15 October 2007, 15:41 PM
  • Delicatessens, farm shops and many other retailers signed up to last month's Climate Friendly Fortnight to help shrink the country's foodprint.

More than 30 shops joined in with September’s the Climate Friendly Fortnight initiative and offered information to their customers about how they could help wildlife by cutting their carbon emissions, including through eating locally sourced food. The fortnight was originally the idea of the South West Wildlife Trust (SWWT), an umbrella group including the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT), brought about from ongoing worries that not enough was being done to protect the area’s natural heritage from the risks of global warming.

“Eating locally produced food is one of the five quick climate fixes we asked people to consider through the fortnight,” says Liz Coose, from GWT. “We wanted to get shops involved to highlight how significant our food is as part of our overall carbon footprint. Buying local products, growing your own and composting are all the ways people can reduce their emissions. These will ultimately help wildlife by reducing the effect of climate change on natural habits.

“As well as promoting local food, each of the shops involved also displayed information on broader climate change issues to help raise awareness and inspire action among local people. These stores tend to be at the centre of their communities, so they provide an ideal route for us to engage with individuals and groups in the vicinity,” she adds.

In the UK, 95% of fruit and vegetables bought come from abroad including products that could be obtained locally. For example, it takes 900 times more energy to fly a kilo of asparagus from California, than buying some grown in the area.  According to the GWT, looking for food that hasn’t travelled much can have a real impact on the environment. Produce is often transported for miles in order to be packaged and processed, before going onto another long journey to reach its point of sale.

Shops that participated in the GWT’s Climate Friendly Fortnight included Orchard Food & Wine, in Lydney; The Natural Grocery Shop, in Cheltenham; Shepherd’s Farm Shop, in Newent; Cotswold Organic, in Moreton-in-Marsh; Hampton Delicatessen, in Stow-on-the-Wold; and The Butts Farm Shop, near South Cerney.