I am making my final preparations for the Cambridge Carbon Footprint Local Food Challenge – for a fortnight only food sourced from within 30 miles of home will pass my lips, from Monday.
Earlier in the week I mentioned to a friend that I was going to do this challenge. “What about poor farmers in Africa who depend on us buying their food?” she replied. I managed to side-step this by pointing out that I hardly ever eat food from Africa (possibly the occasional mango). Then I stressed the appeal of living more locally. “Wouldn’t vegetables grown near to home taste so much better than those flown in?” I claimed. “No! I doubt it!” was the immediate reply.
To take my mind off these disparaging comments, and the complicated issues around development and globalisation, I work out what are the five things that I am allowed to buy as exceptions (rather like the luxury on Desert Island Discs, to accompany the Bible and works of Shakespeare). I decide on coffee, oranges, rice, spices (hopefully salt and pepper count as spices) and ….do I go for healthy lentils? or wine? or even chocolate? I opt virtuously for lentils (must I specify a colour?) deciding that protein and fibre wins out over alcohol and fat. Anyway, I can have local beer can’t I – Milton Brewery is almost on our doorstep. Then again, do all the beer ingredients come from within the 30 mile limit? This is trickier – any thoughts anyone?
And now I have just learnt that a wider radius is allowed for dairy and cereals so Lincolnshire cheese is an option as is East Anglian salt and vinegar. Looking forward to getting inventive with a smaller (but definitely healthier and carefully thought out) range of ingredients and foods. Transition Cambridge offer a helpful list of locally-sourced foods that I shall be referring to for my next shopping trip.
So, next I am off to Daily Bread to buy some local flour, porridge oats and and soon I will find out what rapeseed oil tastes like!
(Credit for photo: Dey, Flickr, Creative Commons License)