How to save up to £60 a month: use these innovative food savers to throw out less food

There’s something about all the over-indulging of food and drink during the festive period that makes January feel like a welcome relief – despite the cold weather. But it’s not just the amount we consume that feels a bit over the top, it’s also what we don’t use…

A recent Daily Mail article said that as a country we wasted about £64 million of food this Christmas.

That’s just crazy.

And we throw a lot of unused food out throughout the rest of the year too: about 24 meals worth ?60 a month, according to a recent report.

Like everyone, I end up reluctantly binning food occasionally but I’ve found some great inventions that make food last longer, and we’ve added them to Nigel’s Eco Store.

food save

For example, the breathable Banana Store keeps bananas fresh for about twice as long as normal – no more overripe brown ones.

This useful Onion Keeper solves the problem of the half-used onion slowly going off in the fridge.

And these stylish, stainless steel food containers make leftovers definitely worth eating.

Since using some of these food savers (there’s more here), I’ve really noticed how much less I throw out. And I’m not spending as much on replacing what I was wasting.

It’s surprisingly easy to do.

So how do you save food?
 
 

An argument against foraging: why we should study nature, not eat it

Foraging

Wandering around hedgerows filling Tupperware with blackberries and mushrooms is one of autumn’s great pleasures. But should we be doing it? In response to our recent newsletter on foraging, one customer got in touch to explain why they think it’s bad idea.

“I’m not a killjoy but I think some contemporary activities that are credited as green might benefit from a cautionary note.

“A few people gathering wild produce may not be too much of a problem if they are picking blackberries from roadside brambles for jam or a blackberry-and-apple tart. But trendy wild food walks are popularising and in some cases commercialising what can be a relatively benign activity, to the point where it may actually be harming the countryside.

“My local wildlife trust organises many walks, nature trails and field studies of extraordinary detail and value in fauna and flora, but as far as I’m aware they do not advocate eating the subject matter.

“My first invitation to do that came from my local Transition group, an organisation not centrally concerned with wildlife as such but with reducing dependence on fossil fuels and creating a positive future. I don’t think that their wild food walks should be a part of that future.

“For example, could all the 60 million or so people who live in the UK forage and revert to being hunter-gatherers? Obviously not.

“First, there aren’t many genuinely wild areas left in a UK where, for example, farmers are now paid under European legislation to marginally increase the width of the uncultivated border between hedges and crops to assist threatened birds and insects.

“Second, we’d all end up fighting over the few foraging sites. Many people in our society have been conditioned to seek advantage at the expense of others — do we really want to encourage, say, people to breed dogs to hunt Morchella Esculenta?

“Individuals and organisations wishing to tabulate/categorise/explore aspects of local wildlife deserve support, particularly as botany is, through falling registrations, a threatened subject within UK university curricula.

“People should be encouraged to learn about the countryside scientifically – and/or just enjoy it. They don’t have to eat it too.

“Wild food walks encourage a hunter/gatherer mentality, which always seeks, by definition, to take, to exploit, and to gain at minimum cost and investment. Supporters of the countryside should focus on discouraging its exploitation, as with the official requests not to pick wild flowers.

“Similarly, we shouldn’t encourage the view that food is free and for the taking. Wild food walks may appear to give permission for pilfering, already a problem in wider society.

“People seem to think that wild food equals found food equals free food, and this promotes a perverse and unhelpful view that everyone is entitled to get food for free. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that people now protect their allotments behind high wire fences, locked gates and padlocks.

“Organisers and participants in events such as wild food walks must heed the law of unforeseen consequences and consider what the impacts of foraging are in the wider context? Is it helping connect people to the landscape? Is it helping to protect the countryside? Or is it encouraging the overexploitation of scarce natural resources that can never provide for us all?”

What do you think? Have your say in the comments box below.

Further information: The Wildlife Trusts www.wildlifetrusts.org; The Transition Network: www.transitionnetwork.org/about.

To find out more about foraging, Foraging, The Essential Guide to Free Wild Food by John Lewis-Stempel offers some interesting (and fairly disgusting!) tips on survival should that become your main concern. It includes a reading list and bibliography (including organisations and websites).

 

How a broken leg helped create a successful mushroom kit business

Richard Mansfield-Clark makes our grow-your-own mushroom kits. But that certainly wasn’t the career path he’d imagined for himself while he was renting out high-pressure jets to clean the QE2.

Grow your own mushrooms

It’s curious how life can turn on the vagaries of chance. Take Richard Mansfield-Clark. If he hadn’t broken his leg while farming, he wouldn’t have got a job renting out industrial machinery.

And if, some years later, the company he worked for hadn’t relocated to Manchester, he might still be there today, renting out high-pressure water jet machines that clean huge ships such as the QE2.

Instead, he declined the offer to move, stayed in Sussex and became a country estate manager.

If he hadn’t done that – 15 years ago now – he wouldn’t have been at the country show where he bumped into an old university pal, then a micro-mycologist in the US, who inadvertently sent him along a career path strewn with mushrooms.

For Richard, 59, is now the maker of our grow-your own mushroom kits, which come in various forms: you can grow them on logs, paper and even on old paperback books.

“If someone had told me back when I had a proper job that I’d be running my own business selling mushroom kits, I would have laughed,” he says. “It wasn’t a career path that I’d ever imagined for myself.”

Though always a keen outdoors person (his granddad, a blacksmith, was an early influence) and a Plumpton College graduate, he hadn’t been especially interested in mushrooms until he met his micro-mycologist mate. It was he who told Richard how in the US mushrooms were cultivated on logs and then sold.

Richard looked into it, tried it and soon began giving away his own mushroom logs to friends and family. Things grew rapidly and he now makes about 2,000 logs containing mushroom spores and about 1,500 mushroom growing kits every year.

The technique is an ancient one. The Chinese have been cultivating mushrooms on logs since 1300. These early growers used a stone to scratch the bark of a log and then literally crushed a mushroom into the cuts.

Today, a slightly more refined method is used. Spawn is cultivated in sterile conditions and then grown onto dowels or sawdust, which are then “planted” into holes drilled through the bark.

“The logs are sourced locally from woodland thinnings, heathland restoration projects and forestry waste… timber that would otherwise be chipped, burnt or left to rot,” says Richard.

Particularly intriguing is the Book Kit that allows you to grow mushrooms on old paperbacks. “The mushrooms grow on the wood fibres contained within the paper,” he explains.

Don’t they get contaminated with bleach and/or the ink on the pages? Apparently not. “Hampshire County Council ran tests on them a few years ago and found that you would have to eat half a kilo of mushrooms a day for months to ingest any trace of ink or bleach,” Richard says.

“It found they were much healthier than commercially produced ones, which require pesticides to grow.”

He admits that, at first, the transition from well-paid job to estate manager and supplier of mushroom kits wasn’t easy. “For the first couple of years I thought it was the worst thing I had ever done. But now, I love it — especially the freedom of working for yourself and the friendliness of the mushroom fraternity.” Of course: they’re fun-guys to be with. (Sorry.)

When he’s not getting the mushroom-growing kits ready, Richard enjoys walking on the South Downs with his dogs, foraging for wild mushrooms. He’s found truffles and parasols in the past but like all keen fungi hunters he’s not saying exactly where. “On the north face of the South Downs” is as much as he’ll give away.

But that’s OK, because it’s a lot easier to grow mushrooms at home with one of his mushroom kits than traipse through the woods looking for them.

And then, when you’ve harvested your first crop, you can reflect on the twists of fate that have led to them gracing your dinner plate.

Grow Your Own Mushroom Book Kits can be found here.

Grow Your Own Mushroom Logs can be found here.

Why a desire to filter UK water led to the charcoal kilns of Japan

Michihiro Ishihara explains how the knowledge from a thousand-year old Japanese tradition is used to make his bamboo water filters — a less expensive and less wasteful way to turn tap water into pure, untainted drinking water.

Bamboo Charcoal

We all need to drink water. Water plays such an integral role in nearly every biological process in the body, but many of us don’t drink enough, resulting in low-grade dehydration. This has become a widespread issue, with impacts on our well-being, energy, appearance and resilience.

We know this, but whilst Brits have become obsessed with buying bottled water, spending more than £1.5billion each year on it, causing environmental challenges in the process – people in Japan and the Far East have used natural bamboo charcoal to filter drinking water for many centuries and in the last 20 years or so there has been a mini revival in its popularity.

Michihiro, originally from Japan now a resident in the UK for 20 years, explains how he came to set up a company to start importing bamboo charcoal pieces.

“In the past 20 years I went through phases of trying to filter my water,” he says. “I was drinking mineral water, which was expensive, or using plastic cartridges to filter the water – but I felt bad about throwing them away at the end of their life,” he says.

“I was brought up in a region famous in Japan for high quality charcoal and knew about using it for water filtering. So, about 10 years ago, I started using bamboo charcoal at home in the UK to filter my tap water and it worked beautifully.

“I was a sales and marketing consultant at the time and, perhaps inevitably, one day I thought why not introduce it to the UK? A quick search on the internet proved, surprisingly, that no one was selling it in the UK and thought I should do something about it.”

So in 2007, he set up Charcoal People and began importing bamboo charcoal water filters from a partner in Japan, “who makes very high quality products”.

What is it about the bamboo charcoal that makes it so effective for filtering water? First, it’s the process used to create it. Bamboo charcoal for water filters is made (slowly burned in clay kilns) over 10-14 days to achieve uniform carbonisation.

bamboo charcoal filter

”Charcoal is effectively a skeleton of the original wood. Wood and plants such as bamboo, have a large number of vessels that carry nutrients up from the earth when the plant is alive,” says Michihiro.

“During the charcoal-making process, the wood is heated without oxygen and it slowly turns to charcoal, leaving these fine vessels intact with a highly permeable structure.”

And it’s within these “empty” vessels that pollutants are trapped. “Cook” the wood too fast and the skeleton collapses meaning there are fewer pores to absorb impurities.

Compare this with BBQ charcoal, which is made in just 12-24 hours — as it’s only used for burning, its production doesn’t need to be as precise.

“There is real craftsmanship and pride in making bamboo charcoal,” says Michihiro. “It’s a tradition that goes back a thousand years or so.”

Second, bamboo charcoal is extremely porous — Michihiro says that 1gm has the equivalent surface area of up to three tennis courts. That’s why you can keep using the filters again and again.

So how has he found the change from a corporate environment to a world of ancient craft and tradition? “It’s more therapeutic,” he says. “And the people are much nicer!”

Source your Bamboo charcoal pieces for filtering water here.

 

 

How to save up to £680 by throwing less food out

fruit and veg saver

The theme for this year’s UN World Environment Day on the 5th June: ‘Think. Eat. Save.’ is a campaign aimed at reducing the 1.3 billion tonnes of food that is wasted each year, when 1 in every 7 people in the world still go to bed hungry.

But it’s not just a problem in developing countries. In the UK we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food each year – that’s about 120kg of food each, almost a third of that is fruit and vegetables, worth about £680 – much of which could be saved.

It’s bad for the planet, and costing UK households £billions.

Here are 5 ways to waste less food and save money:

1. Stop your fruit and veg going off
Fruit and vegetables emit harmless ethylene gas as they ripen, which speeds up the rotting process – especially when kept in enclosed spaces like your fridge.
When food goes off, it’s typically thrown away, and amazingly one third of food that is grown in the UK ends up in the bin.

To help prevent this, try putting some Fruit and veg savers in your fridge, they’re small sachets that absorb ethylene gas, dramatically slowing the rate at which produce goes off, and double or tripling the storage life of fruit and vegetables.

2. Keep your fridge at the best temperature
One of the biggest reasons for food going off before it’s eaten is incorrect storage. Keeping your fridge at the optimum temperature – ie below 5 degrees Celsius – can help food to stay fresh for longer. Using a fridge thermometer can help.

3. Use your freezer more
Using your freezer is a great way to make the most of your food, especially if plans change at the last minute, or if you make too much of something. Freeze leftovers or new meals in portions to make it easier to re-use. Use a frost-free anti-ice mat to ensure that the freezer compartment doesn’t get clogged up with ice, making more space for your food (it’ll save energy too).

4. Make lists
Checking your cupboards and your fridge, and making a list before you go to the shops can help reduce the amount of food that is bought when you already have it. Remember to take the list with you! Sometimes old fashioned methods are the most effective, like hanging a kitchen chalk board somewhere obvious and writing on it each time you need something (this one’s recycled).

5. Keep your food in the right place
Many of us don’t store our food in the best place to ensure that it stays fresh for as long as possible. Bread should be kept in a cupboard or bread bin, fruit (except bananas) is best in the fridge, and potatoes should always be kept in a cool dark place.

6. Compost your leftovers
If you do have food which is going to be thrown away, try to compost it instead of putting it in the bin. This kitchen compost bin looks great and doesn’t have to be banished under the sink – use it for peelings, greens, tea bags and egg shells.

For something more heavy duty, use a Bokashi composter, it turns food ALL kitchen leftovers into odourless nutrient rich compost for the garden. This includes meat, fish, dairy products and cooked food too!

In order to protect our world, we need to do our utmost to look after what we have. Saving food from the bin is easy with a little planning, and will save you money.

Thanks to:
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Love Food Hate Waste

 
www.nigelsecostore.com/

 

How to avoid the nasty chemicals in… everything

water bottle

There was an article in the Indie today ‘Calls to ban dangerous chemicals‘ by Emily Dugan, about nasty stuff that’s in, well too many things that we use in everyday life, like toothpaste, and water bottles.

Whilst some scientists say there’s no link between these chemical ‘endocrine disruptors’ and illness, others are calling for these substances to be banned as they cause cancers, damaged immune systems and lowered fertility etc.

Here’s a handy guide to these chemicals from the Indie:

Endocrine disruptors: what they do and where they are

Triclosan
With its antibacterial properties, triclosan is a popular ingredient in toothpaste, hand wash, deodorant, cleaning products and children’s toys. Studies on animals suggest it could affect hormonal balance and the immune system. It has been found in plasma, breast milk and fish.

BPA
Bisphenol A is ubiquitous in plastic products, including food containers, medical equipment, glues, toys, furnishings and electrical equipment. It was formerly in baby care products, but has been banned in these. Linked to cancer in adults and hormone imbalances in foetuses and babies.

DEP
Used in fragrances, where it is often listed in the ingredients only as “parfum”, diethyl phthalate can also be found on medicine coatings, in cleaning products, household furnishings and food packaging. Studies on pregnant rats showed high doses affected skeletal development.

TBBPA
Used as a fire retardant in household furnishings and children’s toys, tetrabromobisphenol A is potentially toxic to the environment, with tests on fish suggesting it may affect thyroid function. It has been found in house dust, soil and the air.

OMC
Widely used in sunscreens and lip balms, octyl methoxycinnamate has been detected in breast milk as well as natural waters and aquatic life. A study of rats found that the offspring of mothers exposed to high doses during pregnancy had smaller testes and lower testosterone levels.

After the recent horse meat in food scare, more of us are paying attention to what we eat, and trying to eat less cheap processed food.

My local healthfood store reports that business has grown since the scandal.

Isn’t it about time we all said ‘no’ to nasty chemicals in the things we use too?

Things you can do about it (we’ll be updating this list from time to time).

1. Choose a BPA free drinks container, like:
Ohyo Collapsible Water Bottle
Keep Cup coffee mug

Nigel’s Eco Market, 27th August, central Brighton

Eco Market

About four weeks ago we decided to to a summer eco market in Brighton, to bring together lots of like minded sellers and makers into one place for a fantastic day of eco inspired shopping, food and fun. What a good idea.

About three weeks ago our organiser started to panic. Yes, we’d found a great venue, the Friends Meeting House in the Lanes. Yes, we had a date, the 27th of August. But suddenly visions of a huge and empty hall, with just us and our products and not much else started to loom large.

However, a bit of tweeting, phoning and emailing, and it’s starting to come together. Working out the best way to use the space was a bit of a head scratcher, now achieved. And there’s a steady trickle of interesting people and businesses who are booking a stall, and we’re working to get the word out and get people through the door.

I’m pleased to say the fantastic Girl with Beads are going to be there, as well as Ecotecture, Rummage & Riot, and lots of other great businesses
.
I’m looking forward to seeing friends of Nigel’s Eco Store, and catching up with lots of you to chat eco stuff, energy saving, solar power, or whatever else you fancy.

If you’d like a stall, there are still a few left, so drop us a line at helpme@nigelescostore.com, or give us a call on 01273 710770. We’re currently trying to find someone who can run a cafe on the day (if that’s you?)

If you’re interested in attending and need further information about the day, there’s more info here , and here’s a link to the event on Facebook.

The Big Lunch: street party with the Jones’s

3D artist Kurt Wenner unveil his latest creation inspired by The Big Lunch. The amazing artwork was revealed in London today to launch this year’s campaign and encourage neighbours to come together on Sunday July 18th 2010 in a simple act of friendship and community. Visit www.TheBigLunch.com for further information.

Here’s a question: how well do you know your neighbours? As I write this I realise that I don’t actually know many of my neighbours by face, let alone by name, which feels pretty shocking.

Apparently around a third of people in the UK live alone, and loneliness is a growing problem. It seems that it’s become easier to meet people online, but sometimes you really need a realtime connection, like when disaster strikes and you desperately need an emergency cat sitter/plant waterer/sympathetic ear. A new best friend could be living next door, and you’d never know it!

Hence the Big Lunch on Sunday 18th July. Think of it as lunch, with your neighbours, in the street. The best part of a million people did it last year. It’s a nice way to get neighbours together over food, music, games and fun.

Sounds like a cracking idea to me.

If you’re so inclined you could make it an eco-themed street party. Recycled fabric makes colourful bunting, and the sounds could be provided by a low carbon, bicycle powered PA system. There are heaps of ideas on the Big Lunch website on how to get started, and why not check out our range of bits and pieces for al fresco dining, and wind up and solar radios and speakers (if you’re lucky with the weather). Or just ask around and get a band together – there could be all kinds of talent on your street.

Have you ever thrown a street party for your neighbours, or taken part in one? Was it a roaring success, or an awkward, dismal failure. Are we worse off flying solo, or should lone rangers be left to their own devices, and not be forced to socialise against their will? Let us know what you think in the comments.

(Thanks to the Big Lunch for the image, full size available on Flickr.)

Let them eat cake… 86,000 tonnes of it

food-waste-freeganism.jpg

A friend who lives in Wales is telling me about Freeganism, which involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket bins. It reminds me of the time I visited a different friend who used to live on a houseboat on the Thames. One of her neighbours, ‘Mad’ Pierre, who rumour had it, had been hit by an electro magnet, would tromp the canal path with food he had found in the bin of the local supermarket, distributing it to the local houseboat community.

At the time I thought this was quite odd, but the food was perfectly fine, and edible, albeit slightly past its sell by date and my friend said it supplemented her supper pretty well. It was only when I was told by my Welsh friend of how he raided the bins of his local supermarket that I thought back to Mad Pierre. Was he, electro magnets aside, a bit of a visionary? A forerunner of a growing trend of Freeganism?

The important thing to note about Freeganism is that it is not a last resort, forced by desperate measures, but a considered means of rescuing discarded food and products that would otherwise just end up in landfill. It does not only provide the seemingly impossible free lunch but has a moral and ethical slant to it. It’s a political act. A choice by educated professional types who’re making a statement about having a non-consumerist lifestyle.

And you can see their point. As an example of how crazy this world we live in can be, a huge amount of fresh, edible, food (not to mention other items) is discarded by all the supermarket chains every day. Bread alone accounts for 505,000 tonnes of it a year, whilst the cakes and puddings they throw out account for 86,000 tonnes.

In a time of famine relief, the credit crunch, food miles and carbon reductions it seems total madness that such a huge amount of usable and edible produce should just end up in the bin. Items are thrown out for a variety of reasons – many of them questionable: they can be soiled, past sell by dates, a shop return, in damaged packing, or a promotional offer that has simply ended. Some supermarkets even make it difficult to take their rubbish by pouring blue dye or bleach over the bin, or by erecting razor wire fencing, securing padlocks and employing security men. So much for ‘helping us to spend less every day’, as one nameless supermarket likes to tell us.

For more information on Freeganism and to find a group in your area see freegan.org.uk. If you feel like having a go, Bin Appetit!

Join in the Food Harvest

There are plans afoot. Real plans aimed at tackling climate change by getting us to become more local. Which means in the future we could all be taking local holidays, growing our own food, and generating our own energy.

Last week at a Transition Town meeting in Brighton, I discovered Harvest Brighton & Hove – a council supported 20-year plan to grow a lot of food sustainably within the city. This includes growing food in public parks, areas of empty land around housing estates and container gardening on balconies.

I was really inspired by the idea of food growing in every park and garden, and wondered if other towns and cities have similar plans. (Anyone?)

And if you want to start growing more of your own food right now, you don’t necessarily need a big garden, and it’ll save you money and energy and cut your carbon footprint. To help, we have an expanding range of grow your own products for small spaces and gardens.

A magazine that rocks

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Running the store, it’s sometimes hard to get a moment to write the blog. Should you come here looking for a new update and find nothing new to read, can I nudge you instead towards Rocks Magazine? It’s a Brighton-based online magazine that describes itself as a “eco-ethical and Mind Body and Spirit magazine.” It’s run by the inestimable Sarah Lewis. Years ago, when I ran an ethical lifestyle magazine, Sarah was one of the journalists on the title.

These days she goes from strength to strength. Last year she was deservedly named the Environmental Journalist of the Year at the London and South East England media awards. There’s a great article up right now about the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, a local initiative to try and persuade more individuals and organisations like schools to become involved in growing their own food.

The return of the kitchen garden

This summer – if we can dare call it a summer yet – I’m noticing how many people are planting vegetables out in their gardens. There’s a house near me that has packed its front garden full of onions, cabbages, beans, potatoes and tomatoes – even sweetcorn. And for my money the results look much nicer than most of Hove’s cooler gardens, packed as they are full of strangely pointy architectural plants. It looks so lush compared to most of the more austere designer gardens of the moment.

Now I’m a flat-dweller, so this isn’t a phenonomenon I’m included in on, but something is definitely going on here. People are digging up their lawns and planting courgettes instead, or raising chickens. There’s a kind of chic Blitz spirit at large among us among us. Partly it’s rising food prices, partly it’s the ultimate way to go local and fresh, but either way the kitchen garden is making a big comeback and I’m all for it.

And here, at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, is a prime example the new DIY veg zeitgeist. It’s the Daylesford Organic “Summer Solstice” Garden designed by Del Buono Gazerwitz Ltd. They describe it as:

An organic agrarian garden, linking a green wheat field flanked by native trees and wetland ditching, to a sheltered potager for the new century. Kitchen garden becomes ????garden kitchen??€???? with an architectural green-roofed building where what is grown is prepared for dining outside. The planting is native and naturalised, and seasonal for the solstice. The garden is intended to demonstrate that the demands of organic practice, conservation, sustainability and self-sufficiency can be strengths, not limitation, in contemporary design.

As soon as they scale it down for window boxes, I’ll I’ll join in.

Thanks to Hichako for the photograph of parsley, and myurbanfarm.com and ecohappy for the tip.

Paper moon

Paperpod rocket

I was pleased to see nigelsecostore.com getting a mention for this one in yesterday’s Observer. I started out by stocking the kind of items that appealed to me. As time’s gone on, I’m trying to add more items for the whole family – like the Paperpod Rocket.

Actually, thinking about it, this one does appeal to me too. I’d just need a bigger one. But it’s nice that people are noticing the new stuff at the store.

It’s also nice to see cardboard used for something apart from packaging. On a packaging-related note, I also noticed over the weekend while browsing Eco-Worrier that WRAP, an organisation dedicated to maximising recycling and minimising landfill, have launched a new consumer site called Love Food Hate Waste.

It’s calculated that a third of the food we buy, we throw away. Throwing away 6.7 million tonnes of food every year – mostly into landfill – is not one of the smartest habits of modern living. OK, some of that’s inevitable, like potato peelings and cabbage stalks – but most of it is because we buy too much food, cook too large portions and store it inefficiently at home.

The site has a number of whizzy interactive sections to help us manage our households in a more eco-friendly way. Ever keen, I tried it out. How many potatoes would I need, I asked, to feed two adults and two children?

The answer:

You chose to serve mash potatoes for 2 adults and 2 children, so you need:
6 heaped tablespoons

Needs a little work, still, possibly.

Or maybe I’ve just been cooking my potatoes wrong all these years.

Biofuels make cereal cost more

The fundamental problem with biofuels is already making an impact.

The Soil Association issued their annual report at the weekend during their Organic Food Festival in Bristol. Their director of food and farming Helen Browning noted an increasing shortage of organic cereals. She blames it on rising prices for soya, maize and grain created by America’s new hunger for biofuels.

The knock-on is already with us. The high prices paid for fuel crops is obliterating the organic sector. She has a real concern that organic meat suppliers are simply not going to be able to afford to feed their livestock in the coming months. The price of organic meat is going to have to rise.

In the meantime, this week is the first half of Organic Food Fortnight in the UK… the good news is that the market for organic food boxes has grown by 53%.

The photogenic organic bullocks on a farm in East Anglia were photographed by Lenny Montana.

How big is your fridge?

I read this on Grist. A reader of the American environment news site watches British sit coms like As Time Goes By and Keeping Up Appearances. He has noticed how small British fridges are compared to US ones. He wonders something along the lines of, are American fridges the Sports Utility Vehicles of the white goods world? Are titchy British under-counter fridges better than humungous American ones? Personally I would worry about any American who takes his eco-tips from British sit coms.

It’s a bit like trying to get cookery tips from Fawlty Towers, isn’t it?

(Grist makes the sensible reply that there is nothing necessarily efficient about size with fridges. All that matters is that it’s got a great energy-efficiency rating.)

If you’re concerned about the energy consumption of your own fridge, check out the clever and energy saving Savaplug… just one of the many things we sell in our great shop!

Photo by afsheen.