Local vs Organic

Hi Everyone,
Today I thought I’d write a post about the dilemma when faced with the choice of local non-organic veg and imported organic veg. In order to help you decide I have compiled a brief table, although, admittedly, it’s pretty biased because I have already made my mind up.

Local non organic (farmers market)
Imported Organic (supermarket)
Low food miles

  • fresher/more nutrients
  • less CO2 emissions
High food miles-

  • nutrients lost over time
  • high CO2 emissions
Uses Chemicals (or not) Could be using organic methods but unable to afford certifications Uses certified Organic methods
(Assuming chemicals + industrial methods are used in Local farming) This theory suggests OVERALL CO2 emissions are higher. Theories suggest a food system based on importing food (organic or not) could not adapt to a post oil world; a local food system could, provided we support local farmers even though they are more carbon intensive now.
Small scale farming -supermarkets won’t buy from small scale farms so you’ll only find them at the farmers market/ grocers.

  • bio-diversity
  • low impact methods
  • UK habitat protected
Unknown scale of farming but this article suggestssupermarket Organic uses industrial large scale.

  • Monocultures
  • industrial methods
  • deforestation
Supports local economy and local farmers Supports world trade
Irrigation /water extraction regulated by UK law Water used to irrigate crops in other countries might not be regulated affecting water supplies and habitat)

If anyone has anything to add to that please comment and lets get a discussion going. As you can see it’s not cut and dry. When I compiled the table I was just thinking about vegetables, but what about large scale organic farms that cause deforestation so that soya beans or quinoa can be grown to meet Western demand?


Following on from this theme I did a bit of research today, using the website for our local non-organic green grocers and the organic fresh food company. I don’t want to load up another boring table of prices but rather a quick summary of what I found. Please keep in mind there is bound to be a price difference as the green grocers is not organic.

The green grocers- out of 46 veg products

  • 13% were Welsh  
  • 41% were British  
  • 47% were imported.
Organic Fresh Food- out of  56 veg products
  • 28.5% were Welsh
  • 38% were British
  • 28.5% were imported
  • 5% were not labeled.

Of interest were:

Sugar snap peas and Fine Beans:

  • Green grocers- both £10 kg from Kenya
  • Organic FF- £8.96/ £10.95 (respectively) from Wales!!!


  • Green grocers- £2.65 kg from Spain
  • Organic FF- £3.39 from Wales!!!!


  • Green grocers- 3.31kg from UK
  • Organic FF- 3.91kg from UK (not much difference there, so this is a local organic food I can afford!)

Butternut squash:

  • Green grocers- £1.50 each from Israel
  • Organic FF- £1.38 per 500g from Spain
  • Not sure how big the ones at the green grocers are but I’ll find out.


  • Green grocers- £3.31kg from Holland
  • Organic FF- £3.80kg from Spain (this is another organic product I can afford, hooray!)


  • Green grocers- £2.65kg from FRANCE!!!! We’re in Wales for Gods sake!!!
  • Organic FF- £4.49 from Wales.

Vine tomatoes:

  • Green grocers- £3.31kg from Wales
  • Organic FF- £6.44kg from UK
  • I’ll definitely be buying these from the green grocers then…..

Basically, when I go to the green grocers I’ll be getting anything labeled GROWN IN WALES…… for everything else I’ll buy from the Organic Fresh Food company, provided it’s not extortionate. In which case I’ll probably be avoiding Avocado’s at £1.69 each and shallots at £7.19kg!!!!!

Oh well I’ll just have to make do with the 54 other choices of veg on offer…….





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