The UK suffers from over nutrition. 22% of men and 24% of women were obese by 2005. (Millstone and Lang 2008 pgs.26-29) Rising rates of obesity and diabetes are increasingly linked to our nutrition transition characterized by an increase in,
“• … intakes of fat, sugar, salt, and often animal foods
• … alcohol consumption …
• … the consumption of refined and processed foods.” (Millstone and Lang 2008 p.82)
Fresh seasonal food has significant health benefits. Local seasonal foods are consumed closer to their peak of ripeness, which increases the intake of health promoting phyto-chemicals found in the color and aromatic qualities of ripe produce. (Leitzmann 2005 p.758)
In my cohort, purchasing organic is largely undertaken by those with higher education and to a lesser degree with higher incomes. Those who do not purchase organic also do not grow food. Choosing organic products is a choice related more to health than to money issues. The best growers, who mostly grow organically, choose organic over local, while the rest of my cohort tends to prefer local over organic, though the differences between the two are slight. This is likely down to the motivations to grow being largely health related. It follows that those motivated enough to grow significant amounts of food, and grow it organically, place a premium on healthy food and therefore choose organic before local food.
Those in my cohort with low educational qualifications and low income purchase the least organic and local food and grow the least as well.