We have held a number of talks across the the past few months starting with our fringe event as part of the PECT Green Festival, a discussion titled ‘Consumerism: What we buy and the alternatives’. It was a very healthy turnout and a very healthy discussion, with lots of input from the attendees and lots to take away and think about. We covered the topic from the angle of the individual consumer, looking at buying habits when it comes to food. Do we shop locally in the market and the butchers or do we go to the supermarket? Do we buy organic? Do we buy in season? We also looked briefly at the fashion industry, both in terms of clothing and in terms of buying for the home. Is it really a taboo to buy second-hand? In the second half we changed tactics, and looked at consumerism as a societal model. Are we just pawns on a chess board? Do we really have a voice? Sadly we had to bring it to an end for the day, but as the enthusiasm and passion was clear, we have decided to run other discussions like this in the future; looking at specific situations like consumerism of the new parent, and revisiting topics which we just scratched the surface of like social structures. If you have any ideas on topics you would like to discuss, please get in touch and we can add them into the mix.
In September 2016, as part of the International Picnic held at The Green Backyard, we held a discussion on Food and Globalisation. Again, it was a very healthy turnout with a really active discussion. We looked at what different cultures across the world would typically eat and how much it would cost. Generally the west were eating the processed packaged diet with the highest price tags and the developing countries eating food in much more natural states, with fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses and grains, which were also the cheaper options, although we did discuss if this was due to choices and availability. Those in attendance mostly commented that they have a fairly natural diet, however were aware they had processed and packaged food too, and aware on their privilege to have this. We also touched on the topic of where our food was coming from, local independent stores or supermarkets, whether to buy organic or not and so much more.
In October, we partnered with Metal for the Lucy + Jorge Orta: Food exhibition for the Waste Not Want Not discussion. This saw people from inspiring grassroot movements from across the country give presentations of their projects and raise awareness about the amount of food that is wasted and what we can do about it. From asking our supermarkets to only bake the bread they know they can sell, to being more accepting of oddly shaped fruit and vegetables. In addition, they spoke about the differences between best before and use by dates and the fact that what is most important is to use our senses to be our own judge about what we eat.
We do plan on holding some more discussions in future, and if you would like to hold a discussion, you do not need to be an expert, just an interest in talking about an issue, please do get in touch.
The theme for session four was food, always a favourite topic in these meetings.
We began by sharing some personal stories about food and what it means to us. Interestingly, many of our fondest memories came from experiences eating simple, local food, from home-made pizza using ingredients in the garden, to eating kimchi in Korea. It was a reminder that food is about so much more than what we put in our mouths – it’s something that connects us with our local environment and the people around us.
This led nicely into our next activity where we reflected on the wider meaning of food. Our conversation showed how food is connected with so many other aspects of our lives, from family relationships (sometimes tense, sometimes harmonious) to the vicissitudes of our emotional lives, to how our kitchens are designed. It really is something that shapes, and is shaped by, so many aspects of our lives.
Then we did the main activity of the evening: a game where we had to figure out the carbon footprint of all sorts of different foods, according to the different stages in their life-cycle (production, processing, packaging and transportation). The task of thinking about all the complicated elements that go into food production was fascinating in itself and highlighted how energy-intensive our food system is.
So what did we take away from the evening? Well, the obvious choice to keep our carbon emissions down is to eat fresh and eat local. But also to be vigilent! As one person pointed out, it’s all well and good going to a locally-owned restaurant. But if you order New Zealand lamb with Peruvian asparagus that somewhat defeats the point! Although it might seem difficult, we need to think about making smart decisions about our food choices everywhere we go The good news however, is that with practice, it soon becomes second nature.
Please join us for food, fun and dancing at the second Peterborough in Transition Ceilidh. This will be a very special event with live folk music and a caller to guide you through all of the dance steps. Ceilidhs are brilliant fun and a great way to meet new people, and for that extra feelgood factor, all proceeds go to supporting The Green Backyard. Read on to find out how you can get your tickets.
Date: Saturday 15 November 2014, 7.00pm-11pm
Venue: St John’s Hall, Mayor’s Walk, Peterborough
The Jumping Beans Ceilidh Band
Local tasty food
And a Fairtrade wine and real ale bar
Ticket prices (includes food):
Limited concession and child tickets available:
To book your tickets please contact the Peterborough in Transition events team at:
T: Karen 07753160316 or Rich: 07946577630
All proceeds go to supporting The Green Backyard!
Backyard Food logo
Our new food shop “Backyard Food” opened, as scheduled, at our May Day Celebration on May 3rd at the Green Backyard, when around £250 of sales were made. The range includes canned and dried foods from Suma, locally made preserves, fresh produce from Woodlands Organic Farm (and some from the GBY itself), and some every day non food items such as toothpaste, Ecover cleaning products, and toilet paper. Although the shop will be run as part of the Green Backyard, it will mostly be staffed by volunteers from Peterborough in Transition. For the time being the shop is only fully open on Saturday, but it is hoped that it can be opened on request on other days when the Green Backyard is open to visitors.
The shop has developed from the Peterborough in Transition food buying co-op, and will also act as the location where co-op members pick up their orders. Prices in the shop are competitive: I noticed several products that were cheaper than my usual supermarket’s organic range, including some very nice fresh asparagus. Buying from Backyard food will also save on packaging: for several of the products, herbs and spices for example, customers are expected to bring their own jar, although the shop can also sell you a suitable jar if required. It is early days for the shop yet, so if you can’t find something you would like, then do mention it to whoever is running the shop that day, and maybe it can be stocked in future. You can keep up to date with shop news by liking its facebook page.
Thanks to hard work from GBY volunteers, the shop interior is unrecognisable from its days as a container, and looks very attractive, and outside the shop is a patio area where you can relax and watch the world go by (or at least the trains to and from London 🙂 ).
Michelle Cooper behind the counter
Shop exterior including patio area
Peterborough in Transition’s brand new brew club has kicked off in Birch tapping style. On Friday we went to a secret location to give the ancient art of Birch tapping a go. In the UK, you can tap both Birch and Lime trees for their sap which can be used for a variety of brewing uses, being a base for both beers and wine.
It’s an ancient technique; birch sap can makes a delicious tea or nourishing soft-drink. Boiled down to make a sweet syrup it can be used as a flavouring agent in sauces and marinades for meat, fish or in baking as an alternative to other sweeteners. In many countries, Birch syrup is used as an herbal medicine with antiseptic, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties.
As the cold weather extended right into the spring the sap was rising slightly later than usual, meaning that we would harvest it in mid-April. If you want more information there are a variety of guides on the web including this one: http://naturalpathways.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/how-to-tap-a-birch-tree/.
The brew club is really informal but if you would like to get involved then just email transitionpeterborough at gmail dot com. The next brew on the list is Dandelion champagne, followed by Japanese Knotweed beer…brewing can be a legitimate conservation activity after all!
On another drinking note, everyone is invited to come along to the monthly Green Drinks held at the Ostrich Inn. Details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/535295789862084/.