10 April 2015

Forethought

When buying food sometimes it feels like navigating through a maze.  The decisions to make can feel impossible.  I wrestle with food miles and it's like trying to hug an eel.  How far is too far, is how it is transported important.  I lose myself in the aisles floundering over every item.

It is hard to make sense of what you read.  What food production can do to an economy, monoculture destroying habitats, hedge funds skewing prices, fair trade a label not a given.

I read signs locally sourced, noble I am sure but a tad meaningless?  Locally sourced is the easy bit.  The quest for perfect and cheap food is stifling locally grown squeezing it until it no longer breathes. Food distribution chains are convoluted and long, at what price?  Should I feel remorse with each purchase, weighed down with these burdens, tangled up in the ethics.

Maybe, I am overthinking..............

I do need to be mindful. Thinking about the seasons.  Buying only what we need, food waste is terrible, we are so disconnected from food production that throwing it away is all too easy.  Reading the labels.

I am not evangelical, just quietly doing what I think is right.

33 comments:

  1. I totally agree and try to do the same....unbelievable news today about Coles Supermarket bread here in Australia...made and "half cooked" who know where overseas and then re cooked several months later in Australia and sold as fresh baked Australian bread....it's crazy....they should have been fined so much more than AU$2.5m....glad I make my own bread :-)

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    1. It's stories like that that make you wonder whether even the labels are true! Food production is a minefield.

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  2. Me too! Doing the right thing is never easy and unless we can be totally self-sufficient (impossible for most of us) we can never be sure what we are buying. I shop in farmers' markets and local stores as much as possible but there are some things that they don't stock. So many criteria to take into account aren't there? How did we get to be in such a mess with things? Can what we as individuals do make a difference when cheapness and profit seem to be the main thing for so many. We can only do what we see as right and what we are able to do.

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    1. I do believe that as individuals we can make a difference as the individuals can often add up to many. I realise that some people don't have the choices of places to shop at without travelling for miles. If you are reliant on public transport that can make it much more difficult.

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  3. I try really hard not to waste anything, but I read labels obsessively for ingredients not for where they are produced, I can only cope with focusing on one thing at a time .......

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    1. I hear you Tess, that is why I was getting overwhelmed. I too need to check for ingredients :)

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  4. A big issue for everyone. I try not to waste food, I buy food that is in season, I don't eat meat (though the rest if the family does) but I can't becomes overwhelmed every week doing the shopping -it's unsustainable for me as an individual. I don't know what the answer is; governments need to intervene to make food production, distribution and retailing fairer, and more sustainable, and home cooking has to return to very simple, nourishing, seasonal meals. One of those horrible conundrums where there is not one simple answer. X

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    1. You are right Penny there is no simple answer. It has become such a tangled web that to unravel it to find solutions is immensely difficult and complicated. I was reading the other day about a group of people buying meat direct from the farmer. The abattoirs are so spread out now that this meat had to travel along way to be processed. The same farmer was also selling to supermarkets. The cost of fuel was less for the supermarket meat than that bought at the farm gate. A totally ridiculous situation!

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  5. I find myself over thinking over these issues too! I certainly find it easier during the warmer months as we have a very good farm shop close by & a lot of local producers. We certainly try not to waste food as locally produced is of course more expensive & not many people have the luxury to choose x

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    1. You are right that not many have the luxury to choose, I would never, as I am sure you wouldn't, preach about it. I am frustrated by the issue of costs, we all have to make a living whatever we are doing, but cheapness always seems to come at a 'cost'

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  6. I hate food waste. I rarely have any, leftovers are eaten regularly. I do get bogged down in supermarkets sometimes, it is so difficult to filter out the wrong from right choice, particularly on a budget. My husband does all our shopping, he is more decisive than I. Keep doing what you are doing, it is what we all should be doing. x

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    1. Thank you Christina :). How lovely to have someone else do all the food shopping, that would be a good way of passing the problem on wouldn't it! Filtering out choices is exactly it, perhaps there is simply too much choice?

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  7. Its getting harder for me to figure out what's wrong or right...at some point I stopped buying bananas because of shipping. I wish I could afford organic local food- but I can't. All I can do is try to buy the "most" local fresh ingredients and try to offset things in summer by a drop, by planting a garden and buying - good news is we are questioning things more these days.

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    1. I do think questioning our choices and being mindful is the right way to be, even if this means that nothing actually changes.

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  8. We have been on a similar mission for years now. have you ever read the book "100-mile Diet" It's a great read and just puts a very human perspective on the challenge of eating locally and seasonally. We have been trying to buy bulk as much as possible. Just take my recent trip tot eh mill to get flour. I could have just bought what I needed for a little while. Instead I bought what I needed for 4 months. Same carbon footprint, but it will last longer. Buying in the bulk food stores is the same : The carbon footprint for a 5 lbs bag of flour is relatively the same as a 100 lbs vat of flour. The difference is that 10-15 people will be sharing the carbon footprint of the 100 lbs vat. You do what you can, when you can and that has to be okay. Especially for people like you and I that love places with a very limited growing season.

    As for food waste, I find that we waste a lot less since we've been making everything from scratch. Buying "ingredients" instead of "food" has made a huge difference. You make meals with what you have instead of buying stuff to make meals. Does that make any sense? And of course, making stuff from scratch has completely relieved us from the stress of labels!

    Good luck on your journey. It's a hard one sometimes, but know your efforts are always worth it and appreciated. We can't be perfect... All we can do is our best!

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    1. I like the sound of the 100 mile diet, not sure how much of my food would fit that bill, tho' it would be interesting to work out ;)

      I get what you are saying about ingredients being easier than food, but bizarrely some ingredients have preservatives in which I cannot eat so I still find myself checking those labels.....

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    2. We are super lucky to have bulk grocery stores here with a lot of raw and organic ingredients. But yes, you always have to look. I agree. My son is dairy intolerant (since birth) and gluten intolerant it seems (we are waiting for him to be tested) so labels are a religion here. But like I said, a lot less since we make a lot of our food.

      I have the book if you want it! Both my husband and I have read it so I could pass it along. I'd much rather give it to someone that will enjoy it than randomly donating it. Email me your address and I'll send it to you this week. ffff.blog _at_ hotmail.com

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    3. That is so kind of you to want to send me the book. I think the postage will be really expensive as I live in the UK, I will look out for a copy.

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    4. Please don't worry about it... It will fit in a small envelop so it won't be that much. Boxes are expensive, envelops, not at all. I'll be looking for your mailing address in my inbox!

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  9. This has been at the forefront of my mind for years, and every so often it creeps up again and I wonder if I am doing enough, which usually leads to more changes. I definitely over think these issues at times, but then I remind myself that I am doing what I can, and for now, I have to be okay with that.

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    1. It's all about a balance isn't it, which is never easy.....

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  10. I think about this often. I try so hard not to waste food. I end up makingg soups and stews with whatever I have left hanging around. I wish I could buy more locally-grown food, but as I live in the desert, that can be somewhat difficult.

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    1. Like you the locally grown food is hard to come buy as not much is grown. We don't live in a desert but it is too cold here for some produce to grow. I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't be changing my diet so that it is more in keeping with what is grown locally but that would mean starting to eat meat for one thing!

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  11. yes... this is an issue I continually struggle with. Just lately i read an interesting article on ugly vegetables...how misshapen produce are just thrown away even though they are perfectly edible?!? thanks for keeping the dialogue going!!!

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    1. Misshapen veg and fruit is what has killed off most local producers in the UK as they couldn't supply the supermarkets and they have killed off all the local shops so there was no one to supply their produce too. It all tastes the same to me.

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  12. I struggle with this also, it seems like trying to do the right thing shouldn't take such a grand amount of effort. Hopefully in time that will change. Here in Seattle we now get fined for putting food waste in our garbage. I like to think it has definitely changed things a bit overall. More awareness and all. Baby steps I guess.

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    1. Wow, fined for putting food in the rubbish bin, that's an interesting way of dealing with it, does it work? I am not sure I like the idea of fining people as I believe actions should be heartfelt but sometimes that is too idealistic.....

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    2. It's actually great. The city provides compost bins , and then all of the food scraps go out in the yard waste bin and are picked up every Monday. It's just a matter of getting the food scraps in the right can. I think it definitely works, the fine is $500. But more than that, I think it gets people thinking about things they may have not been thinking about before. That being said, Seattle is a pretty environment first kind of place. ( And then of course they sell it back to us in bags of compost later on :) )

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    3. That's a big enough fine to keep people thinking I guess. I think you are likely to be right about it getting people to think about things they may not have thought of before, I am sure if you had to put your food scraps in a separate bin it would make you notice how much you have and how much of it is food that has been bought and not eaten at all. Very interesting and food for thought, thank you!

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  13. I think we can only do our best, with the knowledge that we have. I think food producers make the labelling so complicated, we have to actually read through what's written to get to the truth about what we're buying. I try my best not to waste food too, this is one area where I've made big improvements. I actually think about how much food we need for the week these days rather than bunging what I fancy in there without any thought about when it will get eaten and this certainly helps.

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    1. You are so right that we can only do our best, I sometimes struggle with whether my best is good enough ;)

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  14. I think sometimes you have to prioritise how you're going to attack the food question, so for us it's more important that the meat we eat has been raised and dispatched humanely; we buy it from our local butcher but some of it has come from further than 100 miles, instead of buying something more local of perhaps more dubious origins. I was reading this to my husband and he reminded me that the Cadbury factory at Bourneville is well within our 100 mile radius so we should be OK with chocolate!!

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    1. I have yet to work out how far my food comes from, I suspect much of what I eat travels more than 100 miles. You are right it is about prorities.

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