All posts by Tracey West

The Staff of Life…according to The Real Bread Campaign

Bread RollsAs this week (7-13 May) is Real Bread Maker Week, we at the Real Bread
Campaign have penned this open letter to all of Britain’s doughmongers.

Whether making a loaf for yourself and family, baking as a professional, or sharing bread recipes and skills with other people now or later in the year, we have some questions that you might like to ponder:

Is there any need to use fast-acting / instant yeast?

Dried active yeast (usually sold in cylindrical tins) is much cheaper than sachets, widely available, just as convenient – even in bread machines if added with the water, will keep in the fridge for months, and, unlike most brands of the instant stuff, contains no artificial additives. Or you could get your mitts on the fresh stuff.

Square Foot Gardening

squarefootgardeningHaven’t got a garden? Think you need acres of space to grow anything? Not so says Frugal Dad. Read on for all the details! Prices are in US $, but if you think the same in UK £ you should come in well under budget! ($50 is approximately £31)

Organic Bread Talks & Demos in Lyme Regis

Bread RollsBeing able to cook using fresh ingredients is one of the cornerstones for  successful downshifting and being able to knock up a simple loaf is a fabulously frugal feather in your cap.

Getting to grips with dough and all of it’s quirks is far easier to do than you might have thought and on Bank Holiday Monday, I’ll be teaching as many people as I can to do just that.

I’m giving three interactive talks and demonstrations at The Town Mill in beautiful Lyme Regis and for four of your good English pounds, you can come along and listen to my essential How To’s.

Here’s the text from my poster – come along if you can!

Have You Secured a Place in My Green Directory?

media packThere are only a handful of great causes and business I give my full support and energy to and My Green Directory is undoubtedly one of them.

Created by the eco-whirlwind that is Sue Jueno, it’s an absolutely amazing directory (yes, proper paper stuff) and a portal of a website too, see MyGreenDirectory.info for details.

Today is the last day for you to get your sustainable living business into what is going to be known as the Green Yellow Pages…here are the full details, as received in their newsletter earlier this morning

Be there, or be very unsquare…

Somerset’s Incredibly Edible Allotments

Incredible EdibleThere is a growing interest, please pardon the pun, in keeping allotments in the south west and currently, there are 150 eager green-fingered souls on a waiting list in the South Somerset District alone.

I happened across news in today’s newsletter from the Incredible Edible Somerset team and thought you might be interested to hear about a skill sharing event that could be replicated and with a bit of help and a good wind behind you, could laid on anywhere in the country.

If you have a passion for growing and are involved in your local green scene, consider pulling together local experts from your patch to help and inspire others near you.

Are You Feeling the Pressure to Spend Up?

moneyIf you’re feeling the pressure from work colleagues or family to tread the mill and bring home more bacon than you care to shake a stick at, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

There’s an abominable pressure thrust at us from almost every angle of the visual and audible media, telling us that consuming is good and the only way to sustain the spend up lifestyle is by working your trotters off.

Consumption is necessary for society to remain upright and to continue to function well, so many say, but ‘I’ say, that our consumption would do well to be looked at, re-evaluated in every sense of the word and changed if we are to survive as a global economy filled with more sustainable communities, which in my view, holds the key to the success of us all.

But bucking the trend is hard and can be terrifying when we’re surrounded by souls that simply don’t get the urgent need for change.

Purses Pinch and Plant Based Eating Rises

Delicious sausages in flatbreadsConsumption of more fresh fruit and veg is on the upturn according to a recent survey done by Alpro*, who claim to be ‘proud pioneers of plant-based eating’ creating plant-based yogurts, drinks and desserts for over 30 years.

According to their results, the power of plant-based eating is a fast-growing trend. In fact, four out of 10 of us are eating more vegetables, fruits and plant-based foods than we were a year ago. And six out of 10 of us are eating more of these types of foods than we were five years ago.

Downshifting Week Makes it to the PEAs!

PEA AwardsThe People and Environment Achievement Awards are now in their second year and making quite an impact on the green-scene.

I attended the inaugral event last year, which was hosted at The National Geographic Store in London and the buzz was intense to say the least.

Azul-Valerie PEAsHere am I and my dear friend, Community Award category winner Azul-Valerie Thome, as she proudly hoists up her chic green glass trophy.

She’s standing to the right of Maddy and Tim Harland, creators and of the most excellent read, Permaculture Magazine and this year, Maddy is a finalist in the Entrepreneur
 of 
the 
Year
 category,
 honouring
 an
 individual
 who
 has
 come
 up
 with
 the
 best
 new
 enterprise,
 venture
 or
 business 
idea 
based
 around
 greener 
thinking.

I am also in great company with another couple of committed eco-chums. In the coveted Community Interest Company awards, the inspirational Trudy Thompson is featured, she is creator of the Bricks and Bread Sustainable Living Centre in Hampshire and the Schools Award finds the incredible Karen Ford, founder of Footprint Friends Foundation and creator of the Wipe Out Waste Awards, which I’ve been lucky enough to be a judge for.

I am up for Campaigner of the Year with my little Downshifting Week and opportunist promotion of sustinable living in my writing and broadcasting and I sit proudly alongside another good friend, the incredible Polly Higgins, pegged as the ‘Lawyer for the Planet’, also well respected author of Eradicating Ecocide who tirelessly raises awareness of the importance of living simply.

Yours slowly,

Tx

Top Tips from Tracey

Ten Top Downshifting Tips from Tracey
Ditch the pre-packed options and cook from fresh.
There’s no doubt about it, you ‘can’ buy very cheap ready-meals these days, but the nutritional value, the overall quality and the taste cannot be compared to doing it from fresh! If you’re short of time, double up the ingredients and freeze half for another meal and be sure to use up leftovers in creative new dishes for the next day; soup offers a great way of getting started with this.
Buy your staples in larger packs.
Pasta, rice and porridge oats are perfect examples and you’ll also cut down your shopping trips too. If it’s just too much to store in your cupboard, split your bulk buys with a friend or neighbour.

Downshifting Week 2011 – Day One

The southwest
After much procrastination, I finally set off today with a handful of index cards, a diary, a video camera and a little pot of glitter – there ‘has’ to be glitter.

I hadn’t put off my departure, more like my departure time just kept shifting, as the phone kept ringing and the emails just kept pinging into the box…but isn’t that the way it is most days…
We have to learn how to flick the ‘Off’ button – from the computer and occasionally, from life.
I’d spent far too long trying to nail down every moment of the forthcoming 10 days and it seemed the more I moved forward, the more I kept being dragged back.
The media appointments have been tricky to fit in around my visits to brilliant downshifters and I’ve had to bend with the wind to accommodate them, but they’ve put more than a few spanners in my well oiled works.