Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Shopping category.

Every Little Helps – August 2011

Every Little HelpsThe point about shopping locally is that it’s got “green” all over it: if only it was easier to do. Sometimes I think I’d get better prices at a large supermarket, which seems a good idea in these difficult times. Sometimes, when I’m walking in the rain, pulling a heavy trolley between shops, I think about driving to a mall. Then I think about the huge amounts of unnecessary packaging there, on everything from apples to ham. I think about the “Buy One (more than you really need) And Get One (which goes off before you can eat it) Free” and I reconsider.

While we tend to walk to the shops on the High Road or Fortis Green for the nicest meat, fish and veg, we also use Ocado deliveries (amongst others) for some of the really bulky or heavy stuff. Apparently their vans use half of the fuel that the equivalent households would use picking up their shopping. Other interesting delivery services include organic veg “group shopping” drop-offs, outside schools and community centres.

Farmers’ markets are still – just – viable, bringing locally produced food to a suburban market. We’ve had occasional French ones (lovely but pricey deli food and cakes) and the Alexander Palace market every Sunday. Local food means reduced transportation, so reduced CO2 , which is all to the good. Local also means seasonal food (which as I’ve mentioned before, doesn’t really limit your food variety if you’re OK with traditional foods).

Of course, seasonal fruit is popping out all over the place from now to the end of the autumn. Fruit trees in our road include greengages and plums, apples and pears (several varieties), cherries and even apricots. We’ve got quince and grapes, figs and blackberries in abundance. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could leave some of the excess out the front of our house, or somewhere locally, for others to help themselves? Seems a shame for them to go to waste. Pickling&Jam club anyone?

Farmers’ Market site –


Every Little Helps – January 2011

Every Little Helps

After all the festive fun (and excess) I’m ready to tighten my CO2 belt, resolving to try harder in 2011 to make a little difference.


Perhaps it’s worth revisiting why “global warming” is important to us individually? As a poorly-informed natural sceptic, I looked for a beginners’ guide to global warming. I wanted to know: what are the consequences of global climate change; are we making things worse (and how and how much); and can we do anything about it? You can check these things for yourselves and decide if you believe the science or not (links below). I do believe now, and I also believe we can make a difference – hence this column.

This month I’m thinking about seasonal food and short days. Seasonal food has two benefits: it’s possible to get food in season locally (with lower CO2 from transportation) and – while seasonal food is often cheaper due to seasonal glut – buying seasonally is still good for the local economy.

There are web sites listing local, seasonal foods throughout the year. January veg include beetroot, sprouts (lovely), celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, spinach, swede and turnips. Fruit includes apples, pears, European oranges and pomegranate. Sweet chestnuts are great. Meat could be goose, guinea fowl, rabbit, venison. Fish could be crab, mackerel, mussels, turbot, brill, monkfish.

Of course, freezing, pickling and jam-making seasonal food can tide you over these darkest months (we froze half our cooked turkey to eat later in the winter).

If you’re feeling adventurous, try foraging for food around East Finchley with – 3rd Saturday of every month.

However, if these cold dark days depress you – some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder – an eco-friendly “daylight balanced” light bulb can really cheer you up and even help prevent colds.

Wrap up warm and roll on Spring!


Beginner’s guide to Climate Change – FAQ’s (5Mb)
Beginner’s Guide to Climate Change Convention (1.5Mb)

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