Tuesday, 13 April 2010


I took Confessions of an Eco-Shopper by Kate Lock out from the library one day last week, and it has been very interesting to read, as well as very amusing! She uses the subtitle, "The true story of one woman's mission to go green" which gives us all a good grasp of what it is all about.

Lock tackles the issues as 37 Challenges, and I thought it would be good for my eco soul, such as it is, to consider how we are measuring up to them and what we could do to improve our carbon footprint.

Challenge 1: Can you do without supermarkets?
No, I've been here before. I live in the middle of nowhere and I can manage to go to a good butcher in Upwell, there are veg and fruit on the market in town BUT there is nowhere else to buy the groceries like sugar, flour and margerine, the loo roll and the washing up liquid. I fail on that one.

Challenge 2: The veg box.
No, I'm not going there either. There are loads of veg that we or UJ grow ourselves, and we are reasonable traditional (you can read "boring" there if you want to!) in our choices but we don't go too much for the fancy stuff. There are orchards in the Wisbech area, around Elm, where I buy fruit if I want a lot to preserve, and otherwise I get it from the shop or the market, and I am happy to choose what I want myself.

Challenge 3: Organic and local
My budget doesn't run to Organic in anything other than cucumbers, because they taste so much better - and I have a load of seedling cucumbers in the propagator so we won't be buying many this year. Local - I am all for local - grow your own, barter with neighbours, receive gratefully from friends and family who have excess produce, I do Local OK!

Challenge 4: Does Organic taste better?
Cucumbers do. Can't tell you about anything else. I would say, though, that my homegrown stuff is as good as organic as we don't put anything on it. That tastes pretty good!

Challenge 5: Can you grow your own?
YES! I Can and I do! And I want to grow more.....and I "grow" my own chicken meat and eggs too.

Challenge 6: Ready meals vs proper dinners
She seems to mean bought, pop-it-in-the-microwave dinners as ready meals, whereas our version of a ready meal is what I made last week as leftovers and froze. We do those, but I don't think I have ever bought a proper microwave dinner.....Real food here.

Challenge 7: Make your own
Yogurt? I can and have but there is little demand for it here so I don't at the moment.
Ice cream? HM Lollies I can do, and the FH has a method for making ice cream with tinned cream/milk but it goes very hard!! Not sure we pass that test.
Soup? Used to. Haven't done for ages - should try again.
Bread? Can do - make a popular French stick, and use the breadmachines sometimes too.
Cakes? Most definitely - size of backside attests to that!
Preserves? Jam, apple butter, basic marmalade. Haven't made chutney for ages, but want to make lemon curd this week - bought the lemons!

Challenge 8: The milkman
Used one when we first moved here, but the kids and FH didn't drink enough milk to make it worth while. He did deliver beautiful English apple juice, though. We use UHT milk now.

Challenge 9: Going veggie - a one week challenge
The EFG was veggie for 6 months, but we have never all been veggie for a week. Good idea.

Challenge 10: Cod and ethical fish
Salmon is often tinned from Alaska, tuna is usually dolphin-friendly. Other fish is frozen. Will have to look into this situation and report back later.

Challenge 11: Cleaning without chemicals
No, I use chemicals and I know I could do better on this one. I do use Stardrops diluted a lot of the time, and I use washing soda in the washing powder mixture I make, but I could make much more use of vinegar and bicarb. Will get some info from Rhonda-Jean's archives and have a go.

Challenge 12: Green washing
I use the 30C wash, even for whites. I do line-dry as we don't have a tumble drier. She talks about soap nuts and eco balls, but I don't use anything like that.

My EFG suggests that 12 challenges is enough for tonight and I should resume later in the week.

The hedgehog has returned and was seen eating the cat's biscuits tonight - wonderful to know that he has made it through the winter.


Varis Creations said...

Sounds like an interesting read! I've just read "How I lived a year on just a pound a day" by Kath Kelly, worth borrowing from the library for a bit of light relief and a few interesting ideas! Thanks for the lovely suprise which arrived in the post this morning, I've not read any Katie Fforde so looking forward to something new. I must confess that the last books I read were the Twighlight series (all 4 in a week)not meant for a nearly 40 year old audience, but well written and worryingly addictive! Maybe I'm having a midlife crisis.....

Morgan said...

We LOVE Twilight here so you are not alone! We just got the DVD of New Moon (on offer at Asda with free delivery!) and can't wait for Eclipse to come out...We may just have to go to the cinema to see that one. The EFG and I have read all the books, and I have read Host too, which is another Stephenie Meyer book. The films are good but we sit there and say, "That's not how it was in the book," and it drives the YFG, who hasn't read all of them, mad!!

Varis Creations said...

Oh thank goodness I'm not alone...know what you mean about the films though, but will probably be in the queue at the cinema for the next one...good job we've got age appropriate daughters as an excuse!!!