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Here is to a more sustainable Christmas!

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The UN Convention estimates that, in terms of biodiversity, there are around 13 million different species in this planet, however according to the FAO 75% of world’s food production is based on only 12 plants and 5 animal species.

Industrial agricultural goods, highly processed and convenient foods are found everywhere and slowly detaching people from the real meaning of food. Our respect for food must be regained. Slow Food campaigns for people to take ownership of own food choices and opt for quality & taste and support local small food producers and farmers.

In time of festivities, it can be quite hectic and sometimes difficult to buy local and seasonal food last minute. So I asked Slow Food Scotland Chef Alliance member and award winning Chef Neil Forbes, for his top tips for a tasty, local and seasonal Christmas home family feast. Here is what he said:

“Who can believe it is Christmas already, the years really do fly by and it’s so important to get on top of your shopping, preparation and make the time with your loved ones much less stressful. Here is what I would recommend:

Firstly, buy your bird and order it in advance; but if there is only a few of you think about a really good chicken, organic and local of course and order it now, Grierson’s organic are great and Gartmorn farm are also excellent. Hams are integral on a table and can last for days, go to Peelham farm at the farmers market or order on line. Veg wise I would so recommend you sign up for a veg box from either Phantassie organics or East Coast Organics so it will entice you to use different and local and seasonal veg. Lastly, I would suggest to write a menu of days that you need to be organised and a prep list for all the dishes you are cooking. But as always keep it simple, local and easy, we all work so hard through the year, so don’t feel you have to show off too much, and ask for help. But drink fizz and most importantly enjoy your Christmas as much as you want others to enjoy theirs.”

In 2017 Slow Food launched #Menuforchange campaign to increase awareness of climate change and food. Food, as it is produced at the moment, is contributing to the increased carbon emissions, and one of the Slow Food recommendations is to reduce meat consumption. How would a meat-free Christmas meal look like? I asked Slow Food Chef Alliance member Alison Henderson for her take on this:

At Christmas, shop locally for winter veg for sustaining Winter vegetable soups – Jerusalem Artichoke; Carrot & Parsnip; Neep & Tattie; Beetroot; Celeriac; Potato & Leek.” – Sounds delicious, Alison! How about a vegetarian showstopper dish? – I asked and she said: “So many delicious vegetarian main course dishes that could wow your guests: Turtle Bean, Aubergine and Leek chilli with a Lime sour cream; Vegetable goulash or spice things up with a Cauliflower & potato curry.”

Slow Food Scotland welcomes the support from the Slow Food Chef Alliance with this message of a more sustainable Christmas. As Bob Donald – Slow Food Scotland Coordinator commented: “Our Chef Alliance members deliver on a plate the Slow Food values of good, clean and fair food by actively championing small scale producers and promoting good quality, local and sustainably produced products.”

Whatever you are planning to do during this festive season, think of ways to make it a bit more sustainable than the year before. One small change from each of us can make a huge impact: buying local vegetables and meat will reduce food miles and support local farmers; planning meals ahead and using leftovers will reduce food waste; opting for a meat-free Christmas could bring vegetables, nuts and pulses to the centrepiece and taste just as delicious!

We have only this planet to live in, let’s take care of it.

Vivian Maeda, Slow Food Scotland Chef Alliance Coordinator








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