John and Fiona holding lambsHave you ever been grocery shopping and seen the sign that says, “think local, buy local”? What does that mean to you? For us at Knockaloe Beg it means that we buy as much local produce as possible to reduce our carbon footprint and help the Island become more self-sufficient and sustainable.

If you’ve eaten breakfast at our B&B you will know how tasty Fiona’s cooked breakfasts are and we believe that it’s not just because Fiona has made it, but because everything is fresh and from good local suppliers. ’The bacon, sausages and black pudding you are served are from our local Peel butcher Steve, made from our pigs. The eggs are from the hens you see on the farm. We buy our milk, cheese and butter from the Isle of Man Creamery and our bread from local bakeries. Our bees living in hives in front of the Farmhouse produce our honey and Fiona makes all our jam from home grown fruit, picked by Farmer John!

We also have a vegetable patch where we grow all sorts of vegetables. The other day we harvested our own vegetables and they were delicious. It is very satisfying to have food from farm to table.

While it might be cheaper to buy imported or value produce and products, it’s worth spending that bit extra on local food. Manx bread, milk, cream and cheese are more or less the same price as imported or value versions and so it makes sense to us to buy local, as the money goes to local businesses who pay their workers a fair wage which then helps the Manx economy.

Meat can be more expensive to buy than the imported or supermarket value versions, but it’s worth paying that little extra. We know the meat has come from Manx farms, who take care of their livestock, following high standards. The important thing to consider while buying the cheaper versions of meat, dairy, eggs or any animal product, is how that animal has been looked after and how far the meat has travelled as well as its living conditions.

It’s sad to think that much beef, pork and chicken won’t see the light of day due to intensive factory farming. Regrettably demand for cheap meat, dairy, poultry etc has led to mass factory farming which has forced businesses to value money and mistreatment of workers and livestock over valuing a fair wage and livestock welfare.

What do honourable conditions look like for employee and livestock? For workers it’s earning no less that minimum wage so they can provide for their family. For livestock, it’s enabling them to roam free in a field, to be fed the right food, to receive the adequate care they need.

How can you help? Well, one start is to buy local. Research where your food comes from  in your home and see how that affects the environment, animal, worker and the impact it has globally.

When you buy eggs look out for the number. 0- Organic 1-Free Range 2-Barn 3-Caged. When you buy meat see if it’s local. When you buy dairy buy Manx! You’ll be surprised at how much you can buy locally. In short local = happy and well looked after livestock, good working conditions for employees, money in economy and finally very tasty produce! Think local, buy local.