At Lee Greens, we aim to provide our local area with seasonal, organic vegetables from small local farms. What does "local" mean, though, and why might eating locally-produced food be good? These are simple questions but the answers, like most things, turn out to be a bit complicated. Here's a quick guide.
For Lee Greens Local means the South East wherever possible and certainly the UK unless the harvest is really against us. Most of our produce comes from Kent and Essex (50 to 60 miles), but we also use wholesale suppliers who source from Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Norfolk, Devon and Wiltshire. While some might not consider that "local" (you're unlikely to travel 50 miles to go to the pub), the reality is that greater London is not blessed with farms to feed all 18 million of us.
At its simplest, local means fewer food miles. This, in turn, probably means less fuel used for transport. Whether local food has a lower carbon footprint would be the subject of full scientific study. If you're concerned about this then eating more veg (and less animal products) and wasting less food will almost certainly be a good thing.
We are also aiming to balance local and organic. We actually only source from certified organic farms. So whilst local is a priority for us, organic is more so. This is partly why some of our food on occasion has to travel a bit further to find its way into our bags.
Local therefore means seasonal too; you get to try whatever's at its best at the right time of year. If however the growing conditions mean there's nothing but potatoes available locally (as has been the case during the hungry gap recently), we will from time to time go further afield to make sure you get a variety.
At the heart of Lee Greens (and local-food movements around the world) is a wish to feel more connected to the food we eat; to know where it comes from, understand a little about how it was grown and to give a fair price to our neighbours who produced it. We hope that Lee Greens is helping you do this.
For the most wonderful book about local and seasonal food, I can highly recommend "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver.