In one of the previous posts, we talked about Catherine Conway, one of the Top Changemakers of 2020 in The Big Issue. The article was so eye-opening that we had to write about another inspiring woman from the same list. This time we’re choosing Sara Ward, a wife and mum living in London who transformed her back garden into a farmer’s market (and much more).
Years ago, Sara started questioning the food she was giving her children. Where does it come from? How is it produced? How does it affect the environment? How healthy is it?
All these questions had unpromising answers. So, she began buying food from organic shops and local markets.
However, that wasn’t enough; a little later she began producing crops to get a better understanding of the food she was cooking and eating. Now she has a micro-bakery, a beehive, twenty chickens and a hub for courses such as cheese-making and preserving.
Her green thumb and enthusiasm turned her back garden into a business. Hen Corner is about teaching people how to live more sustainably. Every Thursday, Sara opens a farmer’s market at her house where she sells bread, cakes, crops, eggs, honey and homemade chutney. She also teaches children and adults, through courses and workshops, how to be in contact with the food they eat and cook.
Why is Slow Food Important?
What Sara Ward is doing can be associated with the Slow Food movement. For those who don’t know, let us explain what this is and what it stands for.
Founded by Carlo Petrini, the Slow movement began in Italy in the 1980s, reacting against the fast-food culture. From there, it became an international movement opposing the ‘fast’ lifestyle encouraged by industrialisation and technological development.
The Slow movement is not against how fast you eat your food but rather how food is produced. Supermarkets can sell cheap products mainly because they exploit cheap labour and mass-produce low-quality products.
Fast-food chains such as McDonald’s have homogenised our food flattening our flavour palettes and reducing eating to a functional activity. That’s why the Slow Food movement’s philosophy, introduced by Carlo Petrini, contains three interconnected factors; food has to be good, clean and fair.
- Good- food has to be healthy and of good quality.
- Clean- food is produced without damaging the environment.
- Fair- economically accessible to consumers.
(Slow Food International, 2020)
Benefits of Going Slow
Years ago, Sara opened her eyes to the reality of the products we take for granted. Having strawberries in December and mushrooms in March is not normal. The northern hemisphere countries can never grow such fruit and vegetables all year round. But there’s more to it, it’s not only about having more or less choice. These imports are generating an immense amount of carbon emissions affecting our planet’s health.
This is why it’s important to eat seasonal products from local suppliers for different reasons.
Here are some advantages of eating this produce:
- Better flavour
- More nutritious
- Helps the environment
- Supports the local economy
- Promotes a safer food supply
Not only, but by buying local ingredients, you know where the food comes from as well as what you’re cooking and eating. Being in contact with the food we buy and eat is such an important tradition that has vanished from our fast lifestyle.
Life is not entirely about work; it’s about taking pleasure in the small things we do like spending time with family, meeting a friend, cooking and eating. It’s important to be more connected with everything that surrounds us because, at the end of the day, we are living on this beautiful planet and we should appreciate what we have around us. This year let’s shift our consciousness to live more in the present and connect with things we ignored before.
This is a principle Sara Ward understood many years ago. Now she’s spreading these values to the London community and further afield. Congratulations Sara, you’re a real changemaker.
Hen Corner. (2020). Home | Hen Corner. [online] Available at: https://www.hencorner.com/ [Accessed 30 Jan. 2020].
Slow Food International. (2020). Slow Food International. [online] Available at: https://www.slowfood.com/ [Accessed 30 Jan. 2020].
Top 100 Changemakers 2020. (2020). The Big Issue, (#1391), p.24.
Sara-Coldframe2-e1424638773714. (2020). [image] Available at: https://www.hencorner.com/west-london-mum-february-15/sara-coldframe2-e1424638773714/ [Accessed 11 Feb. 2020].