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Having made a name for herself as a filmmaker, artist, activist and writer, it was with the launch of her book, The Local Food Project, that Lisa Fingleton began her most important work.
It was the realisation that her garage-bought BLT sandwich had over 40 ingredients – many from other parts of the world – that sparked her current mission to convince us all to feed ourselves.
Local producers to, if we’re lucky, our own gardens can provide pretty much all of what we need to eat well. And that one small step in our eating habits can make us part of a giant leap for the world’s eco system.
Coming to town on Saturday, March 30th, at 11am, to spread the good word about spreading some local manure love, we asked the Kerry-based Ms Fingleton to give us just a taste of what Greystonians can expect on the big day…
Do you love food? Do you like to grow your own or do you like to buy from local producers? Do you want to take positive steps around climate action? Are you concerned about the amount of chemicals in our food and the long list of confusing ingredients?
One day, I bought a BLT sandwich in a petrol station and I couldn’t believe that there were over 40 listed ingredients from all over the world, including such things as Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, xanthan gum, emulsifier and stabilisers.
I started to think about the journey of a sandwich, and where all these ingredients come from. It felt like this sandwich connected me to so many places, people, plants and animals from all over the planet. I started to think about the energy needed to bring this sandwich to me; all the electricity, fuel and water. It makes me sad that food, which lands on our plate, has travelled thousands of miles just to be eaten by us. I had been to Borneo and seen the destruction of the rainforest with palm oil plantations, and here was palm oil in my sandwich.
I learned a lot from that BLT. It made me question if there is really any such a thing as ‘cheap food’? Someone, somewhere is paying the price in terms of poor conditions for workers, crowded conditions for battery hens, or health implications for the consumers of processed foods.
I am concerned about the fact that we are importing so much of our food and losing the capacity to be self sufficient, despite what we know about climate change and carbon footprint. According to Eurostats 2016, ‘Only 1% of Irish farms grow vegetables, the lowest in the EU’ (Agriland headline). Why are we not growing vegetables in Ireland?
Rather than getting bogged down in doing nothing, I started the 30 Day Local Food Challenge, encouraging people to eat local food for the month September each year. We ate only ingredients grown on the island of Ireland, so, that meant doing without imported goods, such as sugar, bananas, chocolate and other luxuries to which we have become accustomed! I
t’s a great way to eat good food, support local food producers and become more sustainable and resilient. Groups around the country started inviting me to give talks and workshops on eating local food. It wasn’t possible to meet everyone, so I decided to write a book that could share the learning. After all, I am based in North Kerry, the home of writing, so, why not write a book?
The book explores the power of growing and eating local food. Incorporating drawings, photography and text, the book is the culmination of three years of work. The book is creatively presented in journal style, and is filled with ideas and actions for people who think global and want to act local.
I am delighted to come to Greystones on the 30th March to meet other people who are passionate about food. The Whale Theatre is the perfect venue. They are also offering people a special discount so you can get a signed copy of the book and the admission for only €16.
Boom! You can find out more about Lisa Fingleton’s work right about here, and book your place at her Local Food Project talk at The Whale on Saturday, March 30th right here.