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THE POWER OF// "KEEPING IT LOCAL." // by Kelly Mason

Updated: May 24, 2020


Photographer : @Rossssemary

Hand model : Kelly Mason

Ring : Marta hillfon

Bracelet : Diane Singh





Over the last few years I have thrown myself into a space of more conscious living. Or having overall a more conscious lifestyle - where I purchase my clothes; what materials they are made from; what brands I collaborate with; where I try and source my ingredients; and where I purchase my fresh fruits and vegetables - This is actually one of the reasons why we are here living in India for half of the year, so that we an eat more locally, more seasonally, more ethically, more sustainably and therefor more in tune with Nature...





One of the hardest things that I find when being back in the UK is the fact that organic, vegan, or at the very least, vegetarian stores are quiet far from were I live and I resort to shopping once again back in the supermarkets when there just isn't enough time in my day to choose independant and local fresh food distributors.






Here in India I am in bliss! I get to go to big, small and all inbetween local fruit and vegetable stores. I accept, and even get excited by, the fact that I am only able to eat what the season is offering at the time.


For me the excitement when mangos are in season, or figs! or when the mandarins are at their best is a very nice feeling!!

Its actually very nice to cultivate a reaction from such simple pleasures that we rarely even think about or get excited about when we are the shoppers at large food chain stores.




Buying locally and seasonally is also something I like to encourporate in my offerings as a retreat chef. Sometimes I find myself in various new environments like Norway or soon to be Bali and Sri Lanka and what I really love to do is research and investigate the locally grown and seasonally grown produce of the area. From there I can create the tastiest, most sustainable and culture specific influenced dishes for the clients to enhance their overall experience on a retreat.




When I go back to the UK this summer I have already made a deal with myself that I will keep with the way in which I am currently purchasing and try to throughout stay aware of where I buy, what I am buying and try to do my best to minimise those trips to the supermarkets and instead continue to support organic, seasonal and locally grown food.





There are so many benefits from eating locally and I would like to share with you just a few that I have noticed since becoming more aware about shopping more locally and with the seasons...







IT'S FRESHER...


Usually when you purchase from markets the food should have been picked no more than 24 hours before. When food is fresher its tastier! Crunchier! Better for you! Now, who wouldnt want that ?

I love the very fact that when you are using locally grown and seasonally grown product that you can keep cooking very simple, you can keep the vegetable or frut of choice the star of the show!





MORE NUTRIENTS...


As soon as fresh produce has been picked the nutrient content starts to decrease - Meaning the fresher the produce the more nutrient dense it will be, so choose fresh!







EAT WITH THE SEASONS...


When you begin to eat locally you automatically start to become more in sync with the seasons and seasonal growing. Eating seasonally is the most natural way in which we should be consuming food and it is one of the most benefical ways of consuming.


The earth provides us exactly what it is that we need and acknowleging that by eating more seasonally we are showing more respect and not abusing or maniplulating natures offerings







BENEFITS THE ENVIRONMENT...


By buying and choosing local you are supporting your communities farm land and its destruction and rejuvenation processes and you are travelling less to obtain those beautiful fruits and vegetables having less cabon footprint and overall less impact on the environment






YOU BECOME MORE CREATIVE AND ADAPTIVE WITH PLANT BASED CUISINE...


Instead of being able to have all the ingredients that you want anytime you have to adapt and become creative with new dishes or existing dishes with a twist to include with more variety with what is avaiable instead of what it is that you might want to cook with you now create new dishes and new flavours with what is on offer at the time






YOU BECOME MORE MINDFUL WITH SUCH PRACTICES...


When you haven't given much thought as to where something has come from...how it will benfit you and over all when your mind hasnt really had to think all too much how can you appriciate something? How can you be mindful?

So when you switch to local you create more conscious cuisine. You take your time a little more, you are taking a little bit more care and when time and care are taken this in itself is a mindful practice.




In addition when you develop more awareness in one aspect of your lifestyle practices you automatically become more aware in other practices. Once you make the shift to become a little more lifestyle conscious you begin to analyse and reflect on other areas - where you spend your money, what brands you choose to support when it comes to purchasing clothes, skin care and health care products etc...






LESS WASTE!


Buying locally automatically eliminates alot of the distribution chain; the transportation is minimised; packaging kept limited; refrigeration to keep fresh for longer etc is kept to a minimum or excluded all together lessening the impact on the environment. By eating locally and seasonally we are showing more respect and not abusing or manipulating natures offerings. We are becoming more ethical, more sustainable in our choices and therefor more in tune with and connected to Nature..






BUYING LOCALLY SUPPORTS COMMUNITY VIBES!


And lastly, when we choose to buy locally over anything else we start to build strong, ethical and communities with connection and awareness and who doesnt love geing to their local markets and catching up with the people who surround you.









So if all of the little details and the obvious benefits of eating more locally haven't convinced you I dont have much more to say but to give it a try and see how it feels!





You'll find me shopping at my local fruit and vegetable stall every other day. I love stocking the fridge full of seasonal and tropical fruits, using new and interesting vegetables and figuring out how to balance their flavour profiles and I love being thrown into a new environment where I can not only learn about what is grown when and where but also I am able to learn about cuisine culture further expanding my knowledge in the uses of herbs, spices and culinary processes to gain that authentic local taste in each dish I create!



These are actually some of my favourite things to spend my time doing - cant you just tell im a Chef?



Shop local.