Archive for the ‘food’ Category

The falling leaves …

Posted: September 4, 2012 in food, wilderness
Tags: ,

As summer tumbles, with the leaves toward the autumn, the Pen has been busy doing garden chores and general tidying. Work merely gets in the way. So, there I was clearing the garage, something shiny caught my eye buried at the back, under the cycle trailer. I had rediscovered my Cobb barbecue. The One had been to a meal with her colleagues from work, she had eaten haloumi and veg kebabs, of the skewered variety. We had talked about cooking these but I had completely forgotten the Cobb, discarded when we stopped eating flesh. Anyway, a wash and shine, later and some locally sourced sustainably managed woodland charcoal purchased a Barrie was called for. A sunny afternoon and the kebabs prepared.


They were delicious and made a lovely end to a days labour in the garden.

At this time of year my thoughts turn to alcohol, well it is pretty much at the forefront of my mind most of the year, but this is Elderberry time! A morning spent rummaging around in the local(ish) hedgerows produced enough of the shiny black jewels for a gallon of the good stuff. Home to turn the raw material into the makings for some of the best country wine money can’t buy.


Just four pounds of fruit and in a few months a gallon of wine to enjoy.
The bug was perfectly placed to stop me picking the fruit but never mind, there was plenty more.



Pure goodness


I see that Bill Gates is spending a fortune of supporting scientific work into alternate toilets.

I quote:

‘The project challenged inventors to come up with a toilet that operated without running water, electricity or a septic system. It needed to operate at a cost of no more than five cents (3p) a day and would ideally capture energy or other resources.’

Er what about composting toilets, they don’t cost anything to run, in real terms. They are undemanding of resources do not use water electric or septic systems, can be made out of almost anything and capture compost which helps build soil fertility. No techy solution difficult to repair or obtain replacement parts produced at a cost of CO2.

I strongly believe in the KISS principle. If you want alternate energy, install solar or wind, use your poo to grow food.


It seems that food corporations are becoming concerned at the price of meat. It is heading toward becoming a luxury item again. Of course that will effectively mean less money for the retailer because fewer people will buy. Governments and the UN are also concerned. How on earth will we be able to feed ourselves?

Insects are the answer apparently. Apparently a new name has been invented, mini livestock. Aw please, a cockroach by any other name …

There are millions of people in the world who manage to live perfectly happy fulfilling worthwhile lives contributing to society and the economy who are vegetarian. If people want to eat meat and it costs lots then they will have to pay. Insects are famine food. Do the food giants believe that the world will want to survive on Beetle burger and slug salami (OK not an insect I know but you get the idea) Spider Sausage etc. Permaculture and organics can lead the world out of food poverty. If money from the UN or governments / big business was invested in teaching and setting up Permaculture sites to educate the masses there would be abundant food gardens accross the planet, even in currently arid regions.

Of course the big food industries would no longer be making money. Instead of sitting at a desk manipulating prices, growing fat and poor health on the labour of poorly paid agricultural workers, CEO’s could actually get out and work. Not so much money, but a healthier, more honest lifestyle awaits.

So come on, leave the insects alone. We do not need to kill creatures to survive in this world, the plants can do it for us. Who knows, if we stop killing animals and insects, we might stop killing each other.

It really is ….

I read today that The Grimreaper Inc (AKA the demon of retail Tesco) are struggling huzzah. I have been trying to convert colleagues for years to shop elsewhere. Tesco destroy our high streets, tarmac our green spaces, destroy farming livlihoods with their price fixing contracts, support poor quality food, push meat (two chicken for £5 anyone?) make huge profits without returning anything meaningful and generally provide misery in bucketfuls.

It now seems that Tesco think that by making the store appear more rustic they can con the great British public into thinking the store cares about the environment. Come on, just be honest, you are the Arthur Daley of supermarkets. Anything to turn a quick profit without so much as a fleeting thought of the impact the actions of Tesco may have on our world.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the labelling was accurate so that shoppers could rely on the information provided. They should turn the stores over to the local community so that they could be used to sell truly local organic produce, or better still share around the surplus among the needy each taking what they need and no more.

I hope that I am witnessing the first cracks in the unsustainable profiteering of this capitalist society leading to the destruction of our current wasteful system and the birth of real sustainability. Probably not but we, I, live in hope.

Sadly not me. John D Liu, has put together this small film to highlight the benefits of bio diversity and stable ecosystems. A wonderful view for those who care and have time.

John poses a question at the end. In my jaundiced view the answer is greed and lack of concern for others.

It is also nice to see Rwanda that much blighted country leading the world.


I have just read today’s BBC news concerning the state’s repression of the freedom of speech and action concerning GM. It appears that the government arranged for the closure of public footpaths, the deployment of large numbers of Police Officers (taking them away from other functions no doubt.

What were the protesters, the villains of the piece demonstrating against? A grain crop that actively discourages aphids. Now as a gardner I am not fond of aphids. They do spoil my gooseberry bushes. They infect my cherry tree and anything else they fancy. However, aphids are part of the food chain. The government are aware of the depletion of bird species. They appear to approve of labelling insect friendly seed to encourage us in the gardens of our homes to increase insect populations for the good of bio diversity. Then along comes the aphid killing grain.

The anonymous spokesperson (best be politically correct) for the site stated that the genetically engineered destroyer of nature’s bounty is:

“just one tool in the toolbox to create more sustainable food”.

On what level is it sustainable? How much has been spent on producing enough grain to sow this field? What price does that make a bushel come out at to the retail trade. How is the grain propogated in future, and am I really supposed to believe that the food scientist is a philanthropist who will not expect a vast financial return for taking something freely available to all (essentially grass seed) and turned it into a cash cow. I have seen no figures published to show the ammount of noxious emissions released into the atmosphere of our beleagured planet as a result of the creation of this teenage mutant ninja seed. The oil cost of it’s production and the heat and power wasted are not quantified by anyone.

Perhaps the money would have been better spent converting the sterile field environment into self sustaining food forests. That is what I call sustainable food, not something that requires human input to bring the seed into existence where it may destroy the green and pleasant land it was planted in.

Professor John Pickett, a principal investigator at Rochester Research, told BBC News there was “a very, very remote chance that anything should get out”.

“All it would mean was that some other plant – if it ever did miraculously transfer into another plant – was making a smell like the aphid.”

Is that not the point. There is tacit acceptance that there MAY be some cross contamination and make another plant smell like an aphid thereby depriving the much maligned creature of another chance to breed. This breaks the food chain Professor Pickett. A depletion in aphid numbers = less food for their predators being less food for the predators predators etc etc an nauseum. Result less food for US.


And why are the government supporting the profligate waste of a bankrupt industry. Farming has caused untold damage to the environment sterilising the soil to the point where nothing grows without massive pertro chemical inputs. Oh, of course Dave’s chums need to make a profit to buy another Ferrari, own more houses than they can live in and swill at the trough in a glutonous manner.

Makes you think

Posted: May 2, 2012 in economy, food
Tags: , , , ,

I have just seen this clip on you tube, if you live cosily believeing that humans are basically good, think again. We all, in one way or another worship greed, this is just an extreme version.

Thanks Bill for trying to help us all keep our humanity.