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One Planet Community Kitchen - A Low Carbon Cookbook

A food project initiated by the Transition Norwich Circles. The group holds kitchen conversations once a month and focuses on carbon-reduction, conviviality, food ethics and co-creating a cookbook based on recipes for bring-to-share dishes and a low carbon store cupboard.
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About this project

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To create a cookbook that will cover all aspects of carbon reduction and Transition culture.

To provide a selection of easy-to-assemble, seasonal bring-to-share recipes that could act as a reference and inspirational guide.

To cover key issues in information boxes, that can explain, for example, exactly what certified organic means, how CSAs function and why we need them.

To cover the ethics and practical considerations involved in a working a downshift kitchen - waste and packaging, water, milling and baking, all our relationships with agriculture and food production. facts about how that food got to our tables, what it took in terms of energy and transport, labour and resources. So underneath the text there will be some hard data: about the ecological and carbon footprint of each dish.

To list local and regional examples of Transition food projects, from allotments to directories, from community beekeeping to apple share intitiatives.

To gather our kitchen narratives, the stories of our everyday lives, how we found these recipes, how they keep us connected to the planet and our neighbourhood and each other.

Further information:

I am standing with a giant tea pot in my hands on a cold November day, listening to Tully Wakeman from East Anglia Food Link at Sustainable Bungay’s Growing Local! conference. He's telling a packed hall how 70% of grains grown in East Anglia are for animal feed, how “local” pigs are fed on rainforest soya. He’s talking about peak oil and modern agriculture, how in the future we will have to learn to eat less meat and less dairy, a far simpler fare. This is it, I am thinking. This is The Project.

The Low Carbon Cookbook did not start straightaway. It began after a meeting between bakers, farmers, researchers and Transitioners to discuss how to create the Norwich loaf. It began after working with my friend in Transition, Josiah Meldrum, on three issues of Food Inspiring Change about local food projects and then on a treatment for a book called One Planet Community Kitchen (now roots shoots & seeds). It began after Tully inaugurated Transition Norwich’s second phase – the start up of the innovative Transition Circles, neighbourhood groups which looked at personal carbon reduction in all aspects of our lives - home energy, transport, food, “stuff” and waste.

It began after many of us had catalogued and recorded our downshift experiences in the TN blog, This Low Carbon Life, from baking bread to the Norwich livestock market, from eating roadkill to the health hazards of the global food business. It began in September 2010 after a fortnight on Transition Food Patterns that catalogued many of the local outlets, market traders and community gardens that make up a Transition food infrastructure, including the CSA that has now become Norwich FarmShare.

The Low Carbon Cookbook group have been meeting for over a year now, paying attention to dishes and produce in the way Mark was describing in respect to land and medicine plants on Monday. Most of us on the project have been part of the Transition Circles and trained as Carbon Conversation facilitators. We're cooks and growers, writers and academics, vegans and meat eaters, some of us constrained by chronic illness and allergies. All of us are highly aware of the ethical and political choices we are faced with everyday and vote with our forks, as Michael Pollan famously advised in the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees.

Josiah introduced our first Low Carbon Cookbook meeting at The Greenhouse with a talk on the history of co-operatives. We began the project by conducting a mapping exercise known as Deconstructing the Dish, speaking about its provenance, energy use and our memories around the different ingredients. My own was the humble dish of fava, first eaten on a Cycladic island in Greece, aged 19.

We have held kitchen conversations over a seasonal, local, organic, freegan, fair-traded, foraged meal each month since then. We have met in each other’s houses, in Jo's raw food neighbourhood café, The Nectar, at Norwich’s weekly FoodCycle, looked at key ingredients and tools, recorded and photographed all our sessions. We have considered all aspects of the industrial food system and how we can break out of it, how we can restructure, relocalise and most of all radically change our relationship with food.

The aim of the project is to compile (and publish) an A-Z on all subjects you need to know to eat as sustainably as possible within our present distribution systems. Here is a small taster:

Allotments, Beehives, CSAs, Dairy, Eggs, Foraging, Germination, Hungry gap, Industrial food systems, Jam, Kitchen Conversations, Land Grabs, Milling, Nourishment, Organic, Palm oil, Quinces, Rocket stoves, Storage, Tortilla, Umi plums, Veg boxes, Water, Xylitol, Yellow peas, Zero Waste.

It is built around a collection of Bring-to-Share recipes we have been cooking up for the last year and also a growing list of vegetables, wild and foraged plants. It contains resources: documentaries such as Food Inc and The End of the Line, books like Felicity Lawrence's Eat Your Heart Out! and Masanobu Fukuoka's One Straw Revolution, as well as local food sources. In short it helps create the atmosphere, conviviality, intelligence and connection that is intregral to a low-carbon culture. It is our hope that by providing this kind of practical and philosophic blueprint, other Transition initiatives might compile their own regional cookbooks with local resources and dissmeninate them eventually via the new Project Sharing Engine on the Network.

Looking forward to linking up!

Photos from This Low Carbon Life: Indian spices in a Mexican molcajete; deconstructed dishes by Elena of Norwich FarmShare and Gemma of Ripple Food Co-op and Transition Ipswich; dandelion tea and toss it in 24 leaves salad; anti-GM potato demonstration in Norwich; roadside stall; Food Inc poster and still; remembering sunflower and marigold seeds (CDC and MW)

Further information


Primary point of contact: 
Charlotte Du Cann

Is this a Transition group project or other?

Transition project
Last updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2012


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