Whitstable Farmers' Market Environmental Policy
Whitstable Farmers' Market is addressing the twin environmental challenges of global climate change and peak oil. Whitstable Farmers' Market aims to reduce all environmental impacts on air, water and soil caused by food production and distribution in order to contribute less to climate change. The market supports local farms that produce food near to the town so that Whitstable has a local food supply that is less dependant on a diminishing and costly supply of fossil fuels for transport and production of food. The market contributes to building a long-term sustainable future for Whitstable by addressing environmental, economic and social issues associated with food production, distribution and retailing.
There are several areas of environmental aspects that are involved in the production and distribution of food for the market: -
- Transport to and from WFM
- Transport of feed, materials and ingredients
- Production methods
- Energy - gas and electricity
Transport to and from WFM
Whitstable Farmers Market aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport fuel. This is achieved by letting stalls to farmers/producers no further than 30 miles from Whitstable, or as close as possible. Stallholders should van-share where possible.
Transport of feed and ingredients to produce food sold at WFM
Stalls are let to farmers/producers who use short supply chains for the resources they bring into their operations, so that, for example, animal feed, production materials, food ingredients, manure, fertiliser, straw, water and farm workers are obtained from as close as possible to the farm or unit, and bought as directly as possible form the producer/supplier. Where possible, journeys should be multi-use; for example the delivery of one product can be combined with the collection of another product. This reduces unnecessary transport of food, materials and farm workers, with the consequent reduction of CO2 emissions.
Whitstable Farmers' Market supports organic agriculture and the use of organic ingredients in prepared food. This is to reduce the harmful impacts of farming techniques on air, water and soil. The avoidance of the use of, for example, nitrogen fertiliser reduces CO2 emissions and the harmful pollution of waterways. Biodiversity and the long-term health of soil can be better achieved by practising organic and free-range farming techniques, and priority is given to farmers/producers who use these practices.
Energy use for production of food sold at WFM
The production of electricity and the use of gas emit harmful gases into the atmosphere. Stallholders that practice energy-saving techniques in their production of food are supported by the Farmers' Market. This can be achieved by insulating against heat loss, using low energy light sources, and efficient refrigeration units. Whitstable Farmers' Market encourages the use of re-newable energy, and the use of re-newable energy providers.
Stallholders are encouraged to use water-saving techniques and to harvest rainwater where possible to use in their production techniques, without compromising environmental health regulations.
Whitstable Farmers' Market is a carrier-bag free market. Stallholders are required to encourage shoppers to use re-usable shopping bags, or to re-use carrier bags where plastic is necessary for cleanliness. All other packaging should be kept to a minimum, re-use boxes and bags where possible, use recycled materials such as cardboard, use packaging made from re-newable materials and to re-cycle any waste packaging that cannot be re-used.
The market supports the reduction of waste going to landfill and the reduction of the necessity of the recycling of waste because this uses energy. Wherever possible food production techniques should aim to use the waste from one process as a resource in another process. This includes heat, cold, transport and material resources. This should be on-site if possible, otherwise off-site but as nearby as possible if there is no on-site process that can use the resource. Where this is not possible, reduction of waste, recycling of waste and the use of recycled materials is supported.
Economically WFM supports the use of local farmers and local shops that provide jobs within the economy of Whitstable and the surrounding countryside. A short supply chain exists at the market, because food products are sold directly to the public. This not only has environmental benefits, but also ensures that profits stay in the hands of the food producers, who will in turn be more likely to spend their profits in the local area. Resources that are bought in for processing should be obtained directly from the producer where possible, or with as short a supply chain as possible, in order to reduce "middle men" so that maximum profits go to the producers.
Socially WFM brings to the community a shopping resource that puts the public directly in touch with the producers of the food they are buying. The market aims to keep Whitstable High Street a vibrant social centre for members of the community to meet. WFM supports fair trade for goods that cannot be produced locally, and fair working conditions for farm workers and those working in the food industry.Becky Richards May 2008