Wednesday, 11 January 2012

CHALLENGE: Best of British – What I Learned

Thank you for all your comments over the past few days! 

This challenge was an absolute eye-opener. I couldn't believe how heavily I rely on imported foods for every day living! Although I wasn't quite as naïve as some of my friends, who wondered why I couldn't have tea since it is an “English heritage”!

What I Will Take Away
Whilst this diet will be too restrictive to keep up, until I build up my own resources anyway, I would like to take away a few goals for the year. Firstly, I will grow much more of my own food in the future. When I get my own place I would love to keep chickens for eggs, but that is a long way off yet. In the meantime I'll get my hands dirty in the garden!

If I had known during 2011 that I would decide to undertake this challenge in January 2012, it would have been prudent to grow beans and can them in preparation for winter protein. This year I will definitely preserve home-grown food, as I would love to become more self-sufficient.

I will make an effort to eat “mainly” British. If most of the ingredients are British (for example Hovis uses 100% British wheat), that will be a good compromise for me. I will eat seasonal vegetables grown in the UK, which will save me money as well as reducing my carbon footprint!

Eating entirely British is very difficult and I don't really recommend trying it. My challenge to you is to pay attention to where you food comes from in the next couple of weeks. What surprised you? Maybe try to incorporate more 100% British meals (or wherever you live). It'll save you money (when eating seasonally) and be kinder to the planet!


Maria said...

I've enjoyed your posts on this. I've never tried to eat entirely British (suspect it would be very hard, as you have found!), but I have for years been eating 'mostly' british when it comes to fruit and veg, in my case for environmental reasons. This means lots of root veg in winter, but to be honest, tomatoes in winter don't taste right anyway! (to me at least).

I do wish all supermarkets would clearly label food with country of origin - Co-Op does and whenever I find a supermarket that doesn't I am surprised now!

Donna said...

For the past two summers I was able to grow my own vegetables and some fruit. It was wonderful to eat food that was just picked that day. It is difficult in NYC to always find locally grown food. In the winter I don't see any farmers' markets. Most of the produce is shipp
ed from other countries or other parts of the country. Everything is labeled as to country of origin.

cumbrian said...

Thought you'd struggle. I suppose that's the way pwople ate before the advent of imported food, but they didn't know anything different.

Nice experiment though, you learnrd a lot.

Pamela said...

Bryallen, I think this has been fascinating and fun to read. I like the goal you have set for yourself--to eat mainly British. It's realistic and it's doable.

I've really enjoyed reading about your experiment!


Well done that Girl! think you have open all our eyes.... I for one will be looking for British grown food.

Vicky x

Bryallen said...

I was pleasantly surprised with how well labelled fruit and veg were actually. The ingredients in a more processed food were much harder to trace though.

You just can't beat seasonal foods - British strawberries in summer taste a million times better than ones from foreign climes grown artificial for the UK market!

Bryallen said...

I am very excited to grow my own vegetables this year! The fruit bushes my parents planted last year didn't do very well, but there is always a huge abundance of blackberries in the late summer! :)

When I was at uni in Cardiff I went to a local farmer's martket just before Christmas and there was a lot still on offer. It probably takes a greenhouse and a lot more effort to grow the less hardy and more seasonal stuff though.

Bryallen said...

I definitely did learn a lot. I was worried about how I probably wasn't getting the right vitamins and iron etc., but then people didn't think about that stuff in the past.

I remember my primary school headteacher telling us she didn't see a banana until she was about 10 (born just after the second world war), which we were all so shocked to hear!

cumbrian said...

Really trying to get my head around this idea, I try to eat as local as possible, but there's some things we just can't produce in UK. Rice, tea and coffee for example, and I think most people buy these items every week?
Bakery products also tend to be bought on a regular basis, but I don't think much of the flour used is from grain grown in UK, nor is the sugar, salt or fat content locally scourced.

Having said that, I think just about all our meat, fish and poultry foodstuff can be scourced locally, all our basic vegetables, and quite a bit of fruit in season. Milk and eggs are also usually easy enough to buy British.

So I agree a more realistic aim would be to eat mostly UK produce with the addition of as litle as practical imported stuff.
That would be more realistic and achievable.

kernowyon said...

Your father didn't see bananas as a youngster either, Bryallen!

We did however used to walk (yes, walk) to my great grandmothers (about 5 miles if the tide was out!) and grow carrots and other root vegetables in the sandy soil around her home.

We ate local veg and meat - although there was a small supermarket where we could buy baked beans and stuff as well.

I would agree with your synopsis - eat "mainly" local crops (go for seasonal crops when possible to save money and "air miles"). Really enjoyed the blog (I was "banned" from reading it until after Christmas because of the "present" issues)

By the way, the Christmas pressie was awesome and the birthday paper (prints of leaves) was the best thing I have seen for many years - and we recycled that as paprer for Nana's pressie paper too!