Roll up your sleeves, switch your brain into ‘inventive cooking’ mode, and get ready to go crazy in the kitchen! After a break over the summer, we’re once again once again gearing up for our next food challenge. Your goal? To source all of your food from within a 30-mile radius of Cambridge for two weeks, with an extra emphasis on reducing your meat and dairy intake.
The challenge will run from Monday 13 January – Sunday 26 January 2014. Participants will be invited to write about their experiences on our sustainable food blog, and we will finish the challenge off with a bring-and-share meal.
The challenge will be part of Food for a Greener Future: a series of events focusing on raising awareness about the sustainability of food.
For more information about the challenge and why we run it, click here. If you’re interested in eating seasonally and locally then why not give it a try? Email Elaina (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to sign up or if you have any questions.
What do you when your primary raw ingredients are spuds and Brussels sprouts? You phone a friend who is, handily, a chef, then it’s ready steady cook! Zoë, of food community project FoodCycle tells me the results of the dilemma were just delightful: potato rosti and cranberry-glazed sprouts. Today I’m helping her and a team of laid-back volunteers prepare a feast from supermarket surplus. It’s the first time I’ve ever managed not to eat more peas than I pod as I sort through a pile of bagged British veg. Mindful of the plan to cater for up to thirty people not one passes my lips as I focus on the squeaky pleasure of popping them out of their shells. “I’ve done all the courgettes in the world”, a volunteer proclaims. “Ok, do you want to shell some peas?” Continue reading
Check out Bev’s latest contribution to our Sustainable Food Blog on the Cambridge News website. It’s all about the delicious wonderfulness of local, seasonal produce…which is very relevant to our Food for a Greener Future series of events starting this month with a scrumptious dinner at Fitzbillies. Here’s a taster of her post:
This is a fantastic time of year for seasonal vegetables – with all the beautiful squash overflowing the market stalls (here are some recipes from the BBC), gorgeous enormous late tomatoes still available and crisp nutty sprouts coming in, who needs imported veg?!
Having been lent an apple press this autumn, I’ve been going wild processing windfall apples into fantastic fresh organic zero carbon apple juice.
The carbon footprint of the juice is effectively zero, because the apples were all collected by bike, and the press is hand operated. But as I’d made much too much for us to drink it all fresh, I started to wonder about whether it would be lower carbon to store it in the freezer, or to bottle it? Continue reading
By Keith Jordan
As October day lengths shorten and the sun is lower in the sky, temperatures are generally on the decline. This is a natural trigger for many animals and plants to make provision for storage and survival during the winter months. Jays and squirrels will be collecting acorns to bury, insects may be laying eggs, pupating or finding safe hibernation places. Many herbaceous plants die back, shed leaves or divert their energy reserves from leaves and stems to their roots, tubers or bulbs.
Associated with mass decomposition of plant material, well-made compost heaps will be warming up. Decomposition involves millions of microorganisms Continue reading
One of the great things about having a veg box delivered each week is that it introduces us to new foods. One of those new foods is kale. I must admit, when it first turned up I wasn’t really sure what it was let alone what to do with it! Fortunately Google came to the rescue and I soon found hundreds of recipes to choose from.
Our favourite recipes so far have been Stir-fried curly kale with chilli & garlic and baked crispy kale Continue reading
Frozen sweetcorn was one of the first things we decided to stop buying after discovering it came all the way from Hungary. We were worried how we’d survive without our freezer staple but little did we know that sweetcorn season was just around the corner.
Our first local sweetcorn turned up in our veg box a few weeks ago now but was quickly gobbled up by Continue reading
As I expect most of us reading this know, a lot of food waste is caused by our throwing out foods which are past the their sell-by dates (or any of the other confusing labels supermarkets use – sell-by dates are actually for stock control in supermarkets, not about safety). Often the food is actually perfectly OK to eat. I was interested to see this piece in the online BBC News about a supermarket in Boston, USA, which is only going to sell food past its sell-by date. (The article also contains safety information, in case you are now worried about mass outbreaks of food poisoning in Boston!)
Some of the UK supermarkets are at least trying to simplify the situation. At a recent food conference a Tesco spokesperson said that they were going to phase out “sell by” dates (which are more about look and taste than safety) and use only “use by”, which means it’s not safe to use past that date, and “best before”, which applies to long-life goods, where the issue is quality more than safety. (For a clear explanation of current UK labelling, see this government description.)
Fellow British Isle dwellers…this country we live in is truly amazing – particularly when it comes to food! A recent obsession of mine is foraging, as there’s something so wonderful about food for free! So I want to ask you all: do you make the most of the abundance of amazing food that is growing in your hedgerows, in your back gardens and along public byways?
Since moving to Cambridge from Australia two years ago, I find myself in a constant state of awe at this (to me) incredible phenomenon, and I try my hardest to make Continue reading
by Keith Jordan
The long sunny summer finally came to an abrupt end – it was too good to last, but great while it lasted! It is the season for reaping and gathering crops, garden shows and harvest festivals. Harvest festivals are often traditionally held on or near the Harvest Moon (the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox) – this year it will be September 18-19 in the Northern Hemisphere. The early evening moonrise (around sunset) makes every Harvest Moon special – a great sight today but once gave vital extra light to communities (before tractors) frantically trying to harvest crops they knew were vital for survival. Continue reading
Ann Mitchell has written a fabulous article in the Sustainable Food section that CCF writes for Cambridge News. You can read the entire article here, but here’s a little teaser:
‘Eating meat is costly in terms of its carbon footprint, land use and environmental impact. Beef cattle need not only the land they graze, but also land to grow additional food for them. Both cattle and sheep contribute to carbon emissions by producing a considerable amount of methane, contributing to climate change. The demand for meat around the world has resulted in intensive…’
September 11, 2013
Our first veg box!
We decided that the easiest way to ensure we got some local food into our diet was by signing up to a veg box scheme as that way the food would come to us. Then came the difficult part - deciding which one to go for from the list of local producers in the resources section. We decided to go with Cambridge Organic Food Company because they seemed to be the best value and delivered to our area. We opted for the small mixed box and patiently waited for it’s arrival. Continue reading
One of the things I’m very conscious of as a vegan is being able to feed my omnivore friends tasty vegan meals. When I tell people I’m vegan the first question out of their mouth is normally a rather shocked: ‘What do you eat!?!’ So I’m always quite eager to prove that you can make nutritious, filling vegan alternatives to omnivore favourites. And omnivores tend to love their burgers! Continue reading
As an Australian living in England I find I spend a lot of my time complaining rather bitterly about various aspects of English life that I don’t fancy all that much. These aspects are mostly weather-related but lately there’s not been much to complain about and I find myself being cheered up by the sun and the various fantastic things about the English summer. Continue reading
- A weeks’ worth of food, not including the ‘store cupboard ingredients’ or meat we already had.
Tackling low carbon food is something which has been on my to-do list for ages but has never quite made it to the top as other changes have felt far simpler. We eat very little meat and processed food so therefore hoped that our food carbon footprint is lower than average; but there is definitely still more to be done. I hope blogging my progress will keep me motivated and enable me to pick up some great tips on the way. Continue reading