Although I wasn’t really thinking about it, looking back I see I did all sorts of things that fitted with the theme. Some habits are now so ingrained and just normal that I have to think hard about it to realise what they are.
Last week I:
- made yoghurt and kombucha, and baked bread
- made pancakes with sourdough ‘discard’ (I hesitate to call it that, because I never actually throw away any sourdough starter)
- made (usually vegetarian) Boston Baked Beans from a favourite recipe, but added some pork bones bought at the Farmers’ Market on the top – they provided delicious flavour (and a small amount of meat) and made good use of something that might otherwise have gone to waste. The quantity I made gave us two hearty meals each. I will do this again, and next time I’ll make extra so I can freeze enough for a third meal
- apart from the bare pork bones, used all ‘waste’ produced in the kitchen either for the hens (any green veg peelings, apple cores, cheese rinds, crushed baked egg shells), or in the worm/compost bin (tea leaves and coffee grounds, paper wrappings, cabbage cores). The only things that now goes in our council-collected food waste bin are bare bones and tea bags. I stopped using tea bags several years ago when I realised they weren’t rotting in the compost because they contain plastic, but Malcolm prefers them. I switched to only using leaf tea, and I’m very happy with it. I buy it from a small local business
- watched a TV programme (Horizon: feast to change the planet) looking at the carbon footprint of various foods. Very interesting – much of it I already knew, but it was nonetheless shocking seeing the actual figures displayed. It underlined that in my own diet dairy products are probably the biggest culprit; also farmed salmon
- listened to BBC R4 podcasts of Farming Today, including an interesting programme from before Christmas about the Community Farm at nearby Chew Magna (sadly no longer available online)
- went to the (organic) dairy farm and bought milk from their on-farm vending machine, using the glass bottles I bought there over a year ago. This supports a local business, provides me with all the milk I want, and reduces the amount of plastic I use. The downside is that at the moment I drive there – something I’d like to replace if possible (walk? cycle? bus?)
- sorted through my allotment seeds to see whether I needed to buy more. To my surprise I found I already have most of what I want/need. I also looked through to identify some more that I can save seed from, having made a good start in 2020 – with Brexit having drastically curtailed the smaller seed companies that send seeds from Europe, the range of seeds available has been reduced and costs increased. I think increasingly we need to be saving our own seed partly to save ourselves costs, but also to broaden the range of available varieties
- chose some more bare-rooted fruit trees, which I’ve ordered this week – a crab apple tree for the front garden (for blossom, fruit and birds) and two pear trees for the allotment. I wanted a sour cherry tree for somewhere (not completely sure where yet…) and a German plum tree but neither is now in stock, so they will have to wait till next year
- began reading Sitopia
- One thing that strikes me as I read this back is how, as I’ve changed my food habits, I’ve reduced the amount of waste I produce. Sometimes it works the other way around: when I tried to change the amount of ‘waste’ I produced I needed to change my food habits. Which confirms my impression that most of the ‘waste’ we produce is generated by our food habits.
To achieve what I’ve wanted to, I’ve switched more and more to buying from small local businesses. This ticks so many boxes: increasing the sustainability of my food habits; reducing the amount of waste (including recycling) I generate; supporting the local economy. And none of it requires a silly amount of time money or effort from me.