Local and Seasonal
Jump back over 12 months and I am sitting in my flat on my 25th birthday coming to some conclusions about how I’m going to live the next 25 years of my life. I want to give back. I want to be able to say I stopped just taking from this world and started inputting too and, for me, food seemed like a logical place to start. Elea had been forging a path in our world about sustainable style and I wanted to forge a similar path for the food we eat day in day out. So I did a mini stocktake of the food I eat. I’ve always been into cooking, since as long as I can remember. Some of my best memories are of my family in the kitchen cooking a meal and dancing away, especially at Christmas. I could tell you each ingredient that went in to each dish laid out on the dining table at Christmas Day, but I could not tell you where that ingredient came from. At least not past ‘insert relevant supermarket here’. I needed to know more.
Now my journey over the past year and a bit has been very unstructured so when I sat down to write this blog I realised that I'm not quite as clued up as I thought I was. So I did some (read: lots of) research and in summary this is what I found out.
Sustainability, when it comes to food, can be split into some broad overarching themes:
How your food is grown
Where your food comes from
How your food is preserved and stored
Looking at how your food is grown can include things such as the use of pesticides, organic farming, industrialisation in farming, what do you know about yours? Link this with where your food comes from - a local farm, your own back garden, a farm on the other side of the world. How far has it travelled to get to you? Can you start to build a picture of your meals impact on the environment? Then add on to this how your food is stored or preserved. Is it frozen? Is it preserved with chemicals? Pickled? Stored in glass jars? Plastic bags? Cardboard boxes? Can you reuse any of these? All of these things add up to a bit of a sustainable checklist. Today we are skipping point 1 and jumping straight to point 2. Where does your food come from?
For a period of time I thought veg boxes were the key. They claimed to be organic (I’m gonna throw together a glossary of terms like this which I’m sure Elea will be able to make into a lovely link somewhere accessible) and using local farmers and I could only get it delivered on a certain day as the rounds were worked out to save petrol. Perfect. I sort of lost faith in these when I received pea shoots from Spain in early January. But during this time I made one important decision and one important discovery.
Important discovery; sometime mid to late 2017
Farmers Markets. Okay so this is not an important discovery in that we all (I think?) know what a Farmers Market is. If you’re London based like I am, I’m sure Borough Market springs to mind and Spitalfields and other similarly famous places. BUT what I found was my local farmers market and importantly to you guys, this website:
And I can look up each trader on the site; and I can review their businesses and if I wanted to I can visit and see them.
So I went and managed to do my veg shop for the week in under a fiver and I’ve never looked back. Then I took Elea. And now it’s a family outing, including the dog, every Sunday which actually makes it all the more perfect.
If you want to find your own farmers market here are some great places to start:
Important decision; summer 2017
Since I was a kid my mum has had an allotment and I promise you there is nothing like eating strawberries fresh off the plant or unearthing new potatoes. Hours in the early part of 2017 spent assisting mum on her allotment and clocking that the plot next to hers was free meant one thing led to another and by the end of the summer I was harvesting an abundance of blackberries off the swathe of grass I called my own allotment. I plan on giving you guys a full history of how that plot of land is my pride and joy and as part of that more information about how and where and why you should grow your own. But that is a story for another day!
These two milestones went hand in hand with a third aspect that I had been looking at in terms of food. Eating seasonally which, oddly, I do because of clothes.
Important happening; Spring 2017
When Elea launched Sustainable Style I did not have the funds to overhaul my wardrobe with amazing pieces from the stores that are deservedly highlighted in her blog. I did however fall in love with the idea of a capsule wardrobe and have been dressing seasonally ever since. If I can change my clothes dependent on what’s best for the season. Why the actual F was I not eating based on what was at it’s best in the current season. Light bulb moment. All it took was a little research and I stumbled upon a whole host of guidance.
These three things have culminated in an near perfect foodie triangle.
Local food is fresh food; if it’s grown locally it’s in season and therefore at it’s best; and if you cannot get fresher than dug from your very own plot of land that morning and eating it off your plate that evening. Or just straight off the bush and into your mouth.
Peace, love & cider