“What’s local food like in Lincolnshire?” she asked me. “You have sausages, don’t you?”
I talk about food culture enough to know that the question of whether Lincolnshire food is more than a sausage is hardly an original one.
This offhand enquiry causes me to feel furiously insulted every time!
Lincolnshire – the breadbasket of Britain, with the second biggest fishing port in the country, that produces almost a third of UK vegetables: we have more to say for ourselves than “sausage” – or even Poacher cheese and plum bread.
A Vibrant Food Culture
And yet I do sometimes envy the food culture of other places – from the delectable coast of North Norfolk and the smashing choice of veggie restaurants in Brighton to the sustainable food pioneers of Bristol; reading Ottolenghi’s article about his love of Britain’s diverse restaurant culture in the Guardian last month… I couldn’t help thinking that he was really talking about London.
Here’s the thing: for every £1 spent by the likes of you and I on veg box schemes or farmers’ markets, a further £3.70 is generated in social, economic and environmental value.*
It’s a no brainer that we should foster a vibrant, delicious, diverse local food economy in Lincolnshire.
A Walk in the Wheat
Last year, our friends at the Small Food Bakery hosted a Walk in the Wheat at Turners of Bytham farm in Lincolnshire, with millers, bakers, and the whole food community.
We spoke with the dairy farmers whose cows graze at Bytham, about the interdependence of manure, soil, and the wheat and oats.
It made me feel altogether differently about bread and grain and how it gets to our plates. It made me care much, much more.
A better food system
So my call to action this Spring is for us all to be active in our local food system:
Those with knowledge and experience of growing, processing and cooking have a vital role – to use, share and pass on those skills;
Those with means have the opportunity to invest in a better food system for us all;
We all might cultivate a deeper understanding and respect for the farmers and landworkers producing our food and stewarding the land in difficult circumstances.
For more on how, watch this space over the coming year, and for more info, sign up for our newsletter:
News, events & inspiration from Lincolnshire’s good food community
*New Economics Foundation, 2021
Not a Sausage was published in the Lincoln Independent, where we have a regular column
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