The measurable benefits of localism

We had the ’Tour de France’ in Yorkshire earlier this year, and now it is time for the ‘Figure 8 Tour of Wales’, but this is a cycling event with a twist. The brain child of Tim Keates, advocate for quality, local foods, this cycling expedition embraces great local food and showcases how sustainable food production, processing and distribution can help contribute to the economic, environmental and social health of a particular area. Tim will be accompanied by Betsy, his faithful 1930s butcher bike, and will deliver local, artisan food from one producer to another as he makes his way around Wales. These efforts are to showcase locally-based, self-reliant food economies and gather momentum behind local austerity.

Sustainable living attempts to reduce the use of the Earth’s natural resources. Reducing the carbon footprint, be it through transportation, energy consumption or diet, all helps nurture the respect for the environment.

Holistic health looks at the matrix of the mind, body and spirit, and within this spectrum lies an earthly connection to nature and community. Sustainable living can be encouraged through many admirable decisions. However, bringing it closer to home, we will look at championing local food sources and businesses.

Adapting to a more seasonal and regional diet is seen as more sustainable, and local food is generally fresher, unprocessed and therefore more nutritious, thus benefiting overall health. Eating locally and as per the dictation of the seasons can enhance the flavour of the foods we eat, as well as feeling a connection to the food and eating something that is naturally available, similar to our ancestors. We were not brought up on a diet of olives as our Mediterranean counterparts were, and so keeping in line with local environments, there is something to be said about consuming foods that our heritage is used to.

Nature, as we know, can offer health benefits in many forms, and supporting home-grown or natural movements will undoubtedly contribute to your own personal journey through health and mindfulness.

Buying local also ensures the sustainability of local areas. By strengthening the local economy, it helps keep a neighbourhood unique, creates more jobs, encourages local prosperity and invests in community cohesiveness. As a company, we support many independent artisan producers and ethical suppliers. It is important to encourage small businesses, and within the health sector, there are many valuable and worthwhile products that have been carefully crafted or lovingly produced.

Entrepreneurship fuels the economy and local-based businesses preserves local character. Endorse independent retailers and recognise the deeper contribution they are playing in society.  Supporting such initiatives increases not only awareness but public responsibility that shopping decisions can stimulate growth and prosperity in particular areas. Enhancing local businesses can have a knock-on effect on everyone involved, building relationships between producers, distributors, retailers and consumers, for the benefit of localism and the end user.

To follow Tim’s journey, go to www.greatbritishfoodcycle.org.uk