The ash cloud that hung over northern Europe was an annoyance to air travellers, me included.

I was due to fly to Belfast the day after the city was declared a no-fly zone. Like thousands of air passengers I spent many hours in a state of flux, unsure if my flight would take off.

The experience was frustrating, but it also gave an insight into how Britain’s food needs would cope with dramatically reduced, or non-existent aviation.

Interestingly, international trade relies more heavily on road, rail and sea cargoes than it does on air freight, but the disruption caused real problems for businesses trading perishable goods, such as food and flowers, which depend on air travel.

Britain would however still get enough to eat if future ash clouds segregated countries for long periods, as we only import 1.5% of all our fruit and vegetables by air.

But perhaps the disruption presented an opportunity to realise that we could be far more self-sufficient in food production if we had not grown so used to having everything available 365 days a year.

Environmentalists are not alone when they encourage us to eat more local and seasonal food. There is absolutely no need for British consumers to eat fragile fruits and vegetables that have been transported thousands of miles.

Fruit and vegetables flown in from overseas are a bad habit that supermarkets have encouraged among British consumers. We now think it is perfectly reasonable to expect to buy every fruit and vegetable produced around the globe every day of the year.

Produce that is perishable and out-of-season means that supermarkets can add value. There is only so much you can charge for florets of British broccoli, but a good profit to be made on tenderstem Zimbabwean broccoli.

If we ate more locally produced food in season and only imported food out of season, we would help support the livelihoods of farmers local to ourselves as well as poor farmers in developing nations.

And the shorter a season, the more we can look forward to the delights of British strawberries, asparagus and, of course, Pembrokeshire new potatoes.