I was sent a shocking press release at work yesterday. It came from the new Eat Seasonably Campaign and it said that one in five 16-25 year olds think cauliflower grows under the ground! Worse still a quarter of 16-24 think peas are in season all year round and one in five of the same age group think sweetcorn grows all year round.
I think we have a big divide in the food world. At the moment we have a food revolution going on with artisan producers popping up everywhere, allotment waiting lists growing longer and longer and more awareness of animal welfare. But at the same time there is another food revolution going on. Thousands of people are finding ever more cheaper ways to feed themselves with fat laden take-aways and salty microwave meals, imported cheap vegetables and battery farmed meat.
How has it come to this? I can understand that the pressure is on families during the recession, but it is all down to education. Teaching people that using fresh seasonal ingredients when they are abundant and using a better quality of meat in smaller quantities is essential.
The Eat Seasonably Campaign, which was spearheaded by Dame Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust and Chairman of B&Q Ian Cheshire, is backed by top chefs such as Angela Hartnett, Allegra McEvedy, Valentine Warner, Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall, as well as Defra secretary of state Hilary Benn, the RHS and all the major supermarkets.
The campaign has introduced a label which will be used to highlight seasonal fruit and vegetables where they are sold. This surely is an excellent idea and I hope it helps the situation. If it was clearly marked out for people they might be tempted into trying out seasonal produce. I really hope it works. Check out the campaign’s website, http://www.eatseasonably.co.uk it includes lots of advice for growing and eating seasonally.