As the 6th Nello’s Longest Table approaches and we all begin to give thought to our special feasts and picnics, this is a gentle reminder that one of the main aims of this great community event is to encourage support of our local traders. On signing up for your table, we have asked everyone to make sure that your Nello feasts are ‘local or locally sourced’. However you choose to interpret this is entirely up to you. Here are a few of our thoughts on why it is important — and enjoyable — to shop local. — Shopping local for locally produced food ensures that meals that we enjoy are as fresh and delicious as possible, while costing our planet the fewest food miles. — Shopping local is economical. We don’t need to drive or pay for parking and we will further save money by not buying more than we need or want (supermarkets inevitably coax us into unnecessary purchases, too much of which inevitably ends up in the waste bin). — Shopping local provides us all with a more enjoyable, more personal experience. The butcher can explain how to cook different cuts of meat or cut steaks just as we like them, we can taste cheese before we buy, and we can seek advice about wines to find the styles that we enjoy best. — Shopping local and supporting our independent traders ensures that the money we spend stays within our community, where it usually re-spent. Shopping at Tescos or Waitrose or Aldi benefits only their shareholders, never our community. — Shopping local means far less plastic and paper waste. While supermarkets delight in pre-packing everything in both plastic and cardboard wrappers, resulting in mountains of unnecessary packaging, shopping locally is a totally different experience which, if we are careful, can almost be single-use-plastic free.