Friday, 22 August 2014

Fresh Food and Food Banks (and lots of photos of veg)

Roasted veg cooked ready for dinner later

On the news this morning they were discussing the rise in the theft of food from shops.  They asked a woman why she had stolen food, she said she wanted fresh food for her children.  She explained that food banks are great but you can't get fresh food from them.

As I was preparing meals today that interview came back to me,  I don't know how I would manage without fresh food.  We have really struggled in the past but we were lucky enough to live where we could get hold of fresh veg.  OH used to help out on farms and be given veg to take home.  We have even been out on walks and been given cauliflowers  from a farmer who told us that for what he would get paid by the  supermarkets he might as well give them away. I remember someone telling me that they had no fresh food left at all and as he was driving down the road found some cauliflowers that had literally fallen off the back of a tractor.  My dad and OH mum had greenhouses so there was always surplus tomatoes, cucumbers lettuce, along with loads of runner beans.  A friend used to go out picking mushrooms and bring us a basket full. Blackberries for free at this time of year.  There was also cheap veg sold at the farm gates.

 I am now lucky enough to be able to afford a locally grown veg box delivery every week, supplemented by fruit and veg from Aldi and some home grown veg which I have the space to grow.  I was also given some home grown apples by a friend last night, so much tastier than ones from the supermarket.  Most of the meals I prepare are based around fresh fruit and veg.  I crave fresh food when I haven't been able to have any.  As a vegetarian the lack of fresh meat doesn't affect me, but for many they would find it very difficult to manage without if that is what they are used to.

Years ago I worked in a sheltered housing project.  We would have families arrive with the clothes on their backs and not much more.  We were able to give them tins of food, dried pasta, rice,  toiletries, sanitary products all of which had been donated.  We would take them to a local charity to find clothes for free. Until they could get benefits sorted out, which often took ages, they had to rely on donations.   They wanted the best for their children like everyone else, they found it so upsetting to have to rely on handouts.   There are families today who have to rely on food banks and do not have access to fresh food.  There are also supermarkets today that will be throwing out fresh food.  Surely there is some way to get them together.  I know there are some schemes that do this, but it is not done nationally.

This is the veg just little old me used today.   If I had to rely on a food bank I couldn't even fill up on bags of pasta or cereal as it certainly wouldn't be gluten free.

Fresh tomatoes for a pasta sauce

Home grown spinach for mini omelettes

Tomatoes from the veg box, including black ones which I was only saying yesterday I had never seen before

Home grown lettuce for lunch

My lunch, full of  fresh veg with home grown lettuce, tomato and spinach.

I'm going to pick some chard later for dinner.

As you can see I am lucky enough to have a diet full of fresh food, so many people do not have this option.

Garden update:

A teeny tiny aubergine growing, such a beautiful colour


Peas starting to grow

A few carrots in the veg plot especially photographed for Paid in Chickens :)

Mini sweetcorn plants with no sweetcorn, I think it is probably too late to get some now.

On other news, I have woken up with a sore throat and ear ache nooooooooooooo  I can't come down with something, I want to get this damn operation over with!  Keep everything crossed for me that it will go away.

Chickpea xx


  1. Yes, Chickpea, I heard the radio interview too. I donate to the FB trolley in the local supermarket every week and have often wondered how the recipients can manage without fresh fruit, veg, eggs,bread etc especially if they have children to feed. Our local FB buys in milk to distribute but I don't think they give out eggs and suchlike. Tons & tons of food are wasted by the supermarkets, I can never understand why so little is discounted at the end of the day or donated to homeless shelters etc. Perhaps it's to do with food safety. Madness, I know.
    I do hope your sore throat goes away very quickly, thinking of you...
    BTW I'm loving all the food growing photos, I can not compete :-)

  2. All that fresh veg looks wonderful - we eat piles every week and I don't know what we'd do without it! xxx

  3. We will never think of carrots in the same way again!

    It's so sad about the food banks, they are not allowed to donate fresh food, they do have a help yourself box though so I may take a ton of runner beans down next week x

  4. I'm absolutely positive Supermarkets could be much more helpful with regard to food nearing it's sell by date. Especially fruit and veg as you can literally see when it's truly past eating. I did a post quite a while ago about a charitable restaurant which I think was in Norway who use food the retailers can no longer sell. They cook good food with the rejects and people pay money for the meals, that is then passed onto Charities that need funds.

    Jean x

  5. I have mixed feelings about food banks, I watched a program a few months back showing people using food banks, while some were in desperate need of help there was those who were turning up in nice cars having the latest in phones and electronic gadgets I dont see those as in need.
    I agree that the supermarkets could do more to help instead of throwing out so much stuff.

  6. Such a good point you make about fresh food and supermarkets chucking stuff out. We're fresh foodies too and I would feel very unhealthy without it. That cold is doing the rounds I'm afraid- I had it last week and it's only just shifting now xx

  7. I would hate to be without fresh food, but if I had no food I would be very grateful to receive a parcel from a foodbank so I guess that it is all relative isn't it. I hope that your cold gets better! xx

  8. I remember once asking for very ripe bananas in the supermarket to make an urgent banana loaf. I was told that these are always removed from the shelves because very ripe bananas put shoppers off. I also once met a guy who exclusively lives on food thrown out by supermarkets. Apparently sometimes it is spray painted to prevent scavenging. What world do we live in I sometimes wonder? I love to eat fresh and get cravings for green stuff especially. I hope your cold is better already. Cx

  9. Didn't catch the interview, but being lucky enough to grow our own fruit and veg,I couldnt imagine being without access to fresh food, even if my boys think ' veg' is a swear word!

  10. Thank you for all your comments, I will be asking at our local food bank if they have a special diet section and take in some gluten free pasta if they need it. xx

  11. It is very sad. I am fortunate to be able to shop in a store which keeps their veg/fruit prices very low. Other stores are so expensive for the same things. I would much rather eat vegetables and grains than meat, and we only have meat a few times a week in our home, for budget and health reasons. But so many people are only eating unhealthy foods because they're easier to find and buy. It's really a shame.

  12. P.S. There was an item on the news over here the other day all about the enormous amount of food that is thrown out by supermarkets. It is supposedly to do with food safety, but when a food expert dove into the dumpster, his conclusion was, in a nutshell, that 90 percent of the food was more than edible, despite the fact that some showed spots here and there (apples, for example). Such an incredible waste.

  13. You are so right and I always think the same thing. Grocery stores and bakeries have to get rid of anything that is stale or not in its prime and how horrendous it is to just throw it. It should be mandatory that it be donated or given away for free. So much needless waste in this world. Very sad indeed. Have a wonderful weekend. Tammy P.S. Hope your sore throat goes away


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