“Since 2007, Blog Action Day has focused bloggers around the world to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included water, climate change and poverty. This year, Blog Action Day will be held on 16 October [oops!], which coincides with World Food Day, so naturally the 2011 theme is FOOD.”
So… food… an emotive subject for many. And as grain has become a commodity in modern times, and the market is controlled by just four companies, and many people don’t have access to even the most basic of human subsistence, very political too.
But I want to jot down some random thoughts around the L of the LOAF principles: Local, Animal friendly, Organic, Fairtrade.
When confronted by a bewildering array of choices – indeed a paralysing array, more politics – how do you apply these principles. For me, local trumps organic. The food mileage involved in bringing organic apples from the US or honey from Brazil is outrageous. So is the wastage of all those apples left unpicked and to rot on the ground in public spaces or private gardens.
So three cheers for Oxgrow, and their Edible Cartography project (see pic); for Abingdon Carbon Cutters and the Apple Day they held on Saturday; for all the farmers markets, farm shops and PYOs in Oxfordshire; and for people who grow their own food in gardens or allotments.
For a year until late-September, I was living alongside the Anglican Benedictine community at Mucknell Abbey near Worcester. The community moved into their new eco-monastery in November 2010, and one of the areas I was involved in was setting up the kitchen garden. It was so satisfying to see the seedlings I had planted growing, and to eat the results of my labour. And we had tomatos that tasted like tomatos, and courgettes that were sweet, and plentiful beans, chard, peppers, spinach, carrots, squash, and so on and so on. I miss it at the moment, but have been enthused for growing my own in the future. You can’t get more local than that!
I lived in Exeter before I moved to Mucknell. There are gazillions of amazing projects around local food in and around the city. Here are a few:
- Real Food Store – shop selling local food, cafe and bakery in the city centre
- Love Local Food – van bringing local food to the local communities
- ECI Harvest [now closed] – encouringes people to grow food in their local community
- Shillingford Organics – organic veg farm and veg box scheme … and hosting …
- Exeter Growers Co-operative – involving people in the production of their own food
- West Town Farm – organic grass-fed beef, education visits, and meat box scheme … and hosting …
- OrganicARTS – promoting the arts and rural issues