The Ulster Farmers’ Union says consumers who purchase local produce are helping to reduce food’s carbon footprint.
UFU vegetable chairman Adrian McGowan said: “The farming industry continues to face misleading claims or just plain wrong information about the food we produce, but supporting Northern Ireland’s farming families and buying homegrown produce such as vegetables, helps to reduce food’s carbon footprint. Many vegetables you see on the shop shelf have travelled lengthy distances, in some cases flown thousands of miles, whereas local produce is grown here on our home turf. Purchasing homegrown produce makes sense from a consumer point of view as they know where their food has come from and they can rest assured that it was produced to the highest food standards.”
Local vegetables are renowned for flavour and the production process shortens the field to fork chain.
“Homegrown vegetables are notorious for their flavoursome taste; they are fresher when they arrive in store because they have not travelled far. Local vegetables can be picked on the farm one day and be in store the next.
“The importance of a local, regional supply chain for fresh produce, has proven to have great value following the cauliflower crisis that is currently ongoing in Lincolnshire due to weather conditions. Local vegetable growers in Northern Ireland help to ensure continuous availability and prevent sudden shortage,” said Mr McGowan.
Lidl have introduced new signage to promote local vegetables and the UFU vegetable chairman, would like to see other retail stores following their lead.
“Knowledge is power and the entire agri-food industry including retailers, need to come together and do what they can to promote and educate consumers about local produce. Lidl have brought in new signage to highlight local produce in store and that makes such a difference, it’s a simple yet informative approach that will encourage consumers to choose local produce. By doing so, they will be supporting their neighbouring farming families, supplying their own families with nutritious, trustworthy produce and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win win,” said Mr McGowan.