Make A Change, Help The Planet: Local Food

What can we do to help the climate crisis and the planet? GCN gives examples of achievable things that can have huge knock-on effects, like buying local food.

A smiling woman in her garden surrounded by plants

While the fight against climate change can seem overwhelming, making a relatively small change in your life can have an effect. GCN speaks to people who give examples of achievable changes we can make in order to make our planet a better place. In this article, we talk about buying local food.

Partners Lisa Fingleton and Rena Blake grow as much of their own food as they can. Lisa’s book, The Local Food Project, explores the power of growing and eating local food. Lisa tells us here about their journey.

“My partner Rena managed Loafers in Cork for four years and then an opportunity came up to move back to Kerry. This was ten years ago, in 2009. We both took a look at our lives and wondered how we could best contribute to the world. We wanted to live as sustainably as possible and grow as much of our own food as we could.

“For anyone wanting to do grow their own food, I would say start small and do what you can. You can grow food on a windowsill or a balcony if you don’t have a garden. Start with herbs or fruit and vegetables that you love to eat. The great thing is, that the minute you start to taste real, freshly picked food, you realise how food should taste. Then you are hooked!

“Last year I bought a BLT sandwich, it’s meant to have four ingredients, so I suspected it would probably have maybe ten. It had 43 ingredients. I started to think about where all these ingredients came from and the energy needed to bring this sandwich to me; all the electricity, fuel and water not to mention poor conditions for animals and workers. There is no such thing as cheap food and industrialised food production has a huge impact on climate change.

“The Local Food Project came about because it was so difficult to get local food. Only one percent of our farms grow vegetables, we’re the lowest in the whole of Europe. The number of growers in Ireland has halved in the last ten years. I was wondering why nobody was talking about this.

“I decided to do a 30 Day Local Food Challenge each September. This meant I would only eat food grown and produced on the island of Ireland and support local producers. One thing to note is you can label anything as Irish if you add value, if you create jobs, but we’re actually disconnected from where actual ingredients comes from. Almost everything is being imported.

“We need to change our labeling. At the moment you do not need to tell people if food was sprayed or treated with chemicals, you only need to tell them ingredients. Organic farmers have stringent controls about labelling and growing conditions, yet food that is actually toxic does not need a warning label. This needs to be reversed.

“Eating local food is great way to eat tasty, fresh food; support local food producers and become more sustainable and resilient. We need to think global, eat local”.

For more information on Lisa and Rena’s latest projects or to get a copy of Lisa’s book, visit her website.


You can learn more about how we can all make a difference at our event ‘Mayday: The Fight To Save Our World’. The event will be an evening of information, conversation and action – a collaboration between GCN and Extinction Rebellion Ireland will take place in Project Arts Centre, Dublin on May 1.

Tickets for the event are available here.

This story originally appeared on GCN’s May 2019 issue. Read the full issue here.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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