Monday, 18 July 2016

#SmallSteps week 3 & Do I Really Want To Eat That?

It's week three of SmallSteps already! How are you getting on?

If you're new to this theme, I am blogging a series of Monday posts about ideas I think might help our disUnited Kingdom communities to get through the post-Brexit turmoil ahead. You can read the first post here. SmallSteps lifestyle changes, if embraced by enough of us, could help to keep our towns and communities afloat through the uncertain months ahead.

I've decided to keep a track of my attempts to practice what I preach! My initial three SmallSteps were:

1) to CheckTheLabel and BuyBritish whenever possible
2) to ShopLocal and spend at least £5 each week in independent local shops
3) to eat healthily and walk or cycle short distances
and last week I added
4) Not to use self-service checkouts or Pay At Pump.

Photo from Dippy Doodahs
So how did I do this week?

The Handyman, a hardware shop on Hailsham High Street, stocks G4 10w 12v lightbulbs at £1.35 each which were just what I needed to buy for Bailey so I got two - ShopLocal but sadly not BuyBritish. I also had a good mint tea and a granola slice a few doors away at Dippy Doodahs for £2.50. Hailsham Street Market on Saturday was only about ten stalls, but did include a butcher, a greengrocer and a selection of pie and cake stalls. I spent £6.60 which brought my ShopLocal total up to £11.80 for the week and I am happy to recommend the Bacon And Cheese Slice and the Sweet Potato Pie made by Bay Tree Foods who came from Heathfield, and the Coffee And Walnut Cake and the Mixed Fruit Topped Sponge baked in Hellingly by Tracey's Kitchen Cakes. We supported local festivals Arlington Goes Cajun and Wealden Food Fair too, but I will blog about those two tomorrow!

Sweet Potato Pie from Bay Tree Foods served on
watercress, rocket and spinach leaves

Two BuyBritish finds caught my eye at Holland And Barrett. Firstly Dragonfly Tofu is made organically in Devon so that will soon have even fewer food miles to get to my plate. I like the marinated flavour. I also found VBites Gourmet Beanfeast Pate which, admittedly, doesn't look fantastically appetising, but does taste good! Then in Tesco I saw a new super compact kitchen roll made in the UK by Ora. It apparently compresses two rolls into less space than a single roll without any absorbency loss and is easy to use one handed. Now if that's not a selling point ... ! I'll blog more about Ora when we've given it a try.

I walked into Hailsham four times, but we did also drive once to the supermarket because there were bulky heavy items. We did use a staffed checkout though and hardly had to queue.

Were you intrigued by my Do I Really Want To Eat That title? I've been listening to an audiobook edition of The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan this week. My full book review will publish over on Literary Flits at noon today and the issues Pollan illuminates tie in perfectly with a lot of what I am considering here. He investigates various food chains in America from unrecognisable-as-farming industrial processes right down to wild food foraging. I don't think British beef cows are (yet) raised in the horrifically toxic environments Pollan describes, but Brexit is likely to leave us without EU legislation protecting food standards and animal welfare, and therefore at increased risk from American-style profit-driven food production. Along with Farmageddon by Philip Lymbery which I read early in 2015, The Omnivore's Dilemma provides much food for thought (pun intended) about what we eat and to what extent that food may be more harmful to us than its manufacturers want us to realise.

In a leap that will make more sense if you have read either (or both) books mentioned above, I've stumbled across a great online resource for tracking down local farm shops and farmers markets. It is Hey Farmshops and I just needed to put in what will be my new Torquay postcode for the website to identify all the farm shops within a 19km radius. I could then also specify how I wanted to travel and was shown a marked route from my home to the nearest, Occombe Farm, which is 6.4km away by bicycle. I'm yet to discover how much of that route involves insurmountable hills!

Finally I have made a blog badge from my SmallSteps logo image. If you would like to join in this Monday (or any day) blog theme, feel welcome to display the badge and let me know about your post so we can link up.

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

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