Put “seasonuary before veganuary” urges SOS from UK meat retailer Farmison

John Pallagi, CEO and founder of online meat retailer Farmison & Co, today issued a Veganuary SOS for 2022, urging those who care deeply about the provenance of their food to put eating seasonally ahead of the usual new-year marketing hype pushing plant-based alternatives. 

Writing in his January blog – https://www.farmison.com/community/blog/new-years-ceo-update-2021 – he warns that Veganuary could have the opposite effect to the one intended by its proponents – pushing out much more sustainable ways of eating, in the pursuit of “black and white thinking” and “simplistic narratives” on diet. 

“The perseverance of the narrative that a plant-based diet is a magic bullet for the climate crisis is worrying. Vegan cookbooks full of almond and avocado recipes are a case in point and to me are far removed from the chilly landscape of Yorkshire,” he said.  

“The idea of consuming foods grown thousands of miles away, often in a chemically intensive and water intensive manner, in the name of sustainability is beyond satire and undermines the very concept of our seasons.” 

What’s more, Farmison & Co’s founder also calls for consideration of a UFL – an Unseasonal Food Levy – to help change the ‘everything all-the-time’ mindset and guide customers into lower-cost, lower-impact eating. 

As part of its Save Our Seasons (SOS) campaign, Farmison has produced a helpful seasonal food guide at https://www.farmison.com/save-our-seasons that will help educate customers as to the right food at the right time. 

In his monthly blog, John calls out the avocado as part of the problem, flown thousands of miles to the UK from countries where the water table is under severe pressure.  He added in his newsletter: 

“Eating out of season should come at a cost. I’m calling for a UFL (Unseasonal Food Levy) to be an effective and alternative way to reduce imports of this produce – and the export of environmental damage for a fuller fruit and vegetable aisle. 

“The perseverance of the narrative that a plant-based diet is a magic bullet for the climate crisis is worrying. Vegan cookbooks full of almond and avocado recipes are a case in point and to me are far removed from the chilly landscape of Yorkshire.  

“The idea of consuming foods grown thousands of miles away, often in a chemically intensive and water intensive manner, in the name of sustainability is beyond satire and undermines the very concept of our seasons.” 

In his new year message John invites Britons to join him in eating better – putting seasonality first and preferably British produce with minimal food miles.  

“Not only does eating seasonally mean produce tastes better, but it’s also far more sustainable – keeping food miles low, reducing waste and supporting local farmers,” said John. 

“As the British climate warms, we risk losing the seasons that make our food culture so vibrant. Plant-based diets that rely on tropical imports threaten our seasons with their contribution to carbon emissions.”  

Compared to an avocado travelling 6,321 miles from Peru to the UK, a rib eye steak from a Farmison farm in Castle Bolton in Yorkshire, would travel 75 miles to its Ripon HQ for packing – onward distribution to Penzance would see that steak travel a maximum of 490 miles. 

What’s more a kilogram of avocados need around 2,000 litres of water to grow despite coming largely from water-challenged areas of the globe. Heritage Breed meat such as Dexter and Galloway are reared on lush pasture requiring no additional water. 

In January, Farmison’s seasonal produce guide suggests, customers should try vegetables such as beetroot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, shallots and turnips. 

Throughout the year, Farmison & Co will be supplying seasonal recipes for customers to follow alongside top tips to get the most out of eating in harmony with the seasons.  

In 2021 Farmison & Co was awarded the coveted title of Online Butcher of the Year and named as one of Yorkshire’s top Butchers in the Countryside Alliance’s Rural Oscars.