I’ve been dreaming about today’s ethical post for a while, and right now I sure am feeling hungry! We’ve been covering a lot of ethical and sustainable topics in this series and today I wanted to talk about food as I feel this can often be overlooked, especially if your venue is doing all of the catering for you. Even if this is the case speaking to them about some of the tips below, I’m sure they could be incorporated into your wedding feast! It’s not just about eating organic, but thinking about sustainability – where has your food come from, how has it travelled, how was it grown? Let’s get from farm to table!
Please note – we don’t expect people to follow every single one of these guidelines, and understand we can’t make every single thing in our lives ethical (unless we live in a hole in the woods, probably naked and eating leaves?) but maybe, just maybe by supporting one of these ideas, we could help the world a little bit at a time. Here’s how:
one. shop local – hunt out your local farmers market or farm produce shops and find real suppliers who have grown food close to your venue. Have a search on FARMA. Speak to your venue’s chef and find out where the food has come from. Is there a chance you can select where you get your fresh produce from? If you don’t ask you’ll never know!
two. organic – again speak to your venue, they may already be using organic suppliers (even better if they are local 😉 ) but if not find out about sourcing your own organic veggies, fruit and meat or if they can source these for you. By shopping organic your food will be pesticide free. Whilst pesticides are tested to make sure they are safe, little is known about their long term effects. According to Nick Mole, Pesticide Action Network UK, non-organic produce contains around 60% pesticide residue. If that’s not a reason to switch to organic, think about the long term effects on the natural environment – the reduction in water pollution, keeping land fertile, preserving ecosystems, plus better taste! Try Daylesford Farm.
three. free range – cheap meat is seriously damaging the environment and let’s not mention the conditions the animals are kept in. The more we buy cheap meat, the more farm factories produce it and the cheaper it becomes. The farmer loses out with relatively little profit, we lose out with poor quality meat, the animals lose out with inhumane living conditions and not only that the environment loses out. Studies show that 18% of greenhouse gas emissions are directly attributed to livestock production, and this is not including the grains grown to support the livestock. By shopping free range, organic and local this will have a huge impact on the environment. We know this is a more expensive approach to meat consumption, but by eating less meat and spending our money on better quality meat this will also be beneficial to your health. Talk to your venue about buying free range or if you are having a DIY wedding then shop around yourself.
four. food miles – yes food miles! How far has your food had to travel until it ends up on your plate? When planning for a sustainable wedding breakfast, think about reducing your food’s carbon footprint by trying to avoid food shipped in from abroad by supporting local businesses and shopping seasonally.
five. seasonal – related to point four – if your favourite food isn’t in season it’s going to have to come from somewhere, probably far away. Meaning your ethical points will be going downhill as your air miles increase! Shopping seasonally means you will save money and eat better flavoured, fresher food. Try this handy guide for seasonal UK fruits and veg. Look on labels to find out where your fruit and veg was grown to check for British produce and ask your caterers to source British.
six. Fairtrade – for food and drinks that are not seasonal (we’re thinking bananas, chocolates, spices, rice..) look into buying Fairtrade products to ensure better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers.
seven. vegetarian or vegan – controversial in the wedding world? Maybe but you are treating your guests to a fabulous meal and party so why not stick to your standards? I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of not eating meat or animal products as there is a lot out there for people to read and it’s very personal as well. However if this is something that you believe in then don’t be afraid for your guests to eat one meal without meat in 😉
eight. the cake – let’s not forget one of the most important food related wedding items! Using the ideas above, you might think about sourcing a local baker to bring together a scrumptious cake using locally sourced, organic, Fairtrade and seasonal ingredients. Don’t forget to have a look at our ethical flowers guide here if you want to decorate your cake with florals 🙂 UPDATE: Find more about ethical cakes here.
So how about it, have we given you some food for thought on ethical wedding eating?! 😉 Let us know how you get on!
Image by Annie Spratt