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Can we eat more sustainably?
Our health – and the planet's – is down to what we eat. Local, organic, fresh food also supports local, sustainable ...
Our health – and the planet's – is down to what we eat. Local, organic, fresh food also supports local, sustainable jobs. Growing some of your own is also satisfying!

posted on 9 Nov 2020

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Discover how to buy local healthy food
## Solution Summary
Some options for buying local, healthy, organic and seasonal food.

## Why do it?
Local, organic, fresh food is healthy, low carbon and supports local jobs.

## How to do it

Try following at least one of these options next time you're food shopping.

#### 1. Reduce food miles

Some foods travel around the world but others only a few miles.

Usually, a long distance equals more pollution and carbon emissions.

So food produced closer to you is often better for the planet.

#### 2. Choose organic

If you can buy organic food, this is kinder to the environment.

Organic farming builds healthy soil, and avoids pesticides and artificial fertilisers – a big source of carbon emissions and pollution.

Organic farms have more insects, birds and bees – important for pollination and natural pest control. Just as nature intended!

You might be surprised how many organic food producers are in your region!

#### 3. Choose seasonal

Local food may also be more ‘in season’.

Buying seasonal food is also better for the environment.

This is because non-seasonal food has either travelled from a part of the world where it is in season, or it has been frozen.

Both increase its carbon footprint.

#### Support local jobs

If you by local food you can feel good that you are supporting the local economy too.

This helps to strengthen the economic resilience of your community.

#### Check out where to buy it

Use the tools and links below to discover:
* where to buy delicious and varied locally produced food
* what's in season throughout the year
* how many miles some foods may have travelled.

## Resources and tools
1. [Welsh Food Directory:](http://foodinnovation.wales/directory/) Where to buy Welsh food: a directory of Welsh producers by region and food type.
2. [The Big Barn: Swansea City Local Food directory](https://www.bigbarn.co.uk/places/Swansea-City): Where to buy food local to Swansea – seasonal organic food, farm shops, farmers markets, etc.
3. [Food Miles Calculator](http://foodmiles.com/): Reduce "food miles": Find out how far a food product has travelled to reduce the carbon emissions of what you eat. Simply enter where the food came from and it will tell you the distance it's travelled.
4. [Eat food that's in season](https://www.thevurgerco.com/blogjourney/how-to-eat-seasonally): Eating only seasonal food reduces the carbon impacts of transporting food across the world. Scroll down this page to see a list of fresh foods available in each season.
5. Buy from a local farm shop, a sustainable food supplier based on Gower: [Farm Co](https://www.farmco.wales/)
6. Big Meadow: [Buy from a community agriculture food supplier based in Llangennith](https://www.facebook.com/BigMeadowCSA/)
7. [Cae Tan](http://www.caetancsa.org/en/): a Community Supported Agriculture project on Gower supplying fresh, seasonal, organic produce to members. [Visit their Facebook page.](https://www.facebook.com/1466314323699258/)
8. [Dunvant Farm Shop](https://www.facebook.com/pg/Farm-Shop-Dunvant-178611129365214/): locally produced fresh beef, pork, lamb, eggs and vegetables together with a range of preserves, cakes and savoury snacks.
9. [Cellular Agriculture](https://www.cellularagriculture.co.uk/): Discover a local artificial meat developer. Artificial meat could be a sustainable alternative to real meat. This local company is a world leader in its development.
*If you're a local supplier and want to be listed here, do get in touch.*

## Case Studies

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posted on 4 Nov 2020

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Encourage more local food suppliers with a regional partnership
## Solution Summary
Councils and regional trade alliances can set up more local and organic food supply chains by creating and supporting wide area partnerships, and aligning other policies.

## Why do it?
To make the local food system more resilient and sustainable, and better manage regional ecosystem services. This will support jobs while reducing the carbon footprint of food.

## How to do it
Set up a regional food system partnership. The idea has taken off in many parts of the world and around the UK.

#### What is a regional food system partnership?

It involves a network of players, processes and relationships working together on food production, processing, marketing, and consumption across a region – linking urban, peri-urban and rural areas.

Hundreds of cities have food policies or governance structures, often focussed on specific food-related issues, which then have spin-off benefits in related areas such as health and food poverty.

#### 5 possible stages

The following five-stage process to develop a local statutory food partnership is suggested by the UK Sustainable Food Places Network.

This offers assistance to develop local cross-sector partnerships to promote healthy and sustainable food in each regional, metropolitan and local authority.

1. **Build a food partnership:** Put in place an appropriate and representative partnership structure to lead on development and delivery of the food strategy.
2. **Get the right people involved:** Determine shared purpose, aims and work plan, and learn from best practice in the network
3. **Develop a food strategy and food system overview:** Build a broad understanding of the local context and local food culture and collect baseline data
4. **Action planning:** Develop an action plan to deliver the strategy in an inclusive, participatory and collaborative way
5. **Review and refresh:** Measure impact, refresh the strategy and ensure that all is working effectively.

#### The 4 goals

The four goals are for local production and supply needs to be sufficient, diverse and affordable, while ecosystems must be improved and protected.

#### 1. Support
A local production chain needs help to compete with supermarket imports and their artificially cheap food.

Support must therefore be for diversification, with training and grants, and improved and guaranteed access to markets for smallholder producers and businesses, provided organic and other quality standards are met.

Public sector organisations can lead the way by procuring their own food supplies locally, and organically.

This will provide sufficient guarantees of future income for producers and food processors to have the confidence to invest in diversifying what they produce and in processing facilities.

#### 2. Budgeting
When budgeting the necessary measures, it’s important to factor in the cost savings from other areas, such as savings in the health system (from reduced pressure on it and fewer days off sick), benefits system (from job creation) and environmental benefits.

In this way, for every £1 invested in local and sustainable food sourcing in the public sector, the community could see up to £3 return in social, economic and environmental value – according to research from the New Economic Foundation.

For example the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan is one of the oldest and most successful projects linking nearby rural to urban markets. It generates over 1.5 billion Canadian dollars for local farms from 200 different commodities. After processing, this value is $12.3 billion per year.

#### 3. Community Supported Agriculture and patchwork farms
These directly connect many producers with consumers, who “subscribe” to their services.

They include box schemes and home delivery services.

‘Patchwork farms’ such as Farmdrop in London link multiple producers of organic produce via mobile technology to coordinate direct sales to customers so that producers need to spend less time on marketing and can produce more. See the separate solution on setting these up.

#### 4. Align policies

Policies should prevent urban sprawl into valuable agricultural and ecological land. Policy aims can be to:
* Preserve and reclaim the exceptional environmental wealth
* Adapt territory to climate change and mitigate its effects
* Prepare for foreseeable demographic changes
* Support sustainable economic change
* Align planning policy with for example: urban plans, mobility plans, housing programmes, climate change and clean air, water and energy plans.

## Resources and tools
* [UK Sustainable Food Places Network](https://www.sustainablefoodplaces.org/): This offers assistance to develop local cross-sector partnerships to promote healthy and sustainable food in each regional, metropolitan and local authority. It runs award schemes to recognise the high achievers and campaigns.
* [The Soil Association's Shortening Supply Chains](https://www.soilassociation.org/shortening-supply-chains-roads-to-regional-resilience/): Roads to Regional Resilience: recommendations and examples of businesses and councils working to shorten supply chains, and what opportunities exist to increase the availability of local, sustainable food in your community.
* [Milan Urban Food Policy Pact](http://www.milanurbanfoodpolicypact.org): Supports cities to create “sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse”. This website is packed with resources and examples.
* [C40 Food Systems Network](https://www.c40.org/networks/food_systems): Convenes city officials to work together to achieve solutions to food systems challenges, building on the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. It supports citywide efforts to implement integrated food policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase resilience and deliver health outcomes.
* [Sustain](https://www.sustainweb.org/): the alliance for better food and farming: Discover ways to improve food and farming in Wales, with news, great ideas and campaigns covering every conceivable aspect of food, health and the environment.
* [The Sustainable Food Trust](https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/) based near Lampeter, Wales, supports the transition to a more sustainable food system.

## Case Studies
* [Canada's Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan](http://www.foodandfarming.ca/)
* Italy's [Bologna Metropolitan Agriculture Project](https://connectingnature.eu/blog/metropolitan-agriculture-bologna-good-practices-and-metropolitan-innovation-system), part of the Metropolitan Strategic Plan, strengthens the urban-rural relationship by identifying the peri-urban area as a buffer zone between urban and rural needs. Quality produce is identified by a 'km 0' label and promoted with direct sales, a sustainable distribution system and educational farms.
* France's [Montpellier Territorial Coherence Scheme (ScoT)](https://tinyurl.com/y4aghsp4), which defines agricultural areas to be protected for a period of 15-20 years, stipulating the preservation of agricultural and natural spaces as a condition for new projects.
* The [Catalan Council of Ecological Agriculture Production]( https://tinyurl.com/y6g6vjus) has, since 2001, set a regulatory mandate on technical norms for organic certification as a prerequisite for suppliers.
* [Farmdrop patchwork farm](https://www.farmdrop.com/faq).
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posted on 12 Nov 2020

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Dine out on local healthy food
## Solution Summary
Some options for dining out on local, healthy, organic and seasonal food.

## Why do it?
Buying local, organic, fresh food is a very good way of reducing your carbon and ecological footprint and staying healthy. It also supports local jobs. Organic food production is kinder to the environment.

## How to do it
Enjoy good local food in a convivial atmosphere by using the links below.

To be added to this list, please contact us.

## Resources & tools
1. [Hoogah's cafe-bar-deli](https://www.facebook.com/HoogahSwansea/)
2. [Nomad restaurant](https://www.nomadswansea.co.uk/)
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posted on 6 Apr 2021

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A guide to going vegan healthily
## Solution Summary
Tips for cutting animal products from your diet.

## Why do it?
Avoiding or reducing meat and meat products is one of the four best ways of reducing your carbon emissions and ecological footprint.

## How to do it:

We can sustain ourselves on a diet that excludes animal products if we are careful with our diet.

This would reduce the land needed for growing animal feed and grazing and therefore reduce forest clearance and other environmental destruction.

Additionally, cows, pigs and sheep give off methane, a potent greenhouse gas, intensive animal farming results in severe pollution problems, and there is concern about cruelty to animals in industrial agriculture and abattoirs.

#### Six steps to going vegan

It can seem daunting, but it's much easier than it used to be.
1. Use the resources below for ideas, recipes, products and inspiration.
2. When food shopping, look for the vegan symbol on products.
3. Many restaurants and cafes now offer vegan alternatives, in the UK at least.
4. Elsewhere, use the Happy Cow app below to find friendly ones.
5. Enjoy experimenting and discovering new tastes.

#### Take care of your health

A vegan diet might be deficient in some essential things your body needs if you're not careful.

This particularly applies to babies and growing children.

Do check resources 7 and 8 below to make sure your diet gives you everything your body needs to be healthy.

## Resources and tools
1. [Vegan Society](https://www.vegansociety.com/)
2. [The Happy Cow:](https://www.happycow.net/) useful site for finding vegan and vegetarian restaurants and shops worldwide
3. [BBC Good Food recipes for vegan meals](https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/vegan-recipes)
4. [Jamie Oliver's easy vegan recipes](https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/special-diets/vegan/)
5. [PETA:](https://www.peta.org/recipes/) recipes, lifestyle tips and more
6. [Quiz:](https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/healthy_vegan_diet_quiz) Do you know what a healthy vegan diet looks like?
7. [Vegan diet and brain food](https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200127-how-a-vegan-diet-could-affect-your-intelligence)
8. Beginner's guide to veganism:


## Case Studies
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posted on 7 Apr 2021

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Grow fresh food on your windowsill
## Solution Summary
How to sprout many kinds of seeds in just a few days to provide nutritious, cheap, fresh food.

## Why do it?
Growing your own food is satisfying, nutritious, good for the environment and saves you money!

## How to do it
No garden? No problem. Or even if you do have a garden, it's easy, all year round to do indoor gardening: sprout seeds.

It can start on your windowsill with bean sprouts! Especially good if you don't have a garden.

It's fun for kids to do.

#### How can you use the sprouts?

Eat them in all sorts of dishes – fresh in a salad, in a sandwich, fried, in curries, and on pizzas.

#### What kind of seeds can you sprout?

Almost any.

Common seeds include:
Alfalfa, mung beans, lentils, chickpeas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cress, mustard, aduki.

They are sold by supermarkets and health food shops.

Once you get the hang of it it's fun to experiment with different seeds.

#### How to sprout seeds
1. Choose an empty, clean jar that's a good size. Ideally one with a wide opening.
2. Rinse your seeds well with cool water.
3. Put the seeds in the jar and cover them with cool water. Cover with the lid, pierced with holes, or a mesh or cloth secured with a rubber band, to allow air flow.
4. Leave to soak for at least 8 hours, such as overnight. In cooler temperatures, it takes longer, and larger seeds like chickpeas or kidney beans may require a 24-hour soak.
5. Drain them well.
6. Rinse, drain, and repeat a couple of times a day. Don't let them dry out, but let the air circulate around them.
7. After three or four days, depending upon the temperature, they should've sprouted well enough to use.

Check out the video below.

## Resources and tools
* [Here's a step-by-step guide on a web page with photographs](https://verticalveg.org.uk/6-easy-steps-to-sprout-heaven/)
* This video explains how to sprout many kinds of seeds to make super-cheap and nutritious food in your kitchen:


## Case Studies
How to sprout at home:

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posted on 7 Apr 2021

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Learn how to grow food to save money
## Solution Summary
How to successfully grow your own food to improve your health and to help you save money.

## Why do it?
Growing your own food is very satisfying, nutritious, good for the environment and can save you money! It's also great for your physical and mental health.

## How to do it:
Let's suppose that you have identified, own, rent, or borrowed some land.

Whatever the size of your plot, you can manage it without a lot of effort, as long as you keep a regular eye on it.

### 19 tips to get you started
1. Feed the soil by covering it with organic material – manure, leaf mould, peat, garden compost, seaweed, composted straw, or mushroom compost. This provides nutrients, and the more you put in, the bigger and better your plants will be.
2. If you don't have any of the above and the plot is filled with weeds, cover it with old carpet or plastic sheeting over the winter and this will kill the weeds, which will compost into the soil.
3. Meanwhile, make your own compost [link to other solution].
4. To save money, favour growing vegetables and fruit that are more expensive to buy, rather than potatoes and carrots, which are cheap.
5. Soft fruit (strawberries, raspberries, and the like) are relatively easy to grow.
6. Cut-and-come-again plants (perpetual spinach, purple sprouting broccoli) can be harvested for perhaps half of the year; they will just keep producing.
7. Making raised beds for the vegetable plots is common; they make it easier to apply compost, to weed, and help with drainage.
8. Get to know what grows best in your veggie patch by trying out different crops and varieties.
9. Inspect plants regularly to be alert to the effects of the weather and early signs of pests and diseases. You may need to protect your plants, such as netting them. Water in dry weather.
10. Grow vertically if you don't have much space; train plants to climb with a trellis or espalier system.
11. Stagger the amount and planting time because some crops planted at the same time ripen all at once (many tomatoes and some salad leaves), some can be harvested over a period of time (courgettes and squashes). Some plants require much space (sweetcorn).
12. Plant green salads at weekly intervals to have a constant supply, but only if you plan for the available space.
13. If you're going to plant a bush or tree, why not make it a fruit bush/tree or hazelnut tree?
14. Your neighbourhood might have seed swaps in Spring where you can pick up invaluable advice with your seeds – ask your local community growing group. Of course, you could collect your own seeds!
15. To prevent soil nutrients from leaching out, keep the soil covered with crops, plastic or mulch.
16. Green manures are grown when you're not growing anything else. These plants improve soil fertility, restrict weeds and protect soil structure. They include legumes, phacelia, lupin and red clover – allow a few plants to seed. Those with deep root systems draw up nutrients leached into the subsoil. Before they flower, cut them just above the soil surface and compost them, or in winter leave as mulch.
17. Vegetable families include:
* Brassicas (the cabbage family) – Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kale but also swede, turnip and kohl rabi.
* Alliums – onion, onion sets, spring onions, pickling onions, leeks, shallots and garlic. They prefer highly fertile, phosphate-rich soil. Growing onions alongside carrots is beneficial.
* Root crops – potato, celery/celeriac, carrots, parsnips, turnips, swedes and beetroot. Plant after brassicas near the onion family to deter pests, and intercrop with quickly maturing salad crops from April.
18. Temperature affects plant growth, so protect them from too much heat and cold: growth rates increase up to 21ºC. Photosynthesis and germination start at about 6ºC. The first frost signals the end of runner beans and squashes – time to protect tender plants!
19. Techniques for keeping out pests include: barriers and traps for larger animals; attracting natural predators like birds for insects; removing infested leaves and plants; using vigorous growing plants capable of withstanding attack; intercropping and companion planting; using resistant varieties.

## Resources and tools
1. Online video courses to help you get gardening and growing, educational activities to do at home or in school, and expert advice and tips on growing and gardening from the [Garden of Wales: Growing the Future.](https://botanicgarden.wales/science/growing-the-future/)
2. Free garden compost is available to all Swansea residents from the [Tir John Household Waste Recycling Centre.](https://www.swansea.gov.uk/tirjohnHWRC)
3. Find out where there are allotments in your area with [Swansea Council's allotments guide.](https://www.swansea.gov.uk/allotments)
4. Indoor gardening: sprout seeds. This video explains how to sprout many kinds of seeds to make super-cheap and nutritious food in your kitchen.


## Case Studies
Huw Richards' popular [How to Grow Food Organically YouTube channel](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeaKRrrpWiQFJJmiuon2WoQ)
1. Intercropping:

2. Companion planting:

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posted on 7 Apr 2021

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Healthy diet guidelines that can boost mood
## Solution Summary
Learn how what you eat affects your health and mood.

## Why do it?
Because it's beneficial to have some simple, reliable rules for a healthy diet.

## How to do it
When you don’t eat enough nutrient-rich foods, your body may lack vital vitamins and minerals, often affecting your energy, mood and brain function.

#### Secrets of a healthy diet

It's important to get your vitamins and minerals from eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least the recommended 'five a day'.

But in certain circumstances or for certain people, supplements may be beneficial e.g. folic acid for all women planning pregnancy; iron supplements for people diagnosed with anaemia; vitamin D for everyone in winter months, and all pregnant and breast-feeding women, older adults, and people with dark skins.

The fewer processed foods and the more fresh foods in your diet, the better.

#### Energy foods

Feeling tired? The ability to concentrate and focus comes from the adequate supply of glucose, or energy, to the brain, which uses 20% of all energy needed by the body.

Glucose is also vital to fuel muscles and maintain body temperature.

It comes from all the carbohydrates we eat – foods including fruit, vegetables, cereals, bread, rice, potatoes, sugars and lactose in milk.

#### Comfort eating

A messenger chemical in the brain called serotonin improves how we feel.

More of this may get into the brain when carbohydrate-rich foods are eaten.

This could cause a craving for sweet, comfort foods to boost mood.

It may also be that not consuming enough carbohydrate (for example through a high protein/high fat diet) leads to low moods.

A balance is important.

#### Sources of expert advice

The advice in the resources below is scientific and easy to understand.

## Resources and tools
1. [Advice from the British Association of Dieticians:](https://www.bda.uk.com/food-health/food-facts.html) Factsheets on health, mood and food
2. [Advice from the Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine](https://www.medschl.cam.ac.uk/human-resources/staff-wellbeing/wellbeing-a-z/nutrition/)
3. [Advice from the Irish Government](https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/healthwellbeing/our-priority-programmes/heal/healthy-eating-guidelines/)

## Case Studies
The Eatwell Guide:

Healthy meals fo under £1:
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posted on 7 Apr 2021

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Set up a community growing project
## Solution Summary
Tips on growing food as part of a community group.

## Why do it?
It is very satisfying, nutritious, good for the environment and can save you money! Joining a group lets you learn and share new skills and make friends.

## How to do it

**Join an exisiting group**

First, is there an existing community growing group in your area?

If so it makes sense to join that, if there is space.

in Swansea, check out the Swansea Community Growing Network in the Resources below.

**Start a new one**

Perhaps there isn't one, or it is full.

If so, look for suitable unused land in your area.

If you and some colleagues have your eye on some potential land for a project, support in Wales is available from Tyfu Fyny (it means 'growing up' in Welsh) and Social Farms & Gardens throughout the UK. See Resources below.

They will take you step by step through the procedures.

## Resources and tools
1. [Swansea Community Growing Network ](https://swanseacommunitygrowing.weebly.com/) – find a growing project near you.
2. [Support to set up a community growing project in Wales from Tyfu Fyny](https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/tyfu-fyny). This includes a Community Supported Agriculture Network.
3. [Social Farms & Gardens:](https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/wales-csa-network) a charity supporting communities growing food throughout the UK.

## Case Studies
1. [Map of Swansea's growing spaces](https://www.sustainableswansea.net/uploads/5/8/4/7/5847606/swansea_growing_spaces_map.pdf)
2. [Clydach Community Garden](https://sbuhb.nhs.wales/news/swansea-bay-health-news/wellbeing-blooms-in-community-garden/)

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posted on 7 Apr 2021

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