Friday, February 5, 2010

Plant a Nut Tree to Save The Planet

photo by William Gray Harris

Well, maybe not to save the planet, but it definitely helps. Totnes is overflowing with vegetarians and my guess is because the  people who live in and around Totnes are all very connected with their surroundings. Most buy groceries from Riverford, a farm just a 30 minute bike ride away. A recent report entitled "Can Britian Feed Itself"  on the Transition Towns website discusses that there is simply not enough land for every town to feed itself. The land required to raise cattle and sheep - delicious as they are - retracts from the ability for a town to grown enough food to eat locally.

Eating locally is now considered superior to organic for a number of reasons: local food may also be organic but may not have the expenses to pay for the designation and local food is not shipped to you by polluting trucks ( lorries) and planes. Does it not seem backwards that someone would pay for organic olive oil from Italy, and have the heavy glass bottle flown to one location and then trucked to another just to avoid pesticides? Eating locally is delicious, nutritious and sustainable - as long as everyone eats a variety and in moderation.

Tomorrow I will be volunteering in Bridgetown with a group of locals and together we are going to spend the day planting nut trees in green spaces around the town. We will also get a demonstration of how to prune the trees that were planted last year. Hopefully it doesn't rain.

We will be planting nut trees so that there is a  sustainable protein source in the future.  Walnut trees can take up to 20 years to bare fruit if they are not properly pruned in the summer, but it is reassuring to think that the Totnes population is thinking that far ahead.

100 grams of walnuts provides 24 grams of protein, 59g of fat (91% of your daily recommended allowance) and 10 grams of carbohydrates ( 7 grams of which are fibre). For complete protein they should be eaten with tofu or eggs.

Neither Britain nor Canada will be able to provide enough locally grown food for the population if everyone continues to eat so much. I am not promoting vegetarianism as the only way to live - I was a vegetarian for 13 years but I love meat too much to give it up now - but be aware of how much meat you eat and how often. The Canadian Food Guide recommends women and men aged 19-50 years old consume 2 and 3 servings respectively of meat and/or alternatives per day.

Examples of ONE SERVING:
  • - 2 tbsp/ 30ml of peanut butter ( real peanut butter, not Skippy)
  • - 2 eggs
  • -3/4 cup/175 ml cooked lentils
  • -75 g (2 ½ oz) / 1/2 cup cooked chicken or cooked beef or cooked fish/shellfish

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