BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson is encouraging the public to eat only food they know the origin of for one week as part of the Live Happerley Challenge.
Happerley is an organisation which works to ensure shoppers know the journey of their food. Businesses which join the network publish their entire food supply chain, right back to primary producers, providing full transparency for consumers.
Other celebrities taking part in the challenge include ‘Baker Boy’ Henry Herbert and MTV’s Melissa Reeves, who starred in popular TV show Ex On The Beach.
The challenge, which kicks off on Monday February 26, has been designed to show how little shoppers know about where food comes from and how difficult it is to consume only food and drink which can be traced back to seed or birth.
Matthew Rymer, founding director of Happerley, said: “Consumers still ask too few questions on where the ingredients in their food originate from.
“Too often they are rewarding marketing, packaging and disingenuous labelling instead.
“We hope this challenge will capture the public’s imagination and create a wiser consumer who challenges, for example, a restaurant which says ‘local beef’ to actually name the farm.”
Plan your week and your days.
Do not leave it to what is available in the here and now. Use your fridge and freezer.
Ask lots of questions
Read the ingredients label before buying anything. Wherever the words ‘fresh, ‘farm’ or ‘local’ are used, ask for the name of the farm.
Identify provenance suppliers for your food staples and stock up
Visit your nearest food markets and farm shops, but even then, challenge them to name the farm. You may be surprised how few can. You may need to use Google to find local or online suppliers.
For pasta, rice and sauces
Try Seggiano for pasta, Real Basmati Rice Company for rice or Mr Organic for tinned tomatoes, sauces and snacking.
Buy your bread from an artisan bakery like Hobbs. There often over 40 ingredients in bread, but it only takes a handful of ingredients to make it!
If you do decide to bake your own, buy flour from companies such as Wessex Mill.
For meat and fish
Be a detective. Do not be fooled by fake farm brands or fish from fictitious places like ‘Lochmuir’. With meat, too many butchers and restaurants use the word ‘local’ to refer to the source, not the origin. Never ask where food is from, ask them to #namethefarm.
For milk and eggs
Source your milk from local dairies who can name the farm. Chicken meat production is now highly commoditised, but you should still be able to source eggs from a named farm.
For fruit and vegetables
Nutritional values wear off with food miles, and so does any means of knowing the origin beyond a country. Research what is in season and reasonably local, and rediscover the thrill of seasonal produce. Try online too - garlic from The Garlic Farm, for example.
Cook simply and create leftovers
Create dishes which last, like casseroles and vegetable bakes. Keep it simple - let the ingredients sing!
Plan for your addictions, habits and treats
No excuses here thanks to growth in artisan beers and distilleries like Chase.
Try having it just once a week and it turns into a big treat. There are strong environmental reasons for eating less chocolate, but if you want to know where the beans were grown, try Chocolarder.
Stock up now. For coffee, try Ethical Coffee, and for tea try Golden Monkey Tea.
This becomes very difficult and you will need to compromise where necessary - but always ask the questions! Try to at least know the origins of the main ingredient on your plate.