This entry is part 3 of The Green Wedding Guide Series
Learn how to have an eco-friendly wedding meal or food during the reception that is earth and bride friendly!
One of the key elements of being green is eco-consumerism, which as you know essentially means supporting local businesses and especially meat and poultry producers, in the light of increasing price squeezing from supermarkets selling ridiculously cheap imported products. There are other reasons why locally sourced organic – and even non-organic – food can be better for us and for the planet, too.
With food that has traveled many hundreds or thousands of miles, inevitably it will have been handled by a large number of systems and groups and teams and distribution centers and logistics warehouses and transport companies and who knows what else. With each additional exposure, that food becomes more vulnerable to infection or pollution.
Farmers’ markets and shops
This is an interesting food source, and its definition varies from area to area and from country to country. As with so many other things, you need to adopt a “buyer beware” approach with organic food and particularly that which supposedly is produced locally. Check it out, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to challenge what you see and what you’re told.
Should you buy ingredients for your wedding feast from farmers’ markets and farm shops? OK, they may include imported products to help ramp up their sales and profits, but at least they are local businesses whose stock consists largely of local produce. Once again, a balanced view is called for, and overall, they probably are good news.
Ethical, but not local
A number of food types are extremely popular, but are not cultivated in the UK – largely because our climate is unsuitable. This includes citrus fruits, avocados, some species of pears and apples, mangoes, grapes, bananas, coffee, tea, etc. Whether we like it or not this produce has to be imported into the UK at least from southern Europe and often from much further afield.
In this case you can help the planet by choosing to buy “Fairtrade” food for your wedding. As you know this and other, similar “sustainable” initiatives are in place to ensure that at least the people and businesses producing these goods are treated fairly and in some instances are helped significantly to improve their quality of life.
Yes, organic can cost more
It may seem unfair but for the time being at least, it’s an economic reality. Food and drinks that come from far-away countries where labor is cheap and no-one is too fussy about chemicals, hygiene or any other potentially costly niggle, probably is going to be cheaper to buy than good, clean food that is grown with UK or at least European legal systems and tax laws, distributed – even locally – by vehicles paying more than £1 per litre of fuel at the time of writing and rising.
To help offset the extra cost of using local, organic produce, you may want to consider lower-cost reception options like barbecues, brunches, teas, and drinks/canapés.
Catering – your choices
Unless you are a professional or very keen amateur cook and have plenty of time in hand immediately before your wedding, it makes sense not to attempt to create the food yourself. Leaving it in the capable hands of a good friend or relative can be a wonderful solution, provided that you can count on that person being capable of delivering what you need, on time.
If there is any doubt on those counts, though, you are far better off hiring a professional caterer. If you key “organic caterers” into your favorite search engine you will find a reasonable selection but at the time of writing there aren’t that many established in the UK, and those that are already trading tend to be located near the main conurbations.
However, there is no reason why any caterer can’t produce a wonderful organic spread made from local produce, provided that you work together to ensure the menu and ingredients all come from appropriate places.