9 October 2011

Step Down Sunday - Farm Shops

Step Down Sunday
A lot of reducing our carbon-foot print seems to be dependent on how we spend our money.  Currently food is the biggest regular purchase we make (ignoring bills). We’re hoping that by changing the food we buy, we can reduce things like transportation miles, excess packaging and buy more organic produce.

I was surprised to learn that buying organic actually reduces your carbon-footprint.  I’d assumed since it doesn’t maximise the number of crops that can be grown in a field that it would be seen as wasteful.  In fact organic farming helps trap carbon in the soil keeping it out of our atmosphere.  (For anyone who thinks that sounds alarming: CO2 is naturally found in the earth and is part of the CO2 lifecycle, but recently the proportion in the ground has dropped while a greater proportion is now in the air).

One of the easiest ways to make an impact is to get out of the supermarkets.  We’re very lucky that there are a few farm shops within about 3 miles of us. First we visited Red Bank Farm Shop.  When you arrive you can easily forget what you came for as you park in front of several aviaries.  It seems that a local bird of prey company, Hawks R Us, also runs from the site, specialising in weddings where a barn owl delivers your wedding rings. (I could not make this stuff up!)  But, if you can pull yourself away from the birds, you find a small charming farm shop. 
Red Bank Farm Shop

Our main disappointment was that Red Bank Farm primarily focused on meat.  As I’ve been vegetarian since I was fifteen and Mr Goldfish gave up meat in January for environmental reasons, this isn’t very helpful.  They did however sell some Chinese sauces which might be useful.
Kenyon Hall Farm Shop
Kenyon Hall Farm Shop

Next we tried Kenyon Hall Farm, which was exactly what we were looking for.  A combined pick-your-own farm and farm shop, they had a wonderful range of vegetables and staples.  They carried a huge range of Suma products!  If you’ve never encountered Suma, they are ethical and environmentally friendly specialists in Vegetarian, Organic, and Fairtrade food.  There were also some brilliant creative ideas, like frozen fruit or vegetable mixes you could buy by the scoopful! 
1st: brocolli, cauliflower, bean, carrot mix 2nd: potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms & courgette 3rd: breaded mushrooms

This weekend we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving and we were able to buy a brilliant range of locally grown vegetables.  There is locally grown romanesque, purple sprouting broccoli, harlequin & onion squash as well as English grown celery, carrots and parsnips.  (I can't remember where the potatoes and cauliflower were from.)  We were also able to buy fresh double cream and Dove Farms digestive biscuits for my favourite white chocolate cheesecake.  A brilliant opportunity to start buying local, our meal will celebrate both the holiday and our commitment to Stepping Down.
It will take some planning, but really I hope we’ll be able to buy a lot more of our food from the Kenyon Hall Farm Shop rather than keep giving our money to Tesco.

What changes have you made to your life to reduce your carbon-footprint?

If you'd like the code for the Step Down Sunday badge or to learn more about it, go to the Step Down Sunday page.