Happy new year! I hope you all had a great 2017 and I wish this year brings abundance to you all ♥
Yesterday we were away from home so our January challenge has started today. I’ve spent a little time today going through our cupboards and I have dedicated one cupboard to our ‘eating things grown in the UK’ challenge. I’ll have to think of a better name than that… Suggestions are much appreciated! At present our cupboard is a little bare. Unsurprisingly, most of the food in our home has not been produced in the country that we live in.
Lurking in our cupboards are…
- Pumpkin seeds from China
- Popping corn from Hungary
- Tomatoes from Italy
- Quinoa from Bolivia
- Lentils and maple syrup from Canada
- Coconut oil from Sri Lanka, the Phillipines and Indonesia which has been packed in the Netherlands
- Pasta made in Italy using a mixture of EU and non EU wheat
- Sunflower seeds from the USA
- Apricots from Turkey
- Chickpeas, gram flour, peanuts that are all ‘produce of more than one country’
- Engevita yeast flakes from Estonia
- Soy milk from beans grown in China
- Oat milk from Sweden
- Soy sauce from China
- Noodles from Thailand
- Rice from China
- Buckwheat from Poland
- Coffee from Kenya
- Tetley tea from one / a combination of the following countries including Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda,Rwanda, Burundi, India, Vietnam, Argentina, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia
- Chia seeds from mexico
- Flax seeds from Belgium
- Raisins from the USA
- Cocoa powder from Ghana
- Wine from Spain
- Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and black pepper from Sri Lanka
The list continues but I think you get the point by now.
I despair when I think about all of the food miles of the products in our cupboards. It actually seems downright crazy to me that a lot of the food we eat is grown on the other side of the planet. I thought I was an ethical shopper but I have realised that I am far from it. Have a look in your cupboards and let me know if yours tell a similar story.
This last month when we have been shopping we have made conscious choices to look for things grown in the UK. We have been quite surprised by many things, including fresh tomatoes grown in the UK in December! We are still not quite sure how they have been produced but they taste good. We have been pleasantly surprised to find a lot of UK grown produce in Aldi and the Co-op, including bread flour which paired with the fresh tomatoes means that we can totally still make pizza!
We live in the Brecon Beacons which means that we have some amazing food producers right on our doorstep that we have not yet utilised to the full potential. We have a local food assembly, we have Talgarth mill, and Primrose organic farm is just down the road. We have heard recently that a zero packaging shop is opening in Crickhowell this spring. We hope to connect with these amazing producers and I hope to share our journey with you.
Since we have been doing our research and delving a little deeper into the issue of our absolutely insane food miles, we have realised that there is a huge wealth of incredible food grown in the UK. By making a conscious decision to use our buying power as consumers to only buy these amazing products we feel a whole lot better about this issue and we are so happy to be supporting independent retailers and pioneering British producers. Did you know that there is a company called Hodmedods (www.hodmedods.co.uk) that grow 100% British grains and pulses including a plethora of beans, lentils, quinoa, oats, flours, snacks and British baked beans! We are way too excited about this and we have a huge delivery arriving from Hodmedods tomorrow. I shall be doing an in depth review of their produce later this month.
We have also found out that there have been trial crops of durum wheat planted in East Anglia. How awesome would it be to have UK produced pasta?! There are olives being grown successfully on the South coast.
At the moment in the UK there is an abundance of winter greens available including kale, cabbage, spinach, brussel sprouts. We have found English apples, welsh potatoes, pak choi, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, squash, oats, onions… I never knew that our tiny country could produce so much food in the middle of winter.
I’ve been getting quite excited and playing in the kitchen today. I have made a huge pot of warming stew using all UK grown produce including white onions, carrots, pak choi, barley, and squash which I roasted and added at the end. It is absolutely delicious and it feels good to know that all the produce has come from the same country that we live in! I did use boullion however as I’ve not yet gotten round to making my own stock and we also don’t have a freezer yet to keep stock in.
I made my own oat milk for the first time ever today, it is so ridiculously easy! I used this recipe (oat milk recipe) and it takes even less than 5 minutes to make. I’ve just tried it in some chai tea (slaps back of hand) and it tastes even better than normal oat milk. I’m not sure how it would fare in coffee but I think it will be really nice on porridge / cereal etc.
I’ve boiled some Hodmedods fava beans which we already had in the cupboard to try to make some fave bean hummus. The recipe on their website recommends using rapeseed oil instead of olive and hazelnut paste instead of taihini. We are going shopping for all things British later so I will keep my eyes peeled for that.
I know I’m not prefect, I realise it takes time to create new habits but I’m trying my best and I want to share my honest journey with you. In all honesty, yes I have drunk coffee today. I am going to wean myself off gently over the next couple of weeks. I would really like to kick my caffeine habit in the butt for good as I get terrible headaches if I don’t get my fix which makes me think it really can’t be great for my body.
For me, change is most sustainable when I take lots of small steps towards my goal. If I try to change a million things all at once it simply doesn’t work! I shall keep taking baby steps this month and beyond to change bad habits for good and to live in such a way that is the least harmful to our beautiful planet.
Please feel free to connect with me if you want to share advice, ask questions, are on a similar journey, etc…
Questions for you…
- How do you try to reduce your food miles?
- Have you found any amazing British growers / produce that I should check out?
- Is it more important for you to buy produce that is grown locally or organically?
This year is going to be amazing 🙂