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Are we undoing the fruits of our labour?

Is our penchant for exotic fruits and vegetables sustainable? Amanda Finch investigates

Choosing foods in season, buying Fairtrade, owning an allotment, petitioning against plastic packaging – we all make decisions with sustainability in mind every day. With the global demand for fruit and vegetables increasing in recent years, we’re seeing an increase in healthier lifestyles in the West. But how can we increase the volume we produce to keep up with demand, whilst doing so sustainably? How can we as consumers eat a more sustainable diet?

Being a nutritionist, and someone who champions fruits and vegetables as an integral part of a healthy diet, I’d like to think I also do my bit for the planet. I buy plastic-free and local where possible, I shop at markets, batch cook and freeze meals. But then I also buy from supermarkets where I know certain foods are not grown locally and often encased in excessive packaging. When shopping and glancing at the fruit and veg labels, we regularly see blueberries from Chile, radishes from Morocco or peppers from Israel, it’s difficult not to question the sustainability of our supermarket fruit and veg. Many of us are already confused enough understanding what we should and shouldn’t eat. Layering environmental considerations on top can make it even more difficult.

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About Be Kind

Hello, A lot of the good news we read about in the press is from towns, cities or countries that aren’t our own, and whilst it’s fantastic to hear of successful stories or schemes in a place far from yours, it’s always really exciting to learn of great things happening on your home turf. I moved back to my home town in Essex a few years ago, after stints overseas and in London. With most of my adolescence spent here, the streets are lined with memories, but I felt a disconnect as I grew up and wanted to seek out likeminded people and pastures new. I returned with a sense of trepidation and, probably, a slightly irritating snobbery. But things have changed and I was wrong. Take Best Days Vintage, for example (p74). Based in the heart of town, they caught my eye a while back when I saw a sign outside offering free help and advice for anyone who didn’t know how to register to vote. The vintage store is not only promoting sustainable shopping, but they have created a safe space for young people to come and talk about their problems – they’re focused on building a community and spreading positivity. My hairdressers, a converted double decker bus (@originalbutton), recently posted on Instagram about their decision to make the salon an #antigossipsalon. Gone are the celebrity gossip mags and in their place is a book swap corner. They want to use their position to spread kindness and create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. I think it’s a fantastic idea. You might think there is nothing going on in your locality, but kind people are making things happen everywhere. We all need to open our eyes and ears to the great things going on nearby and lend our support – and who knows, maybe you could be the next person to start a positive movement in motion. Have a great month, Phillipa Editor