Thursday, 2 September 2010

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

Greetings all!

Thank you for taking an interest in this little foody blog. No matter how vague that interest is, it is much appreciated. The blog is going to be all about my journey to shop more ethically, live sustainably, and ultimately reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible. I have no idea how long this will take so I am happy to have you along for the ride.

Today marked the first few tentative steps towards achieving the ultimate goal: Never go in a supermarket again. This is kind of a big stretch at the moment, one has to ease oneself in to such a project. So I began in the only place there is to begin anything: Google. It actually wasn't easy finding the hit words I needed to put in to discover what there was around Huddersfield in the way of ethical consumerism but once I'd found my way in I discovered some gems.

I want people to be able to read this and do the same thing for wherever you live so let's see what we've got in the way of helpful links... Aha. This is an excellent one:

Go to that site, put in your town name in the top right hand search box and it will show you all your closest farm shops, farmers markets, and, randomly, B&Bs. Turns out there's loads going on around Huddersfield. Don't be afraid that if you live in an urban area there won't be anything, it's the cities that are actually best at this stuff. There's more in London than there are calories in a Wetherspoons Deluxe Burger (1,891 yummy cheesey bacony meaty calories FYI).

Next up on the menu are Food Co-ops which I truly couldn't have known less about before this morning. This is what the deal is- "The main principle behind all community run food co-ops is that by pooling their buying power and ordering food in bulk direct from suppliers, a group of people can buy good food at a more affordable price." Good affordable food. It's a win. Here's the site:

They aren't just for fruit and veg, it's all about groceries so there are pulses and grains too, baking stuff, and as many of your store-cupboard needs as they can get. You can search on the site for your local one, and there are loads. Huddersfield most local one is Slaithwaite, 'The Green Valley Grocer'. It's run by volunteers and open a brilliant 6 days a week. Awesomes. They are in partnership with these geezers:

Bloody lovely hand-made bread. The bakery is out the back of the shop but their bread is also avaliable all over the area so have a gander. Assuming there are similar baking initiatives everywhere but will have to do some more research to let you know how to find them. Both the Co-Op and the bakers are signed up to this scheme:

It's about getting a community of people together who are interested in reducing their carbon footprint by up to 20%. There are tips on their for instant cut-down on your footprint and there's lots more to come from them, including a set of questions designed to establish what your exact footprint is so that you can start work on reducing it.

Now for a real joy... veg boxes! If you've never heard of these schemes, basically a small independent company liases with local food producers to deliver a box of fresh veg to your door every week. You can have as little or as much as you want. This company delivers in the Huddersfield area on a Thursday:

They're easy to find nationwide too, just hit up Google with the search term 'veg box' plus your town. These particular dudes do a box from as little as £7.50 (for all your veg needs that's actually pretty awesome. Think about how much money you might spend on a pack of three peppers from Tesco, around £1.80). The advantage is that all the food is local, as it comes, not sprayed with anything and best of all it's seasonal. There's research to suggest that eating foods that do not naturally grow in the season you are eating them in can mess up your circadian rhythms, making you feel tired and weighed down. They also deliver fresh milk and free-range eggs, all competetively priced.

Gonna finish up with this cool site:

It gives you millions of tips on how not to waste any food, including meal planners and what to do with leftovers. Nice looking site too. Have a peek.

Will post tomorrow about some cool places I have found for independent shopping around Huddersfield. In Dorset at the moment (king of organic counties) but when I am back I will pop round to them all and get a little review section going. After all, no one wants to eat bad food just because it's ethical. Gonna find them yums and share 'em!

Thanks for reading, little eco warrior.


  1. Way to go, Ash! I have been thinking a lot about this myself, I hate how much waste we are producing, how much food we are wasting,....but time is a big issue with 2 kids. I'm excited to see how you'll do and hoping that I can get some ideas.
    What are you gonna do about shampoo, tooth paste, cleaning products and so on?
    love from Austria,

  2. Good girl it's all those green genes! Have you looked at community gardens?? Grow your own and share. Check out my blog
    to see how we are reducing our footprint over her in Oz! Merylx

  3. As someone with a full head of hair that I like to be shiny and wistful, I can heartily recommend the Faith in Nature brand of toiletries. They might not be as smooth as Pantene but I was put onto it by a friend (Jo to the Bob) because not only do they not contain bad things for you, they also are much better when considering what you're putting down the drain.

    Also, I occasionally switch back when at a friend's or run out, and my head is instantly irritated. Just shows what must be in it.

    You can get this from Naturalife, Ceres, and Oxfam amongst others.

  4. Hi Ash!

    I love this blog! Another great link for food co-ops, buying groups, community-supported agriculture is the Making Local Food Work site -
    The site includes information about all the projects that are supported by the programme, has some great ideas on how to get involved with sustainable food projects across the country and is a really good source of information generally for anyone interested in fresh, sustainable, locally-grown and fair food.

    There is also a list of all the community-owned shops in England on the Plunkett Foundation's website - Community-owned shops are usually a great provider of local produce.

    Looks like we are both working for a similar goal at the moment! Hope you're well and good luck with your mission! Kat xxx