Before the rise of the supermarkets to dominate the grocery market and increasingly the non food market people often bought or grew locally produced food.
My grandparents kept chickens and grew food in an allotment or bought food from local shops made in the local region. This food did not travel far and global warming and food miles were unheard of.
The closest to local food that you are likely to get now is on market stalls that own their own fields or have connections with local farmers. Go to a supermarket and the fruit is from Israel, the vegetables from Kenya, the rice from India and the lamb from New Zealand.
Every time you buy anything that is not produced locally you are contributing to global warming via the food miles that the product travels. Some may say that GM foods are more appropriate to eat when they can be grown locally due to the modification that they have received. For example many fruits such as bananas cannot be grown in the UK or many colder parts of the world as they need a hot climate, what if they could be modified to grow in the North West of England in greenhouses?
I often wonder whether it would be more economical and kinder to the planet to grow food in huge greenhouses in the UK as opposed to growing them in nearby France or Spain without artificial heat but then transferring them to the UK by road, rail, sea or air freight in refrigerated settings?
Local farmers markets and websites offering local food are springing up all the time and TV chefs are doing their best to help the cause. In season, local food is often fresh and cheap as chips. You will be able to find seasonal, local food and farmers markets and almost anything you want to know about this subject via the usual search engines or at the local library.
If you have to buy from a supermarket always buy organic or fair trade where possible to have minimum impact on communities and the land used.
There has been a great program on TV recently called the peoples supermarket about a supermarket in London that concentrated on buying local food for the supermarket shelves. They really struggled to find thousands of different products that you would find in the co op supermarket for example. The owner of the peoples supermarket often found fields with hundreds of acres of apples which supermarkets did not want and the farmer was burning them as it was cheaper to do this. What a terrible waste. Why not have open days where people can pick as much as they want for a small charge?
If supermarkets which account for the majority of the grocery market bought unpopular food and sold it very cheap then it would save on tons of waste each year and reduce food miles as people are likely to chose the cheaper local alternative than the more expensive better looking food from far away. Local food creates local jobs which are badly needed during this recession don t you think?