Friday, 15 March 2013

Food Waste Friday - Feed the birds

Yesterday I watched Trashed. The movie (which follows Jeremy Irons as he journeys to different countries to witness the impact that our waste is having globally) is frightening, shocking and heart rending in equal measure. I'll be coming back to it in future blog posts.

The morning after Trashed, I'm gradually coming round from my despair in the face of such enormous environmental challenges. The message from Karen Cannard of the Rubbish Diet, who introduced the film and answered questions at the end, was clear; "Think big, start small", (aka "Think global, act local"). Don't let the enormity of the big picture dissuade you from tackling the little things.

And so the show goes on...Food Waste Friday rides again. The smallest of small things, but if it reminds us to make the best use of our resources, I hope it's worth sharing. Here goes...

This week was our attempt at Zero Waste week, as part of the final Slim Your Bin fling - we were extra nervous about food waste. Happily there's certainly no food waste in the bin. Hurrah! 

But there was food waste. Remember the porridge cake? (My unsuccessful attempt to reuse leftover porridge in a cake...) The frozen remnants reared their ugly head again as an emergency dessert, but it really was no more appetising the second time around.



Porridge cake and banana muffins left, and bird seed (for a balanced diet) right.


The up side is that we have hardly ever had Black Caps in the garden before, but boy, do they love porridge cake and mouldy banana muffins! A female Black Cap has virtually single-handedly scoffed the whole lot. It's just the thing for putting yourself in peak condition before migrating to Central Europe and nesting! Honestly. After her first meal of porridge cake, I worried that the dense stodginess of it might cause her to thud to the ground and be unable to flutter her delicate little wings and fly away. But she is a picture of health and vitality, like this one (I can't get such good close-ups with my camera).






As I looked at the sparrows out there this morning in my post-Trashed state, feeding the birds seemed another painfully 'small thing' to be doing, just like accounting for my food waste, in the face of environmental catastrophe. (Granny, what did you do to save the planet? Well dear, I tried not to waste a crumb of food, ever, and I always fed the birds...). If we lose our sense of awe, wonder, and respect for the natural world (or the big picture) that's on our own doorsteps, then surely we really are doomed.



My 'Free gift' sprout packaging - these sprouts were definitely grown with love...


The second food waste disaster was some beloved bean sprouts. Last summer some 'free gift' sprouts came in the veg box which reminded me about bean sprout growing. After some rather damp smelling, sprout growing attempts in a jam jar, I splashed out on a sprouter and have since had lots of success growing them; they provide easy and cheap green freshness, even in the depths of winter. Sadly the latest lot went from being seeds to mouldy sprouts before I'd even noticed. I'm embarrassed at my lack of conscious awareness...





But we are all interconnected in this cycle of life - the really mouldy ones were composted and the salvageable ones went to my other favourite birds, the chickens, and I wasn't downhearted. A new lot of sprouts has been started and I promise I'll nurture them better this time.

Any food waste successes in your house this week!?

15 comments:

  1. This week I wasted half a red onion that I was saving to make a little coleslaw. The outer few leaves of my white cabbage were also looking a bit dodgie so I stripped them off, fed them to the chick and the cabbage lives on for another few days.

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  2. I'm wondering if I put out some dense porridge cake, will I get more birds?

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    1. Well I don't think I'd risk trying it...you already get a good variety from what I see on your blog!

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  3. I have just discovered your lovely blog, and am still laughing about all your local birds unable to take off due to excess porridge..
    I am trying to be very good with not wasting food, but my daughter did find a pot of mouldy yoghurt in the back of the fridge this morning. I think my fridge is responsible for most of my food waste..

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    1. Thanks Jo. We've had several run ins with mouldy yogurt since we've been participating in Food Waste Friday, and several problems with the fridge hiding food...Thanks for commenting because it means I've now discovered your lovely blog too!

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  4. Hi Sarah.
    I loved your line about Mummy what did you do to save the planet? But don't despair. Trashed was quite scary viewing, but the solutions are so simple, and cities like San Francisco are proving that it can be done. We need people like you to show the way, and if everyone did just a little bit, it would make a huge difference.
    On the subject of food waste, I have 2 'things' of what I think is chicory (came in the veg box) looking at me in the fridge-coleslaw? Or something else..?!

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    1. My bottom line is always that if we do end up trashing the planet completely I want to be able to say that I did my bit to prevent it...Part of the solution is definitely that we just have to stop consuming so much in the first place and your MDAMY is showing the way on that front . As for the chicory, I never do anything exciting with it, it's quite flavourful as it is.

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  5. Hi,

    We are trying to reduce our bin too. Any food waste is composted but I really dislike all the packaging that comes with the food. I wish they would use less. I try to buy lose when I can.

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    1. Having done the Slim Your Bin project it's highlighted that food packaging makes up most of our non-recyclable waste and it's difficult to avoid it. As consumers we probably need to work harder at persuading the retailers that we don't want it.

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  6. I am looking forward to when I can view Trashed. I am guessing it will leave me with similar reactions as Earthlings did. I too am struggling more with the packaging wastes than wasting food. I have realized since my refrigerator died and I decided to see what living without one would be like that I have much less waste. Yes, even in a small fridge I lost track of somethings until they were barely recognizable.

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    1. As I commented above food waste is a big problem. I hope you get to see Trashed - it is sensationalist in places but really highlights the problems that disposing of our waste, especially plastics, creates.

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  7. Hi, I've found your blog via Jen at Mymakedoandmendyear where I leave rather long comments...

    I'm trying to get Trashed shown in Banbury at the moment- I think that's the only way I'll get to see it.

    Food waste is my weak point (it gets composted or fed to the dogs or chickens, but...) I was pleased with myself today- I made leftover spaghetti Bolognese (sauce and pasta) into a frittata (sounds terrible- this actually works really well) including rinsing out the last dregs of pesto with a bit of milk. Topped with grated cheese and finished under the grill and served with coleslaw made from cabbage that really needed to be used up and with the last of my homemade mayo ( http://wellpreserved.ca/how-to-make-mayonnaise-in-30-seconds-or-less/ ) in the dressing. If only it always worked out like that...

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    1. Welcome Hazel - feel free to stop by and leave long comments here any time you like! Good luck with getting Trashed shown in your area and well done on the incredible food save!

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  8. I've also had problems with sprouts - I tried to sprout some coriander seeds, but they refused to sprout (maybe they'd been treated with something) and ended up just going mouldy. I also tend to forget to eat them once they're in the fridge! I guess you had some lucky birds this week :)

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