For our soil's sake, choose local, seasonal, regeneratively-farmed
~ the monthly gather ~
Regenuary: what's the big deal?
Hey there, gatherer. We're back and giving something new a go this January: Regenuary.
It's the latest eating movement and it's all about championing the soil. Think less about the nitty-gritty of what you eat - be that sausages or tofu - and more how your food's been grown. Industrial agriculture's super damaging: soil and water pollution, toxins, antimicrobial resistance... yikes. It's a big player in global carbon emissions. And it's killing our soil.
Looking after our soil should be a no-brainer. It's our life source, teeming with super bacteria that store, feed and recycle carbon into nutrients fuelling our crops. It's safe to say, though, our poor soil's feeling tired, depleted and in need of some serious TLC. The answer: regenerative farming.
In a nutshell, it's farming that interferes with the ground as little as poss, focusing on rejuvenation and restoration. Say 'bye to carbon-releasing tilling, monocultures and pesticides, and hello to soil-protecting cover crops, crop diversity and grass-fed livestock. Why do it? 'Cause healthier soil means greater food security and draws down more atmospheric carbon. Important stuff.
Three times a day, choose carefully: what you eat is a great chance to take the wheel and make a big green impact. This month, go seasonal, local and regeneratively farmed. Our soil will thank you.
Team Gather x
PS: Did you know we do events, too? Get your health on and learn how to make kombucha with us over two evenings (19 Jan + 2 Feb). This fermented brew's a fab pick-me-up for both the brain and gut. Get your ticket + more info here.
Low-impact living: our top tips this month
It can be a lil' tricky to spot regeneratively farmed food at first. It's a grassroots effort, so there's no clear labels or firm rules. Keep an eye out for these terms: organic, biodynamic, chemical free, permaculture, biodiversity, pasture fed, argoecology. And focus on local + seasonal - avoid imported food where you can.
Support small-scale growers, and you can't go wrong. If they're organic, too - bonus. Many smaller farms can't afford the certification, though, even when they're using eco methods. So don't let that put you off.
Eat seasonally. A lil' farfetched in Jan? Nah: there's a still a ton of options, from a crunchy (pasture fed) bacon + kale salad to a warming beetroot soup. Many growers offer a UK grown or seasonal box; find one here.
Grow your own. Did you know the UK imports nearly half of the food it consumes? You can't get morelocal than your own back garden or sunny window sill. A growing newbie? No probs, start with some zingy herbs.
Buy from your butcher and ask questions about their farms. If you're local, try Flock + Herd and William Rose. Both stock pasture fed meat, promoting happier, healthier cattle that help draw down carbon. Win-win.
Spotlight on... our regen farmed essentials
Switching everything up at once can be tough. Start by choosing locally-grown options for what you eat most; it's the best and quickest way to make an impact. We've got your pantry needs covered - pop in and top up on your daily go-tos.
A pasta lover? Our fave pasta supplier Carleschi Pastificio's super local, hand-making pasta in their East London base. No air miles here: they use flour from UK-grown spelt and einkorn. These ancient grains are jam-packed with nutrients, leaving you fuller for longer. Both are super tasty, plus einkorn's fine for gluten intolerant diets (not coeliac).
For that fuel-filled brekkie, our jumbo and porridge oats are British grown. Why not add a dollop of ourKappacaseinyoghurt? Another small biz hailing from London, they make delish yoghurt and labneh using organic milk from Kentish cows. Even better, it's circular: bring your jar back to be sterilised and re-used. (What's labneh? Kinda a sour cream / cream cheese cross. It's very versatile: use it in stews, curries, on bagels, in sandwiches, to make dips - so many ways!)
For something special, try our dried girollemushrooms. They're harvested by hand in the wild forests and coastlines of Scotland (swoon). Best bit: they're on refill (so you can just grab a few grams) and, being dried, they'll store for ages.
Here's a cheeky one (it's a seasonal import): Honest Toil's extra virgin olive oil. It's made purely from Greek koroneiki olives and is a complete small village venture. They're being hand-picked and cold-pressed as we speak, keeping all the unfiltered, unblended goodness. It's one of our fave products in the store.
If you wanna be completely local, try our extra virgin rapeseed oil instead. Grown, harvested, cold-pressed and bottled in the countryside by Cotswold Gold. It's a healthy and versatile essential for all your cooking needs.
'Kiss the Ground'. A podcast about all things regeneration that won't bog you down. It's heartfelt and optimistic.
'For the Love of Soil', Nicole Masters. This is the go-to-read on how and why we should nuture the land that feeds us.
This all-you-need-to-know short filmby Groundswell. They're the bosses when it comes to UK regen agriculture.
@sixinchesofsoil tokeep up with the daily lives of UK regen farmers. They're making a not-to-be-missed documentary, too.
Wanna take action?
Support: Ethical food campaigns. Let's say no and stand against factory farming or the use of previously banned pesticides. We need to protect our vital pollinators - a THIRD of our insect species are now endangered.
Join: A farming network as a member. They're not just for growers, but anyone enthusiastic about soil health. Take a peek and support the Landworker's Alliance. They also run courses and fun meet ups.
Learn: How to forage. Live in London and want low cost, mileage free food? Check out Forage London. You'll be stunned by what's growing wild on your doorstep.
~ all about you ~
We'd love to know: what've you been learning - or unlearning?
Any local eco-related happenings you'd like us to shout about?
And how can we help you on your journey to a low-impact life?