Carbon footprint of food

Over the weekend I was intrigued to see the Independent’s supplement on Climate Change and Peak Oil: full of challenging facts and views, if not a little scary. One of the things I was fascinated to read was that up to a fifth of our carbon footprint can come from our food, taking into account how it’s produced, processed, packaged and transported, and encouraging people to grow their own if possible or to buy local. Hurray!  A huge amount needs to be done to improve distribution channels if this is to become more realistic for people, although much has been achieved in the last few years eg farmers’ markets, Somerset Food Direct etc, and I’m very dependent on local shops as well eg the Veg Box in Clevedon.  

I’m definitely getting better with the planning I think- Sunday’s lunch for friends was Tickenham trout  stuffed with garden herbs, potatoes sautéed with fennel seeds, cabbage and roasted beetroot, followed by apple and bramble crumble and yoghurt or strawberries. The ages of those eating ranged from 3 to 75, and judging by the empty plates it must have gone down OK.   

I spent today working at a friend’s house in Bristol: I’d forgotten to tell him about the 50 mile challenge, so by 3.30 with my stomach rumbling I headed home having enjoyed his hospitable hot water for long enough, with a gift of Somerset mead that he’d found in his wine rack.   

Dinner was more satisfying- pigeon breasts in a bramble sauce, mashed potatoes and veg, with a glass of mead and some plums to follow. Just before writing this, I completed my 2nd order with Somerset Food Direct, ordering more flour (I’m eating a lot more bread than I’d thought) as well as cider vinegar, tomatoes and chillies which should all help with flavouring food. I can’t find local onions anywhere though- apparently they’ve been picked and are currently being dried- and I’ll soon run out of garlic too. Can anyone help?  

My own garden is between seasons- I’m OK still with the odd marrow and occasional beans, but most of the ground is now full of young winter crops: kale, leeks, sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli etc tormented by slugs, snails and caterpillars, with the leeks in particular suffering from leek moth for the first time I’ve known.

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