Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall CREDIT Simon Wheeler

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Photo: Simon Wheeler

A nationwide appeal has been launched with the backing of chefs and nutritionists to get the UK eating more seasonal vegetables and supporting food producers.

With pubs, restaurants and hotels currently closed, large quantities of local seasonal vegetables are at risk of going to waste, according to campaign organiser Veg Power. In response, the group is mobilising food writers, chefs, nutritionists, and other food system influencers to encourage everyone to eat seasonal veg, by teaming up to support the #SeasonalVeg campaign and creating new content for their social channels.

The campaign is supported, among others, by chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, SORTEDfood, children’s food author Amanda Grant, and Defra. It aims to swing people’s choice towards the veg coming into season, support frontline food workers bringing crops to consumers' tables, and reduce the risk of food waste during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Veg Power stressed that buying seasonal vegetables means people across the UK can support local farmers and the national food supply chain, support a healthy diet and help boost immunity, and enjoy the great taste of seasonal vegetables, which are often cheaper.

Each week a different vegetable will be promoted, starting with asparagus on 1 June and followed by cucumber, mushrooms, leafy salads, courgette, spinach, tomatoes, radish, and finally beetroot on 27 July.

Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “We grow a wonderful variety of beautiful veg in the UK and we are just coming into the most abundant season of the year. Of course a diet big on vegetables is a massive win for our long-term health, and eating seasonal veg is also a great way to support our farmers during economically challenging times. So let’s all embrace the sheer goodness of the best vegetables this summer and beyond. I certainly will.”

Dan Parker, chief marketing office at Veg Power, said: “Switching to a diet packed full of seasonal vegetables is one of the most effective things each of us can do to reduce the environmental impact of our food and boost our immunity and general health. We're thrilled with the huge wave of support from chefs, nutritionists and food lovers getting behind this campaign on social media.”

Farming minister Victoria Prentis added: “From springtime asparagus to hardy winter greens, our farmers work throughout the year to produce an array of produce renowned for its exceptional taste and quality. Here in Britain we are lucky to have this abundance on our plates, and I encourage everyone to support our food heroes by buying seasonally and locally.”