The blurb from the particular segment of the programme is:
Back in the Spring, John Craven investigated what it really means to eat seasonally and looked at the environmental cost of eating un-seasonally. He asked the question "is it better to eat British food grown in heated greenhouses or to eat food flown in from abroad?" One of the UK's leading experts on ‘carbon cost’ gave John some of the answers.This question is one that has troubled me in the past, and I was interested to see how the programme dealt with it. Especially as they mentioned some research from Bangor University, and had Prof Gareth Edwards-Jones lending credence to the programme with some "answers".
In fact, the segment touched depressingly lightly on a complex topic, was wafer-thin on facts, and drew no conclusions. Indeed, at first glance, the message seemed to be that it's better to buy tomatoes shipped in from Spain than those grown in Britain, and that it's okay to eat beans flown in from Kenya (but only if you've driven to the shops to buy them).
The segment did, I think, successfully make the point that carbon emissions are only one, rather simplistic measure of the environmental cost of food miles. Although Professor Edwards-Jones made a point about the usage (and lack) of water in Spain, it was not taken anywhere.
There then followed a short sequence of John Craven meandering through a few minutes of "climate change as opportunity for home-grown exotic fruit and veg" which was utterly ridiculous.
(I was a bit surprised by the comment on walnuts that "didn't grow in the south of France or Turkey or China". I mean, there's a walnut tree just outside my GP's surgery, here in rural North Wiltshire. Hardly the heart of the Mediterranean climate).
The piece finished with the following words of wisdom:
"But for now, it's a choice between sticking to genuinely seasonal British food, or paying the environmental price for the alternatives."Which seems like a pretty straightforward choice.
Genuinely seasonal British food will always get my vote, every damn time.
For me, it's a trivially simple decision to buy food from the farm around the corner in preference to food of British-but-unknown-provenance. Or to buy from my local butcher, who can tell me which farm the meat is from, rather than to buy from the supermarket counter.
And I will never, but never, buy beans from Kenya - or produce from abroad that I can buy from Britain (like Canadian cherries, perhaps).