Posts tagged ‘FOE’

Spreading the word, one consumerist action at a time

Ack, I am in danger of becoming everything I hate!

Well, not quite. Not everything. But, while I was supposed to be typing up the boring AGM I had to sit and look clever during yesterday, I’ve been coming up with ideas for the as yet undetermined event I’m trying to organise and it is soooo hard not making it just a list of things to buy!

On the one hand, we do, like it or not, live in a consumer economy and what we do with our money and who we choose to give it to is one of the most influential ways we can make a difference: if I can get people to spend £16 on a local veg box instead of with T*sco I will indeed consider it a victory; and while being ‘green’ is generally about not buying stuff, or at least buying less stuff, some green things do require a start-up cost of some description. At Andy and Dave’s talk in Swindon, someone did indeed stand up and say, ‘I have loads of tires if someone wants them to grow potatoes in,’ but as the organisers, we can’t rely on that, whereas we can rely on Wiggly Wigglers, the Real Seed Company, Tamar Organics and the garden centre on Forest Road being there. I’d love it if someone got up and said, ‘Yes, I have a zillion pallets in my garden and all the residents of Wokingham can help themselves and make compost bins.’ But, this is suburbia. It’s unlikely. It’s far more likely people will say, ‘Oh, £20 from the council, I can buy a dalek.’

Also, I wouldn’t want to get a Mooncup off Freecycle. That’s one of the few things where the smell of fresh packaging is very welcome.

Furthermore, there’s lots of information out there: there’s little point me writing yet another ’10 Easy Ways to Save Money and Save Energy Around the Home!’ as if anybody is interested in energy conservation, they’ll probably find it quite easy to access information about such dizzyingly exciting things as turning lights off or insulating their loft. Everybody knows this, what I want is to say, ‘Here is somewhere you can get loft insulation – what’s your excuse?’

I want to inspire car shares, seed and plant swaps, toy libraries, craft groups, toolshares, but short of having a sheet where people can sign up, there’s little we can do in advance.

And so all I seem to have is links to veg box schemes, times and locations of markets, food coops, the cycle shop, where you can buy vinegar in bulk, places that sell Ecover and people making and selling every type of reusable sanpro known to humanity. Citizens of Berkshire, part with your hard-earned cash and save the planet while feeling fuzzy inside!

Ah well, I’m working on part two, now, wrestling with Word* to create a calendar of seasonal veg and tips on cooking it, particularly the wintry stuff. If anyone has any inspiring ideas/recipes for potatoes, carrots, turnips, swede, kale, celeriac, cauliflower and broccoli (especially turnips as we vetoed them!!), no matter how simple, please leave them as a comment or email me, sproutingbroccoli at gmail dot com.

*Word, like most of Windows, seems to behave exceptionally well so long as what you want to do coincides exactly with what it thinks you want to do. As soon as you start to express your dissent, you suddenly find your sub-headings splattered across the screen. Blah.

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May 16, 2008 at 5:23 pm 2 comments

Extremely frugal with food. Don’t like meringues.

I have, to the surprise of everyone who knows how terrible I am with numbers and knows my phobia of Excel spreadsheets extends to me having to check all my invoices by hand when I was freelancing, become finance coordinator for FOE. I won’t say I had my arm twisted, I’ll just say that any reasonably public-spirited person could not have just sat there and not volunteered. I don’t really mind: it apparently takes up very little time and involves very little work, and I think it’s very important that people do these things, and not just retired people, so that pretty much entails me being prepared to do these things from time to time, but, oh, WHY oh WHY did it have to be the one with numbers and money?

In other news, my Independence Days update for the week is:

  • Planted – another go at tomatilloes (I only had one) and the rest of my potatoes; earthed up some of the first earlies.
  • Preserved – have vodka, have rhubarb, will make schnapps this evening.
  • Worked on local food systems – continued badgering FOE about the seminar/film showing plus exhibition-type-thing and am in the process of compiling a directory of local food suppliers (plus other things).

I had a bit of a baking frenzy too. I was hunting through the freezer, assessing how soon we could order another half a lamb, and kept finding egg whites all over the place. I had such a vivid image of myself dying in 60 years’ time or so, and my relatives opening my freezer, discovering the accumulated saved egg whites of a lifetime’s cooking and immortalising me with the epitaph:

Extremely frugal with food.

Didn’t like meringues.

So I made coconut macaroons. And flapjacks for good measure.

Also trekked across to the Swindon Literary Festival last Sunday to see Andy and Dave from Selfsufficientish talk about their book and had a nice chat with them over lunch. There were some other interesting speakers there too and lunch was superb. I also managed not to get sunburnt. Result! (As they say…)

May 16, 2008 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment


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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."