John Garton and Simon Soar, pretty much 2 metres apart.

The Jersey Hospitality Association and Genuine Jersey are joining forces to try to reshape the way islanders and businesses view local produce, as part of an economic recovery plan following the Covid-19 pandemic. The two organisations will be promoting the benefits of buying local produce over imported goods and looking at how doing so could help many businesses to recover following a difficult period. 

Chief Executive Officer of the JHA, Simon Soar, said: “We have a unique opportunity here to reimagine the way businesses use local resources and how as a community we could be doing more to support our local economy and protect the environment.” 

It is estimated that around 90% of the island’s food consumption is currently imported into Jersey, a figure which they are aiming to reduce in order to develop a more sustainable and responsible food culture. 

John Garton, Chief Executive Officer of Genuine Jersey, said: “I for one am really looking forward to getting back into eating in our fabulous restaurants. It is great news that the JHA recognise that islanders are more interested than ever in tasting the amazing array of local produce which not only supports our producers and local economy but also reduces the island’s carbon footprint. We are very happy to be working closely with them to help their members ‘Build Back Better’.”

The recovery plan will be encouraging more to embrace seasonality, recognising that certain fruit, vegetables and fish aren’t available all year round and instead looking to use what is fresh, local and at our disposal. As part of a re-education people need to learn about the benefits of eating seasonally, where produce can be found and to search out and support those establishments that are producing seasonal menus. As this week marks the start of our meteorological summer people are asked to consider what is on their plates and whether this is locally available this summer. 

The JHA will also be encouraging its members to use more seasonal menus and to explore what is locally available. The recent Covid-19 lock down has already seen a huge surge in islanders seeking out local produce with the Jersey Alternative Fish Market on social media increasing the local trade of shellfish and wet fish whilst ties with France have been cut off. 

Simon said: “Never before has there been this level of support to buy local and it is a momentum that we want to keep going when things return to normal. We hope that people have realised that local produce isn’t a costly alternative and that sometimes paying that little bit extra is worth it if it helps our economy, our businesses and reduces the impact to the environment.”

Seasonality charts are available on the Genuine Jersey website, along with maps of where to buy local fish and hedge veg. The introduction of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association into the Genuine Jersey Association now allows consumers to more easily identify local produce by searching out the distinctive red Genuine Jersey logo.