It’s week three and I think I’m hitting my stride. In becoming a dab hand and knocking up a few wholemeal scones , making sure I divvy up my protein for each day, and I can murder a potato in any one of a dozen devilish ways.
Meanwhile my grocery bills are down, and my waste is down…even my waist seems to be benefitting from this restriction (and if ever there was a sign that I have far too much, it’s that I see a weight reduction as a bonus).
Meanwhile, thanks to the amazing generosity of friends, family, and some people I’ve never even met, I’ve already managed to raise nearly £400 in sponsor money for CAFOD’s Lent appeal! If you’d like to add to that total, please visit my justgiving page.
Maybe I’m blogging on a good day – one where the thought of one more potato doesn’t make me weep – but my thoughts for today are: it’s really not so bad. A few more eggs, and I reckon I’d be happy to adopt it on a longer term basis. Oh, and some tomatoes. An oranges…and the occasional avocado.
OK, there are definitely things I miss. But the benefit of the ration regime is that it really lets you get to grips with what’s essential and what’s a luxury. And the fact is, I’ve got all the essentials.
I’m wondering now, if I’d appreciate lots of things more if I only ate them seasonally? Most of us rarely consider if our fruit and veg is seasonal these days because you can always get what you want, but if we always get the season’s best it not only tastes better, we become almost by accident more aware and responsible shoppers.
Here is one important lesson I’ll be taking forward from the challenge: overseas food is actually a luxury, which adds variety and excitement to my diet. And if I get seasonal local produce where I can, I will most likely have enough money to get my overseas produce from sustainable, responsible sources.
What could you discover in Fairtrade Fortnight?
I do think we should keep buying our avocados and oranges and bananas because overseas producers do, after all, rely on that trade. But I do want to see them for what they are: gifts; privileges, and therefore not to be bought carelessly, or for knockdown prices.
Food that comes from overseas represents people’s livelihoods, every bit as much as buying carrots from Cambridge is supporting farmers here. So not being responsible about whom I buy from should no longer be an option.
Did you know that the 500 million women and men who produce 70 per cent of the world’s food also make up half the world’s hungry people? This is not an accident. Once again, the people who produce our food are losing out at the end of the supply chain.
And once again – it’s something we have the power to change.
During Fairtrade Fortnight, we’re all that little bit more aware of how our purchases affect other people. We can take that awareness forward to make permanent changes to our shopping habits that really support the world’s smallholder farmers who supply most of our creature comforts. After all, over 4,500 products are now Fairtrade, so we should be able to find them!
And we can keep shouting about how unfair it is that seven companies control 85 per cent of tea production globally, and three companies hold nearly half of the global coffee production. Meanwhile, the growers and producers get a tiny percentage of the profits.
At the moment I’m only able to buy food produced in the UK. But I’m going to take a good, hard look at what I usually put in my basket, and see if I’m really putting my money where my mouth is.
I like to think of it as a pincer movement: buying Fairtrade so that growers today get a good deal, and big companies have to think a bit harder about their suppliers, and taking action to change the food system for good might mean that in years to come, we’ll be able to shake our heads in disbelief at the idea that fairly traded food was ever a choice we had to make.
It’s not right that people don’t get a fair price for what they produce. Let’s make 2013 the beginning of the end of this injustice.
CAFOD is part of the IF campaign. Please take action to end world hunger for good>>
Claud Mba has worked in CAFOD’s digital communications team for three years. She lives with her husband in Kent and is a lifelong supporter of CAFOD’s work. This Lent she’s putting her love of 1940s style and culture to the test: getting sponsored to live on 1943 UK rations, in solidarity with people who don’t have enough to eat around the world.
You can read more about Claud’s challenge and sponsor her here: http://www.justgiving.com/claudonrations