In the midst of the ash cloud produced by Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano, the Guardian's Word of Mouth blog asks “Can fruit and vegetable shortages turn us on to local food?” This is of course referring to the amount of food shipped in from abroad; your pre-packed Marks and Sparks fruit salads, those tart summer berries, the essentials for a colourful and tasty salad.
A blessing in disguise or a fierce curse?
Just where does such a severe disruption in air travel leave us with regard to our imported goodies, and could it be a good thing to encourage us to eat local? It's been nearly a week since flights were cancelled in much of Northern Europe's air space, and it's easy to see how our food imports are ready to be hard hit, but how does it affect the actual chain?
Farmers in producing countries are left with epic quantities of waste, food which can't make money sitting still. Hence events such as this threaten the livelihoods of both farmers and their employed staff. They are directly impacted by our economy, which, combined with the many other puzzle pieces of these events, bring home a valid and terrifying point: food security as we understand it today rides a very fine line.
Before over-reacting, try something new
And, to think, our worry is whether or not we can ensure we're able to consume our packaged pineapple chunks. So what if you're left facing an empty shelf when you seek your weekly asparagus purchase? No one starved when snow kept deliveries away for a week and no one is going to starve as a result of Eyjafjallajökull. Think of it as a chance to try something new off the shelves, enjoy a new recipe!
I think I'll wait another few weeks before I begin to worry too much.
Let's just be grateful the British asparagus season is right around the corner. And Jersey Royals. And strawberries. I'm drooling.