Wednesday, 12 January 2011

No Impact Week - Day 4 - Food

Today's challenge of only eating food grown within 250 miles of Bristol, was always going to be the hardest. I made a note of everything I ate yesterday and entered it on this low carbon diet calculator. I'm not convinced of the accuracy of my entries but it indicated that the carbon dioxide equivalent of my intake was approximately 3,500 ie very high. I ate:

Slice of chocolate roll (in lieu of breakfast!) - cocoa beans from Central America?
Bacon and avocado granary baguette - bacon from the Netherlands? or New Zealand?
- flour from Canada?
Macaroni cheese - durum wheat from Italy?
Lemon drizzle cake - lemon from Spain?
Cherry flapjack - light brown sugar from the West Indies?
Tea - tea leaves from India?
Coffee - coffee beans from South America?
There was, in fact, very little that was grown in this country let alone in the south west.
Today I attempted to do better. I had porridge for breakfast. Ok, Scotland's more than 250 miles away from Bristol, but the milk was delivered in a glass bottle by our milkman. I had an omelette for lunch made with free range eggs from our vegetable box scheme. The bread for my toast was probably made with Canadian flour but it was at least baked by an independent bakery in Bristol. For dinner I made a big effort. I walked in to town to shop at the weekly Corn Street Farmer's market where I bought a mixture of fish portions for a fish pie (all British apart from a piece of tuna from Sri Lanka). I bought potatoes and carrots from a local farm. And yesterday I found a bag of flour milled from English as well as Canadian wheat. I even managed to limit myself to just three cups of tea today, which is very good for a tea jenny such as myself.
I'm full of respect for anyone who manages to stick to the 250 mile radius rule, but I can't see me achieving it or getting anywhere close. I am however going to continue to monitor my shopping basket and eat more sustainably. This means buying fruit and vegetables in their season, cutting down on my meat and dairy intake, choosing the organic and free range options, cooking from scratch instead of relying on overpackaged processed products, only buying as much as I need and using up leftovers instead of throwing them in the bin. To be honest I do most of these already but there's always scope for doing better.
There are, fortunately, a number of websites to keep me on track. Eat Seasonably tells me what produce's in season and how to prepare it. Love Food Hate Waste is packed with ways with leftovers. My cookery book library contains a few vegetarian books and I only need to google 'vegetarian recipes' to find more ideas that I can shake a carrot stick at!
Today I am grateful for
Warm dry shelter from the rain
Corn Street Farmers' Market
Fast food (omelette and toast)
A nice cup of tea
(Relatively) sustainable fish pie


  1. This is a great project. I'm considering attempting this in my home town. I look forward to following your progress.

  2. I can offer some slight encouragement, most of the world's cocoa is grown in West Africa and a lot of Fair Trade cocoa is grown in Ghana, so your food footprint might be reduced slightly.

    Well done for thinking about what you eat so thoroughly. I have a copy of 'Stuffed', which I've been looking at, and it has inspired me to want to make a few more posts about food over the week or so.

    If you want more local porridge oats you could go for Pimhill, which is an organic farm in Shropshire. I can buy their porridge oats in my local health food shop.