kimberley crofts

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an information and communication designer living in London

Blog Action Day ’09

This post is part of Blog Action Day ’09 which hopes to raise the awareness of climate change in the lead up to Cophenhagen.

Rather than talk about the science of climate change (of which I know very little), or the doom and gloom of our current wasteful and energy-rich behaviour (of which I unfortunately know a lot) I am instead going to focus on the local. Think of it as a return to the “think global act local” mantra of the early years of the environmental debate (oh how I wish that we had begun acting then).

I have been following the wonderful progress of the Transition movement since I moved to England last September. People involved in Transition Culture educate themselves in ways to improve the local community now, and well into the future. Transition groups across the country are working out ways to embrace sustainable farming, transport, energy sourcing, and financial practices as a way to move beyond peak oil and into a carbon-free future. Transition Culture has seen the birth of Transition Town Totnes as well as the Brixton Pound which I have posted about before.

I like what Transition Culture is bringing to the table, but at present I am not really able to contribute in a large-scale way to helping develop any initiatives. I do hope that will change. What I do want to do is to live more locally.

In November we will be moving to London and I am excited to read about many local initiatives in areas that we are thinking of living. Locally organic grown food has many obvious benefits like less carbon released through food miles and having no pesticides in your food, but it is also wonderful for the community. I have met some friendly local people here in Reading at the True Food Co-op and I am sure that it is the same throughout the local food community. If you haven’t tried it, go do it! (those in Australia should check out the Live Local Challenge)

plums

Plums picked from a tree in my back garden

Here are some of the London food groups I have found just today:

Growing Communities is in Hackney and delivers organic vegetables to local homes and sells them at local farmers’ markets. They also have their own market garden which you can volunteer at and hold a fantastic sounding food swap event where local people can swap some of their homegrown produce (and get rid of the excess courgettes from their allotment!).

There are of course the Borough Markets for generally delicious food, but produce from the Islington Farmers’ Markets (held every Sunday) are certified by FARMA (National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association) as being grown in a defined local area by the farmer themselves. If you’d like to find a real farmers’ market in your area, head to Farmers’ Market.net.

Anyone living in the borough of Islington and who wants to grow and distribute their food should investigate Edible Islington, set up by the Council and managed by the Capital Growth folks. The Council are providing financial aid to anyone who wishes to set up a community food growing project in the area.

And what should you be buying now from your local farmers’ market? Fresh herbs, peas, broad beans, carrots, courgettes, patty pan squash, runner beans, all sorts of tomatoes, red/black/white currants, gooseberries, red, white and black cherries, raspberries, Discovery apples, new season Bramleys, sweet corn, puff ball mushrooms, cherry plums, marrows. Thanks to London Farmers’ Markets for that info.

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