It’s my great pleasure to introduce our newest Eating Britain writer: Gemma, a business and personal coach specializing in growing ‘green’ businesses, ‘greening’ businesses and helping individuals live in a more sustainable fashion. To see how she can help you or your business or to give her suggestions for future articles please go to www.illuminate-coaching.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to know what is best – Organic or fair-trade products? Should we buy locally and support our farm shops or try to buy from poorer countries that obviously desperately need our support? What about the carbon footprint our food creates?
I’ve faced the same confusions, and often still do! Obviously I don’t expect you to live exactly the way I do, but hopefully by sharing what I’ve found with you I can help you find easy solutions that work for you in your life.
As there are so many different angles to look at in food alone I’ve decided to keep these articles short and sweet and look at just one little section at a time. So this first one deals with our bread and butter – literally!
Bread & Butter
This was an area of total confusion to me a while ago but then I found www.ethicalconsumer.org which contains a handy table scoring different products ethically, taking all factors imaginable into account. Perfect for when you don’t have the time or inclination to bake your own bread.
So what are our supermarket choices? These days it’s relatively easy to buy organic bread in your local supermarket, if you prefer sliced you can get it sliced there or think about buying Warburton’s organic, this is one of the highest scoring widely available breads according to the good people at ethical consumer magazine. There are more ethical breads, but these are not so easy to get.
Or see if you have local bakers you can support, many of these do their own organic bread and you have the added benefit of it being packaged in a nice biodegradable brown paper bag rather than the plastic that mass produced brands come in.
As for me, I’ve started baking my own bread again, at first this wasn’t easy just because it was so time consuming but I recently found a recipe that suggested leaving the dough to rise overnight slowly in the fridge – genius!! Now I can start preparing it before bed and not have so much to do in the morning when I am typically a little too busy to start baking bread.
If you want to start baking your own but are hampered by time why not try doing it on the weekends only? If you bake your own bread it’s getting much easier to find organic flour on the shelf at your local supermarket, but if you’re not finding it, try going online to http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk and check out their list of stockists and don’t forget to mention to your supermarket or shop that you want to be able to buy organic flour from them. As yet I can find no suppliers of Fairtrade flour so it seems best to stick to the organic angle on this one.
Butter – this really confused me! Should I buy butter or margarine?? Should I buy anchor ‘free range’ that’s been flown from New Zealand? Or maybe English or European butter after all it will have a smaller carbon footprint, won’t it? What about organic butter? And is it true that the palm oil used in so many margarines is causing devastation in South East Asian Countries? So much confusion over such a small thing!
Back to the folks at www.ethicalconsumer.org where I read an excellent article by Lyndsey Whalen called ‘Butter Wouldn’t Melt’ that explained everything to me and of course I could refer to their table for an ‘at a glance’ solution. The highest scoring on this table are still unfortunately harder to find so I have reproduced the top half of the table here to start making your life easier. You can buy online at www.abelandcole.co.uk, or www.goodnessdirect.co.uk, but this can lead to extra delivery miles so as with the flour, don’t be shy to ask you local store to stock it for you, you never know, by doing this you might also help others eat more ethically too!
|Biona organic butter||16.5|
|Biona organic margarine||16.5|
|Pure organic vegan margarine||15.5|
|Suma organic vegan margarine||15.5|
|Pure vegan margarine||14.5|
|Suma vegan margarine||14.5|
|Yeo Valley organic butter||14|
|Castle Dairies organic butter||13.5|
|Rachel’s Organic butter||13|
|Castle Dairies butter||12.5|
|Country Life organic butter||12|
I hope this little run down has helped make it easier for you to be ethical, for more information on anything written here please do check out the links I’ve included, there are many other sources of information out there also and I plan to keep introducing them with my further articles.