Sunday, the 20th of October provided an opportunity to reflect on the food I eat. I love good food but I do not always think about where it comes from, its environmental impact, and whether it contributes or reverses climate change. The Big Global Bake-Off hosted by Children in Crossfire showcased Fairtrade desserts and Fairtrade products in a Bake-Off format. The event was a great reminder of how easy and delicious vegan and Fairtrade recipes are. Not only can these vegan and Fairtrade foods be equally or more delicious, they quite literally can save the world!
As our atmosphere fills with carbon, which has caused extreme warming, especially in the ocean, there are numerous adverse effects. So how do we counteract this carbon pollution and get it out of the atmosphere? Plants and soil. Photosynthesis brings carbon (an essential element to live that makes up 18% of the human body) out of the atmosphere and into the soil in a healthy balance. In order to accomplish this, and rebalance carbon levels, we must reinvent our agriculture system.
This is starting to sound a bit complicated but it really does not have to be. The Big Global Bake Off was the perfect example of how simple helping the planet through the foods we eat can be. In short, we must buy less processed food, buy Fairtrade products, ideally as local as possible, and eat more vegetables and less meat.
My favorite part about the event was having the opportunity to talk with others about how they try to consume and produce food responsibly. I got to sit around with good people, snack on delicious Fairtrade buns and sweets and learn about great vegan and Fairtrade recipes. It was the perfect setting to converse about food and simplify the concept of reinventing our agriculture systems. A fun day but also a powerful day. If everyone had the opportunity to eat such delicious food and see how simple it is to make environmentally responsible foods I think we could really transform agriculture. When you combine how delicious vegan and Fairtrade foods are with good prices and an understanding of how important food is in reversing climate change I think we could start to see changes in our food system.
Additionally, having so many Fairtrade pantry items available for sale at the bake-off was fantastic. You got to see tons of Fairtrade options and how similarly priced to non Fairtrade items they can be. It was a great reminder of how easy Fairtrade ingredients are to find and buy.
The event was a great time for personal reflection on how interact with food and agriculture. I have always been aware that processed food is not good for you or the environment but as a poor university student I did not think I had other cheap options. Since the bake off, I have tried to eat less processed food and more veggies. I have found that I actually spend less money on food when I make my own meals with lots of veggies and grains than buying the cheapest processes options.
I still eat some processed food and my fair share of meat and dairy products but perfection is not the goal, improvement is. I absolutely love certain foods, like eggs and cheese, so going vegan would be hard for me. However, this does not mean I should just give up and stop trying to eat intelligently. Just do what you can! You do not have to become a vegan, just be a vegan for a meal!
Check out this delicious vegan recipe from the bake-off:
- 1 tbsp Fairtrade instant coffee
- 210ml soya drink
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar of Modena
- 150g Fairtrade light brown soft sugar
- 75ml olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g self raising flour
- 30g Fairtrade cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the icing:
- 500g Fairtrade icing sugar
- 190g dairy free spread
- 45g Fairtrade cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4
- Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases
- Put the coffee in a jug with 2 tbsp boiling water and stir to blend
- Stir in the soya drink, vinegar, sugar, olive oil and vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a large bowl
- Stir in the soya mixture until combined
- Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 18-20 mins, until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully
- Put half the icing sugar in a large bowl with the spread, cocoa powder and vanilla
- Beat with an electric whisk, starting on a low speed and gradually increasing until smooth, then beat in the rest of the sugar
- Pipe or spread the icing on the cooled cupcakes to serve
- Lick the Bowl and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Written by Donovan Tomony, during his internship with Children in Crossfire