Saturday, 16 October 2010

Food choices

One of the bestest things ever about maternity leave is that it gives you a change of routine. Ok, that can be a good or a bad thing, but let's just look at the bright side. Just before Snowflake was born, I tried to make a few changes. Follow up some of the stuff that I wanted to give some more attention to but never managed in the work/family rollercoaster of my working mummy self.

There are lots of changes I'd like to make, things I'd like to explore and there's more than I can manage. Always more. But rather than get upset about not being able to do it all, my attitude is to try what you can and not be discouraged if it's not happening.

One big item on the agenda was food. The reason for it being that food as we consume it is mass produced with a rather high input of fossil fuels into its production. An unsustainably high input of fossil fuels. Which really means that things will have to change at some point, but there's no harm in making changes now, and reduce our own carbon footprint a little bit.

So rather than buying all my food from the supermarket (I do, I admit, and my main shopping still comes from one of the major UK brands - as I said, you try to make changes, one step at a time and guilt tripping is just not on the menu), I thought it was high time to source some food locally through an organic box scheme. That would be in addition to trying to grow food which, if you follow this blog, you know I'm not particularly successful in. Let's say there's plenty of room for improvement.

The one I went for is an interesting and commendable initiative: Southside Foodshare. It works in two ways, by using an existing organic vegetable box scheme (The Whole Shebag, based in West Lothian) and reducing food miles by having a central distribution point. The vegetable box bit I'm sure is nothing new: It supports local producers and produce, organic and low carbon impact ways of growing food, and by doing so it offers local farmers a way to sustain themselves without being dependent on the dictatorship of supermarkets. Southside Foodshare adds another dimension to it: working with the producer, it offers a cheaper service by organising a central delivery. It's also more flexible because I can pick up at a time that suits me, rather than having to be in waiting for the delivery at home. So the Whole Shebag only delivers to one location, and people who have signed up pick up the bag from this location - less time and driving for the producer, cheaper for the consumer. It's a simple but effective idea, and could easily be organised in many locations where there is some demand for vegetable boxes.

So every week now on a Wednesday, I pick up my goody bag of local organic fruit, vegetables and eggs from the Glasgow South pick up point. What's more, having the vegetables, it encourage me to cook more, to cook more from scratch, and to try out new recipes and even new vegetables. The spuds are the tastiest I've had in a very long time - suddenly plain tatties become very attractive again. I love the newsletter that comes with it and tells you a bit about the week to week life on a Scottish farm, while sharing a few recipies and most usefully how to cook those unusual vegetables that are not in our staple diet (it'll be a first for chard and calabrese this week). I love my weekly trip to the pick up point (it's not that close for me, but involves a walk through the park and I can always combine it with other destinations in the southside of Glasgow).

If you think this is a good idea, why not set something up in your area?



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