JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blogging for positive change

I am extremely flattered and surprised to have been nominated by Amanda of Figs Olives Wine as a Blogger for Positive Global Change - it's a joint nomination with Ilva of Lucullian Delights, a pat on the back for Heart of the Matter, the blog we started together earlier this year.

The idea of Heart of the Matter is simple - each month, people contribute heart-healthy recipes on a theme - this month it's fish. That way, we build up a resource of delicious recipes for people with heart disease, people watching their cholesterol, people worried about their genetic inheritance. It's beginning to come together - and I know that it's something I would have found hugely helpful after my husband had a heart attack two years ago.

When I first began this blog, my ambition was modest - I wanted a means of keeping track of the food I was cooking (it was changing all the time, still is to some extent), and a means of sharing it with friends who saw the benefits the new diet were bringing to us, and wanted details. Gradually - does this sound familiar? - I turned into a blogger ... more frequent posts, more photographs, more engagement with the blogospere - and re-thinking a lot of my attitudes to food and the world at large.

I have come to see - I hope this doesn't sound pretentious or pompous - that what is sustainable personally is often sustainable globally ... the best example of this, the only one I am going to give now, is what happens when people decide to eat more vegetables. It's good for the individual - better heart-health, good protection from other diseases including cancer, more vitamins, huge feeling of well-being (bordering on smugness) if you grow even some of them yourself. Etcetera. And all this is good for the planet: it is fantastically wasteful to eat meat - vegetable matter has to be grown to feed to the animals before their protein can be fed to us. I'm not advocating that we all become vegetarian ... but eating more vegetables is a positive change in our diet AND a step in the right direction for the globe. And once you start thinking like that - well, the next thing I did was to start growing a few (really very few), and to stop buying any food that has been air-freighted (who wants to eat food with jet lag?).

I am a real beginner on this road. I started this blog in order to help me keep track of what I was learning. I have found that it is a useful tool in keeping me learning - I read other people's ideas, I think hard about what we're doing because I'm regularly explaining it.

Some of the very best blogs that have helped me on this journey have already been nominated for this meme ... but here, in random order, are five that are doing good work, that I hope you will find as interesting as I do:

1. The Cottage Smallholder, who no longer buys supermarket flowers. This may sound like a small change, but it's an increasing problem, as most are airfreighted, many from Kenya: it's something we'd do well to think about seriously. If you've got a garden, it can be done, just take a look at this lovely jug of flowers. If you haven't got a garden, well, you could try talking to the manager of your supermarket about how the flowers get there. Stumbling self-sufficiency is a small space - it's always an interesting read.

2. Mike's Allotment Diary has a wonderful address: surelythisisn'tinteresting. But it is, Mike, it is. The first time I visited, I laughed out loud at his title page: this diary is really for my own benefit as I can never remember when I've sown/dug/harvested anything and it always annoys me when Monty Don mentions that he harvested his first sweetcorn of the year 20 minutes earlier in 1976. The deeper I've got into blogging, the more I find I no longer need mainstream media for information - if you're new to veg growing and you don't have an allotment, Mike is the experienced gardener you need for useful tips and pointers. Who needs Monty Don? Can't remember the last time I watched Gardener's World.

3. David Hall at Book the Cook teaches children how to cook healthy food. He writes about that, and also about how he feeds his own young family. His blog is full of infectious enthusiasm and good recipes - check out this vegetarian Turlu Turlu, definitely a keeper. I'm always pleased when BtC is bold in my feed reader.

4. I'm amazed to find that no-one has yet nominated A Year in Bread ... this is a collaborative blog by three experienced bakers, Susan, Beth and Kevin. They take a topic each month, and post their own take on it, often contradictory, always interesting. Baking is soothing in itself (personally sustainable), and globally sustainable - less plastic bags, very likely less trips to the shops, almost certainly using flour from a more local source.

5. Janelle at Brown Bag Blues is full of ideas for healthy packed lunches - she's keen to educate children into eating well, using wit (I seem to remember an entirely pink day for her daughter) and sound nutrition. Although I don't have to make daily packed lunches, I've used lots of her ideas as a starting point for picnics, and indeed for meals in my kitchen.

Should they wish, nominees may now proudly display the BPGC badge on their blogs. If any nominees have someone in mind that they’d like to nominate in turn, just be sure to pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging.

The participation rules are simple:

1. When you get tagged, write a post with links to up to 5 blogs that you think are trying to change the world in a positive way.
2. In your post, make sure you link back to this post at Climate of our Future so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you’re tagging, so they know they’re now part of the meme.
4. Optional: Proudly display the “Bloggers For Positive Global Change” award badge with a link to the post that you write up.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

It really does all start with one.
Certainly Heart of the Matter is more than enough to qualify you and Ilva for Blogger for Positive Global Change! Well deserved!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oops, and thank for the links. All look interesting and I'll check them out.

kitchenmage said...

Thanks for naming us at A Year in Bread for this. We have been so gratified at the response to our bready insanity.

Anonymous said...

You and Ilva definitely deserve a nomination for your Heart of the Matter blog - it's such a great idea and resource!

Nice to hear about a few blogs I didn't know about too

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Congratulations again Joanna! I'm really looking forward to checking out your nominees, and thanks again for HotM!

Cottage Smallholder said...

Than you so much for including me on your list Joanna. Much appreciated.

Pomiane said...

Although a frequent visitor to your site, and therefore familiar with your strapline, I hadn't until now read your post about what happened last July and what prompted you to begin the blog. You write about it movingly, and I applaud the fact that you decided to share it in such a positive way. Thank you! You'll know only too well from the frequent references I make to cream and butter (amongst others) that I'm not exactly on the same trip - but I entirely respect what you are doing in your approach, and wish you all the best with it!

Joanna said...

Thank you Pomiane - it means a lot coming from someone whose approach is so similar to mine, but with added cream and butter! I'm always filled with awe at your menus - I'm afraid I can't do that Pomiane thing of getting three courses to table, I only ever seem to be able to do the concentrate on one dish bit!


David Hall said...

Hi Joanna

I'm flattered for such words, thank you. But it is people like you who really are making a change through the need for change after a near tragedy. I'm just following my passion. A bonus to me following my passion via a Blog is getting to know guys like yourselves. It is a real pleasure to speak with you all and share knowledge, it is something I will always cherish and I am so happy that I started it.

Keep up the good work and thanks again.


Joanna said...

David, that's just how I feel about blogging, and when I started out I had no idea at all that that was how it would be ... and then of course there's the food!