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big companies and toxic products

It looks as though the EU are going to renew the licence for glyphosate, which has been deemed ‘probably’ carcinogenic by the WHO.

Glyphosate is an ingredient in Round Up weed killer and has been found in Quaker Oats.

There’s still time to write to Liz Truss about this and to take part in a ‘rebranding’ campaign.

Here’s what I found at my local Homebase…! 😉

Monsanto real branding


Two years on

..well, *almost* two years.

It’s interesting to reflect on how many – if any – of the buying local habits have lasted. I’m pleased to say I still avoid the big supermarkets, aside from the Co Op – which has a good Sourced Locally range – and occasionally Budgens. I shop a lot more regularly at Poppy’s Pantry.

I’ve overcome the sugar-in-tea habit and the glass-of-wine-every-night habit.  Very embarrassing reading back now – it does look as if I lived off crisps and Pinot Grigio!!

Another thing that happened was joining the Waldringfield Community Composting group. I’d taken advantage of their HotBin offer but neglected it for months. Fortunately, it’s very forgiving and the half-compost mash can easily be finished off in a normal compost bin, or even dug into the veg patch pre-season. I’m now enthused about all things compost, with much to learn but excited to do so.

emptying the HotBin

The big bonus of having a compost bin – particularly as it arrived at the same time our Insinkerator packed up – was the daily awareness of our food waste: not just tea bags, coffee grounds and egg shells, but leftovers and, the worst sin of all, uneaten, mouldy food that’s just gone to waste. Given how much food adds to our carbon footprint, needless waste is pretty unforgiveable!

I still struggle with the amount of food packaging. And I often wonder whether, in fact, pigs raised on a local smallholding are better environmentally than a frozen, pre-packaged veggie sausage. As a friend said to me recently, while looking for alternatives to palm-oil free pastry, you can get obsessed with these things. ..

I try and apply a simple test now: am I putting in or taking out?

Driving will always be on the debit side – but hopefully, it might be mitigated if it’s for delivering the local newsletter to all the volunteer distributors!

Driving to work (pet sitting on this occasion)… debit, I think, but I do enjoy it.

Updating the Greener Waldringfield website – I like to think that’s on the credit side, but the internet isn’t without its carbon footprint!

I’m throwing myself into a fresh attempt at growing veg again this year – so I count nurturing my plants today as credit in the eco-bank.

Tomorrow is International Permaculture Day so it’s fitting that I’m planning to spend it in the garden.


when it goes wrong – part four


I know. Not a good excuse, but I’m being honest.
It’s a struggle to cook vegetarian food which is as tasty or varied as meat dishes.  Deep down, I think salad is for rabbits and soup is for starters before a proper meal. Which narrows the options even more.

And it’s not that I’m not an imaginative enough cook – although I’m lazy, I admit.  But look at every pub, restaurant, delicatessen, cafe…. can you see anything veggie other than goats cheese tart, or risotto? Feel free to prove me wrong!

Limiting the food source to 30 miles is harder for vegetarians. There are, in fact, lots of local meat producers – it’s easy cooking for Jonathan.

So yes, last night I did think, ‘it’s Friday, I want chip shop chips with curry sauce, I refuse to go home and have another pasta/potato/egg based meal.’ (I know, I know, I realise where the chips came from…). As I blogged before, in these circumstances I should have gone somewhere entirely non-local, for Chinese or Indian takeaway… But it was after a long day. The last thing I wanted was to be worthy, when I could sit on the sofa and eat chips in front of Strictly.

It’s interesting that a challenge like this can bring out issues like will power and laziness. This challenge is achievable, just a bit hard. It’s definitely me failing it, not Suffolk.

couch potato

when it goes wrong – Part Three

The lack of preparation

This let me down last time, and here we are again..

  • those moments where you’ve run out of milk and have to weigh up a 40 minute detour along the A12 against buying non local milk at the local farm shop
  • realising that it’s all very well buying lovely mushrooms and planning to make a Quiche, but you have to actually make it – otherwise it’s cheese on toast. Again.
  • forgetting that if you want  to go from work to the gym and you haven’t made a sandwich or left time to go shopping first, you will be hungry and will scavenge any accessible food that is not in any way locally sourced (I blame colleagues for leaving Pringles lying around, especially on a Friday).

Lesson? You have to work at this challenge.

Suffolk Food Hall

Orwell bridge

We were enticed to the Suffolk Food Hall yesterday by the prospect of a Free Sampling Day – perfect!

After a brilliant morning at Poplar Park watching four tiny, kick ass ponies wipe the floor in a mounted games competition against the King’s Troop, we lunched at the Cookhouse restaurant.

Wow, what a location! The view of the Orwell Bridge, the Thames barge on the river and the open fields were spectacular. Plus, we had the  added drama of the East Anglian Sheepdog society in the field opposite.

The staff were warm, friendly and helpful.

J had chicken terrine, followed by a Shipcord cheese scone – verdict: “mmmmm…. :-)”

I enjoyed my fresh tagliatelle pasta with mushrooms, nettle pesto, pinenuts and lemon. The mushrooms were gorgeous. The pesto was… not bad, actually.

Despite several readings of who marvellous nettles are (and how much more locally sourced could you get than garden nettles?) , I’ve never tried them. They were nuttier than I’d have expected, and not as tasty as basil or rocket. But not bad, and full points for 30:30. All in all, a super lunch.
I stuck with the challenge by rejecting the Pinot Grigio for a glass of Essex wine. Honestly? It was too sweet for me, but definitely good.

So good, in fact, that after wondering round the shop for a while, unable to choose anything from the enormous variety of products other than Hadleigh Maid chocolates (it was pudding for later, ok?), we got to the till before remembering that it was Sampling day – erm, sort of the point of the visit.  By them it was 3.30 and the samples had been sampled.

But no matter. As a one stop shop for the local brands we’ve been buying, it’s ideal. And fantastic that they put the emphasis on seasonal food and local suppliers. Next time, I shall go back before I’ve had a large glass of wine and a huge meal, and definitely before Christmas to buy lovely luxury supplies.


when it goes wrong – Part Two

…the being tired and fed up part…

grumpy cat

You know, when it’s been a long day and you’re grumpy and exhausted...

Being generally weak willed and self pitying, I don’t have the reserves to eat another locally sourced potato. I want processed junk food and wine and I want them now.

So pop! the cheap Proscecco left over from something or other is opened and poured; a creamy risotto stirred; some disgusting quorn concoction torn from the freezer and shoved in an oven. Followed by the mechanical ice cream. Nom nom nom!

I know. It would have been more in the spirit of things to go to the local pub and pour money in their very local pockets. Or at least buy some expensive champagne or an overpriced veggie meal from a Woodbridge delicatessen. If you’re gonna break the rules, do it with style. Along the lines of Miles in Sideways.

paul g

But it’s not so dramatic as all that. One blip does not mean the end of the challenge.

Tonight, I’ve resisted. It’s Friday and it’s been a long week and Friday night is takeway/eat out night… But, no! Pasta’s a wildcard and paired with mushrooms (bacon for husband) and cream… Cream. It’s a bit of a lifesaver. Fattening, no nutritional value… but it does spice things up. So, yes. Creamy splodgy pasta – suitably satisfying but within the rules. And garlic bread and rocket & tomato salad. Locally sourced heaven.

when it goes wrong – Part One

It’s easy to identify when it goes wrong:
1. other people
2. being tired and fed up
3. lack of preparation
4. boredom (see also 2).

Other people
Not in the sense that other people sabotage things (although you have to be careful – see previous post about unthinkingly accepting chocolates).

But when people come to stay, all the way from Manchester, semi-work but friends for a long time… well, I couldn’t just offer cider or Vodka, could I? So there has to be wine (Fairtrade, natch).

The quiche (another veggie, like me) and potato dauphinoise were mostly local, as was the apple pie. The strawberry ice cream was a totally non-local mechanical concoction of tinned milk, mascarpone and strawberries (OK, so a third sourced locally is better than nothing). Totally mechanical, totally delicious. Local points for the Hadleigh chocolates selection box.

Other guests having a quick bite to eat post badger watching (yes, really, do it, it’s great!) got salmon sandwiches, ingredients from the cake shop and Pinneys. Which were greeted enthusiastically. Breakfast was Dingley Dell sausages and bacon and smallholding eggs.

Both parties were up for the concept of 30:30, my siblings-in-law particularly, who have an allotment and regularly buy local stuff. The last dinner they cooked for us was almost 100% 30:30 to their home in Cambridge, so they were ahead of us anyway.

Promoting the 30:30 idea can only be positive, but I shrank back from serving something untried and potentially not very tasty… that spag bol I made? “Didn’t work without the tomato paste,” said J.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the “being tired and fed up” part.