• Start eating fruit and vegetables in season – don’t eat strawberries and asparagus in December. eatseasonably.co.uk is a great source of information on what to buy right now.
• Read the small print and look at where your produce has come from. Avoid stuff that is flown in. If you can’t buy British then at least buy European or Fairtrade
• Think about food miles when you’re shopping but also think about how much energy or water has been used to grow what you’re buying – especially if it’s been grown in a country where clean drinking water is not available to the majority of people.
• Farmers Markets sell food that is grown/cooked within 30 miles (rural markets) or 100 miles (city markets). Produce is fresh and sold by small producers, which keeps YOUR money circulating within the local economy.
Whitstable Farmers Market has many organic food stalls. Umbrella Centre, 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, 9.30-2.
• Snack on more fruit & veg – it’s good for you and uses far less energy to produce in comparison to processed snacks
• Grow as much of your own as you can, organically. Use your own compost as fertilizer. If you don’t grow your own, buy organic food as much as possible.
• Eat sustainable fish. According to the Guardian, these are mackerel, black bream, gurnard, lemon sole, megrim, pollack and whiting.
You can buy a variety of sustainably sourced fish straight from the boat every Saturday morning in Whitstable harbour from 9am.
If you eat tinned tuna, note that (according to Greenpeace) “Sainsbury’s, M&S, Waitrose & The Co-op are leading the market with the most progressive sourcing policies”, e.g., by Sainsbury’s moving all of their tinned tuna to 100% pole and line caught. Greenpeace’s “tinned tuna league table” ranks Sainsbury & M&S jointly at the top, with Waitrose and the Co-op in the second and third place. Worst is Princes. For further info see: greenpeace.orguk/redlist, mcsuk.org (Marine Conservation Society), fishfight.net (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s campaign) fish2fork.com (first website to review if fish served in restaurants is sustainable)
• When you buy things that can’t be produced locally choose Fairtrade if available, guaranteeing environmental as well as economic and social standards. Fairtrade products are more likely to be grown organically and farmers are committed to making environmental improvements to achieve their Fairtrade certification.
• Ask for doggy bags in restaurants if you can’t finish your food – they don’t like seeing food waste any more than you do – they’ve laboured over cooking it after all, and it means you get more for your money. Take Tupperware with you if you eat out a lot!
• Read “Not on the Label” by Felicity Lawrence, a book about the UK food supply. Just a bit of knowledge can go a long way in helping you make informed choices. Another good book is “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Zoer.
• Eat less meat, or stop eating meat altogether. A huge amount of energy goes into meat production. This applies to cat and dog food too. Become Vegan or Vegetarian. Or buy organic meat or game from Whitstable Farmers Market!
• Grow your own herbs in window boxes. It costs less than buying them cut, and there’ll be a lot less waste.
• Keep bees! Search Project Dirt for forthcoming courses – projectdirt.com/events/event/search?q=bee+keeping
• Do meal plans for the week, so that you don’t over-buy and you don’t waste food. Resist BOGOF offers unless you’ve planned a use for the extra food you’ve bought, use left-overs creatively
• If you buy a lemon for a recipe and only need half, slice up the rest and freeze it for drinks
• Buy a wormery and feed any food waste into it – it produces great compost and lots of free liquid plant food. All you need is a small basement store if you live in a flat with no garden.
• Ask shops and restaurants questions about provenance – only by asking and showing that customers have concerns will change happen.