Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Crafting with a fractured wrist - and sustainability Part 2

Almost 7 weeks ago, I set out for a walk on fresh snow, wearing good walking boots, and returned 6 hours later, via A&E with a fractured right wrist. Last week the plaster was removed. I now need to work at some exercises to try to recover the use of the wrist and my dexterity. I have been warned that it will be a long process!

I have taught myself to stitch left handed but now I want to return to my original stitching style - my shops lack stock of popular items. I have managed some progress on this felted and embroidered poppies needle case. My left hand still makes a significant contribution.

My Sustainability Audit - Part 2

We have always enjoyed preparing food from basic ingredients. We grow as many fruit and vegetables as we can manage in a smallish garden and have tried to support fair trade and organic production. My choices are restricted a little by my need to follow a gluten-free, dairy-free diet.

I have become concerned that we are not making careful enough choices from a sustainability point of view. Since the beginning of this year, we have tried to change our food buying habits. We were doing well, pre wrist fracture - I am not able to participate fully at the moment and since, most household tasks are no longer shared, time is at a premium.

This is a summary of our approach so far:
-      I am aware that a diet based on eating meat is not sustainable globally. The latest advice seems to be that we should be moving to a weekly diet based on up to two portions of chicken, two portions of fish, red meat to the equivalent of one small burger and one egg. I am surprised about the limit of one egg and need to understand the reasons for that. We enjoy eating meat and don't feel ready to reduce our consumption to this level but we now eat meat no more than 3 times per week and have reduced our portion sizes. I must explore more vegan baking recipes - at the moment we significantly exceed the one egg limit. 
-        We try to buy locally produced foods. At the very least, UK produced foods - seasonally available and with no airmiles. Good welfare standards in meat production are important to us and the cost is someway offset by smaller portions and fewer meat meals.
-      We were, pre wrist fracture, exploring more vegetarian recipes and will enjoy returning to doing so. We provide our own tomatoes for about 6 months every year. Other home grown produce includes - peas, runner/French/broad beans, salad leaves, herbs, courgette, red peppers, cucumber, chillies, beetroot, radish, desert apples, cherries, strawberries, blackcurrants, red currants, raspberries, gooseberries, rhubarb. This year we are trying squashes. We don't have enough space for many potatoes but container-grow a few to enjoy the flavour, we also grow a few carrots and parsnips.
-       We batch cook and freeze soups and stews. We use cooking fuels sparingly (being economical with the use of the oven etc) - perhaps we need to improve in this respect and I'm not sure about the use of the freezer. I intend to look into bottling as one alternative.
-        I am very conscious of making choices so as to reduce packaging - particularly plastic. I have a supply of paper bags ( I intend to make some fabric produce bags when I can) and buy loose veg as much as possible. I don't yet have a source of non-plastic wrapped rice for example.
-       Food waste has never been too much of an issue for us. My bread is an expensive luxury so carefully consumed. I intend to try gluten free recipes and return to making my own when my wrist permits. We cook sensible portions - sometimes deliberately creating 'left overs' for my next  day lunch. Peelings are composted. Any meat trimmings, or scraps of cooked food, are disposed of in our local authority food waste caddy - it is always nearly empty!

We enjoy our food - growing it, purchasing it, preparing it and eating it. I hope to show progress towards better sustainability in future posts.


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