Local, Ethical, Delicious – Our Sourcing Principals
Our main priority is bringing you the best locally grown produce. Local produce has not only travelled fewer miles to get to your plate but is more diverse and seasonal. Buying local helps us re-connect with where our food comes from and makes for a much more exciting diet. We currently work with over 18 local producers, ( like Jamie from Blacklands Organic on the left), which are based within 25 miles of Oxford and we’re constantly looking to forge more partnerships so this number is growing month on month.
We only stock produce that we are happy has been produced in an ecologically-friendly and sustainable way. This means that most of our local produce is organic or grown on farms working towards organic certification. If we have to look outside the local area for our produce we ensure it’s organic, has little or no packaging, and that’s it’s transported in the most environmentally friendly possible. Transparency is key so we work closely with our suppliers to understand where our produce is from and how it’s produced so you can be confident in what you’re buying.
Taste is as important as provenance when it comes to our produce and as we only stock fresh, local or organic produce when it’s in season you can be sure ours is the most delicious you can get. Many of the fruit and vegetable varieties you’ll find in more commercial stores or that come from the other side of the world tend to be chosen for their yield and keeping qualities, not for flavour, diversity or nutritional value. Many are harvested before they are ripe and stored for long periods before distribution losing freshness, flavour and nutritional content. If you come down to one of our stall at Summertown Farmers’ Market, you’ll find we regularly offer tasters to demonstrate how delicious our fruit and veg really is.
We are continually working to improve our sourcing over time and aim to source as much of our range from local organic and ecological farms as possible and to increase this percentage by building capacity in the local food system.
Why buy organic and ecological?
– Food you can trust: keeping artificial pesticides and fertilisers out of the food chain
– Protects the environment: agrochemicals are not released into surrounding ecosystems
– Promotes biodiversity: ecological farming depends on diverse flora and fauna
– Reduces greenhouse gas emissions: conventional farming is a major CO2 emitter
– Builds soil: crop rotations ensure the long-term health of the soil
Why eat local?
– Strengthens the local economy: money spent local stays local
– It tastes better: local fruit and veg is fresh and ripe – it can go from the field to your hands in hours
– Cuts down food miles: buying food from 20 miles not 2,000 miles emits less CO2 from transport
– Builds community: we all get to know each other better
– Creates shared culture: we get to know our city and natural environment better
- The UK food market is worth £173.6bn a year
- Food accounts for 25% of the distance travelled by lorries in the UK, and 12 billion miles driven a year by consumers. The social and environmental costs of food transport – including GHG emissions – are £9 billion a year
- Our current food system accounts for around 20% of Oxford’s greenhouse has emissions*
- With an ambitious but possible change in demand profile, Oxford could reduce its food footprints significantly – by around 40% in land use, 25% in water use, 30% in energy use and 45% in greenhouse gas emissions*
- Less than 1% of Oxford’s food currently comes direct from local sources; 51% comes from the UK, 33% from the EU and 15% from further afield*
- Oxford could theoretically be self-sufficient in food*
- 92% of fruit sold in the UK is imported – if all of Oxford’s allotments and domestic gardens were given over to production, then it could produce half of the city’s fruit and vegetables, which currently produce roughly 3% of Oxford’s fruit and vegetable consumption*
- We only spend 8% of our disposable income on food; it was 25% in the 1950’s
- There are now 8,000 supermarket outlets, between them accounting for 97% of UK grocery sales
- Only 20% of every £1 spent in a supermarket stays in the local economy
- The number of greengroceries in the UK declined from 45,000 in the 1950s to around 10,000 in 2000
- The cost of groceries declined 8% in real terms between 2000 and 2008
- Farming is a dying art – the median age of farmers in the UK is 59
- 75% of consumers who buy local do so to support their local community
- 20% of consumers are willing to pay more for locally sourced food
- The first UK farmers market opened in Bath in 1997
- There are now more farmers markets in the UK (750) than there are ASDA supermarkets (523)
*This data is taken from Low Carbon Oxford & LandShare’s report ‘FoodPrinting Oxford: How to feed a city’ – well worth a read!