Bet you weren’t thinking about the length of your chips when you were basking in the sunshine last summer. Well, maybe you should have been. A new report has shown that potatoes and other British produce are under threat, because of climate change.
The Climate Coalition of environmental and social groups said that spuds were smaller and misshapen after last year’s hot summer. This means that each chip is around an inch shorter, making it harder to dip in your sauce.
And it’s not just the size of the potatoes that’s a problem either, there’s also not as many of them. The number of potatoes grown was down 20 per cent after the heatwave in comparison to the year before. So, that could mean smaller portion sizes too
The amount of carrots produced was down by 25 to 30 per cent and there were 40 per cent fewer onions. These are staples of the British diet, with loads of recipes that are cooked every night starting with chopping an onion.
As well as the extreme heat and drought of the summer, farms are getting blasted with storms and flooding, which is also affecting crops. In 2017, frosts that came in late spring damaged three-quarters of English vineyards, putting wine at risk too.
Clara Goldsmith, director of the Climate Coalition, said: “Losing an inch off our chips is no laughing matter. Even worse if we lose supplies of our much-loved British spuds altogether. We should be doing all we can to help safeguard our homegrown fruit and vegetables for future generations.”
It could mean the supermarket aisles of fruit and vegetables that we’re so used to seeing packed full of produce are a bit sparse. Prices are also likely to go up, as everyone has to pay more to get their hands on the spuds, carrots and onions they put on the table.
There are 130 organisations in the Climate Coalition, including the likes of the National Trust, RSPB, WI and Christian Aid. Together, they are running a ‘show the love’ campaign to highlight things that could be lost due to climate change.
If extreme weather continues and farmers see longer hot spells and more freezing temperatures or flooding, spuds could be among the things we lose. In future, potatoes might be brought out as a treat instead of a staple.
So, what can you do to save the humble chip? Advice in the report says buying food that is produced locally and in season is a good way to start. Also, everyone should be trying to cut down on the amount of food that they throw away too.
Another option is to buy more misshapen fruit and veg, as throwing these so-called ugly bits away adds to the problem. You never know, we might all be dreaming of a nobbly old potato in years to come if the Climate Coalition’s predictions are right.