We know that food has a big impact on the climate and we all need to adopt more climate-friendly diets.  The Community Good Food Network event held on 12th May focused on two approaches that aim to give people lots of opportunity to try new foods and eat seasonally.

Dr Sean Beer (senior academic, Bournemouth University) and Emma Mould (Food Newcastle Coordinator) joined our May Community Good Food Network Event to talk about their take on climate friendly diets.

Sean’s background in agriculture has shaped his understanding of the food system and his approach to adopting more climate-friendly diets have a real focus on the unintended consequences of the choices we make.  For example, industrial agricultural approaches developed post-war responding to the real threat of long-term food shortages have impacted negatively on soil health, flooding and antibiotic resistance.  A link to an article Sean wrote about seasonal eating is here.

Emma told us about Newcastle-based social enterprise Food Nation’s approach to providing meal kits to the local community.  The project makes healthy nutritious meal kits available to everyone, including those supported by emergency food providers and private customers.  They share similar challenges to many County Durham projects including balancing cost, nutritional standards and climate concerns, whilst respecting existing food cultures within the community so they focus on subtle nudges, for example substituting some meat for pulses, providing lots of veg based recipes and providing information about where the food comes from. This enables people to try new foods and also recognise great quality, affordable local produce on their doorstep.

The following group discussion considered ideas around power and control within the food industry and how we can disrupt that through relatively small actions such as community food and growing projects.  It also highlighted some of the challenges around accessing seasonal or more climate friendly foods in County Durham, where relatively little commercial fruit and veg production exists at the moment.  Thanks to everyone who took part.