatoes and green vegetables. This is because it has both arable and agriculturally productive pasture and a relatively low population density.
There are many good reasons to choose food grown near to you. Firstly, you get to enjoy food that is fresh, of great quality and taste. You will also be supporting local farmers and producers which helps the local economy through protecting jobs and growing new markets. You will cut the distance your food has to travel – food miles, which means less greenhouse gas and pollution. You will find it easier to eat seasonally and therefore get good value for your money because you are eating what is usually abundant and not artificially raised in hot-houses thousands of miles away. You can cut down on unnecessary packaging and take better control of what food is in your diet.
Buying local food
One way you can help ensure a thriving and biodiverse landscape is to buy food from farmers and growers whose land management practices have a positive ecological impact. There are farm shops, farmers markets and food retailers in the area which sell organic and ecologically grown produce. And there is a “one stop shop” which allows you to choose the local food you want and also allows you to discover how it is grown in the producer profiles. This is Somerset Local Food Direct. Watch their short video to see how easy it is to order nourishing, locally grown food.
For a taste of these outlets – which shorten the food supply chain and create benefits for customers, producers, health and the landscape – see below:
Somerset Local Food Direct
Plotgate Community Support Agriculture, Barton St David
Pitney Farm Shop and Café
Farmers’ Markets in the area