Down the road from where I live there’s a brilliant project called Incredible Edible Todmorden (IET). http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/home
What I love most is their slogan – If You Eat, You Are In! And indeed this is one case where we are all in it together. Nobody but nobody can escape. We all have our relationship with food – whether its over indulgent or abstemious, embracing or dismissive – and I think it is fascinating.
I found out very early Fat is a Feminist issue. Ask anyone “Are you in a relationship (with food)?” Errm – it’s complicated. Decisions have to be made not only about what we eat but from where we acquire our daily sustenance – guided by conscience or convenience. IET want us to grow more of our own and for those with the time, energy and inclination this is truly therapeutic. Sadly, as yet, our efforts are proving no threat to the likes of Tesco.
Currently, there’s a storm brewing where I live about the possible advent of a new Sainsburys Local spoiling the character of our quirky little town full of independent shops including butchers, bakers and candlestick makers – the latter being due to the influx of proper hippies in the 1970s. Our powerlessness in the face of the corporate capture of the global food chain is surely ample justification for raging against threats to our local food sovereignty. We must do what we can to resist. http://www.soshebdenbridge.org.uk/object-sainsburys-planning-permission/
Of course, there will be old chestnuts wheeled out that poor people need access to cheap food. Believe me, a lifetime in public health nutrition has shown me that low income shoppers are the net losers from cheap supermarket over-processed fodder. “they can’t afford more, let them eat junk, they can’t afford decent beef so let them eat horse”. And we all know who are the net beneficiaries of the supermarket oligopolies (sh.. sh.. sh.. – the clue is there!). But don’t supermarkets bring jobs? Yep loadsa jobs stacking shelves full of plastic bottles of a million varieties of coloured, flavoured, artificially sweetened ‘beverages’. Products that absolutely nobody needs and the transport and disposal of same bottles contributing to environmental Armageddon.
Other people go on about ‘choice’. Complain that the local co-op has only got ordinary frozen peas. Sacre bleu – no petit pois! The unrealistic expectation of endless choice is proving to be the enemy of quality. The best restaurants have the smallest menus and the best choice is often no choice at all. Bring back the workers canteen!
On the issue of local shopping, I have an embarrassing confession to make. I do love our co-op, warts an’all. There I said it. Sacrilege in my dinner party circles! Admittedly, I mainly buy loo paper and pet food with the odd bottle of wine but for me the fact it is a co- op overrides all it’s limitations. And anyway, I have my veg bag! Opting out of the supermarket trap offers the route to endless joyful possibilities …..
The above Purple Haze graced many a meal this week. Potato, kale and onion rosti is such a quick and tasty last minute stand alone or in my case an accompaniment to kippers (from fish man on the market). Chop up or process the kale and mix with grated potato, onion and seasoning. Fry as one big cake in oil or bacon fat on low heat with lid on. Turn over to cook through then cut into wedges. The rest of the kale went into butter bean stew. Oh the absolute bliss of eating in!
So let them eat organic – the poor that is.