Thursday, 26 February 2009

Eat well and help save the planet

A meeting about a new local food initiative. It sounded just up my street so I went along.

It was my first experience of a Chamber of Commerce meeting, and I really should have remembered that when it got to the questions and answers part...

However, the speakers were really good:

  • Sally Bendall from Hollow Trees farm shop (and recent chairman of FARMA),

  • Stella Burton, from Beaumont school (an eco-school, also taking part in a european sustainable food project),

  • Karen Kenney, area rep of the National Society of Allotment Holders and Leisure Gardeners, (who was my favourite speaker of the evening for her enthusiam and impeccably varnished nails!), and

  • Mark David from a local cookery course company (who decided that his talk was about promoting his business - rather than local food!!, but was entertaining nonetheless).

Then came the Q&A.

I was quite surprised, we were told by someone who admitted he was a local food producer that it can cost more to grow your own food! No vested interests there then!!

Then someone else tried to knowingly pass Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's land share idea off as his own. I suspect this because after he had described the project perfectly (without mentioning the national campaign) and that perhaps we should have somewhere, perhaps a website, where people could sign up to the idea, I naively stood up and spoke about Hugh's landshare project and website and how it's a national campaign and people in the area might already be signed up for it. The chap was smiling knowingly before I'd finished saying "Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall" - I guess he was a web designer.

Nevermind. The evening was generally postive. The idea of making our small town a centre for fresh, organic, local food is just fab and very "transitional". The meeting ended with a show of hands supporting the Local Food Initiative, based on the Fife diet. I hadn't heard of the fife diet, and no-one mentioned it during the evening, but basically people in an area sign up to eat food produced in that area for a year and therefore eating well and saving the planet.

The Transition HandbookFor more information about transition towns see The Transition Handbook (I'm on page 61) or the Transition Towns wiki.


  1. I think another name for people on the 'Fife diet' is locavores. The Barbara Kingsolver book 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' desicribes her family's attempt to eat local, but they had a farm, so aren't typical. I found it an interesting book in parts, the parts which described how they went about it. Others might find it more interesting if they are interested in the many facts and figures about why we should eat in a more sustainable fashion. I felt I already knew as much as I needed to and wanted a lighter read.

    A locavore diet can be fairly limited, especially in Winter, but I try to bear location in mind, but will buy fruit from Africa at this time of year. I avoid beans from Kenya and that sort of thing, and try not to buy things from South America. I also buy a lot from a supplier of meat and veg etc from only this and the neighbouring counties, i.e. Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. We're also trying to grow more of our own fruit and veg and have just started to keep chickens.

    My first priority is that my family and myself eat a healthy, balanced diet.

  2. Hi Karin,

    Yes, locavores - people who eat local food - one of the speakers did mention that. I didn't get the connection at the time.

    I'll look that book up in the library.


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