Cop26 has demonstrated just how much work needs to be undertaken to make a difference to the climate emergency. It can be daunting and depressing because as an individual it can feel that making change happen is extraordinarily difficult.
Can our cities hold the key?
However, you won’t be alone in pondering potential practical solutions. Agricool is one company that wants to change aspects of food production and transform the number of miles products travel. They believe that growing locally is one of the solutions to eat better food in urban areas and build a more virtuous food system.
What does local mean?
Although local can be a little amorphous by definition, Agricool is convinced that for them, local means “To consume products which have been made / harvested in a perimeter that guarantees an optimum quality and a reduced ecological impact.”
Fruits and vegetables now have fewer nutrients than in the past
Bearing in mind that on average, food travels around 1500 km as it leaves the field to reach your plate. In addition, they are also harvested prior to maturity, and they’re grown to be transported, not to be appreciated. In fact, the tastiest varieties do not make it to supermarket shelves. Anything fragile is replaced by the indestructible varieties, that have fewer nutrients per fruit than fifty years ago.
Combining impact and quality is a big yes
Agricool hopes these two aspects will become the norm for all our shopping decisions. They especially want to promote the consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables. This means a reduction in imports, pollution, lower quality, fewer pesticides, and also any problematic labour methods. Agricool has developed ways to produce off season products locally wherever feasibly possible.
Help the planet without hassle
They have been working in France predominantly and worked out that an approximate number of kilometres from production to sales should be about 20kms+/- This helps everyone do something for the planet without undue difficulties or hassle. As Agricool say, it’s
‘Easier than building an eco-house, less time-consuming than learning how to make your own eco-friendly cleaning products, cheaper than investing in an electric car… eating can become (and is already) a civic act.’
As a starting point what we buy every day will inevitably have an impact on the planet.
An historic study showed that 98% of agricultural food consumed in urban areas are imported whereas local agricultural products were sent away from the area. A shift in approach and expectation will transform what we buy and how we buy it. Alcool are excited and are a name to watch as they combat farm losses in France. Urbanisation is contributing to more than 200 farms being lost annually. In addition, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted as a consequence of complex logististical processes that could be eliminated by growing within city areas. Alcool has created a process where 35 m2 can produce the same amount of food as 4000 m2 of conventional farmland. It feels like anything is possible.
Certainly, the food and ingredients industry is undergoing a profound change. Roles are exciting and need acute focus on the issues and requirements for a sustainable future. We have been working with a range of companies focusing on both plant and agritech. Our aim is to search for candidates that can take on the challenges of contemporary food production, think differently and overcome the hurdles and obstacles in transforming what we grow, how we grow, produce and consume.