Tastetastic North – an odyssey through disaster to sustainable food inspiration!

20th August 2012 by

The first leg of our journey was a tale of broken spokes, an epic ride and inspirational people and projects working to make food work better for people and planet. Harley and Chloe take up the tale…

After reluctantly leaving the Southern team with a heartfelt hug-line, Tastetastic North embarked on their first adventure… Burntisland via Edinburgh.

The journey did not go to plan to say the least. Each group encountered numerous setbacks, delaying the journey by around seven hours. With a total of four punctures, including a trailer tyre, we persevered, spurred on by the promise of a warm night in St. Serf’s church hall and the amazing experience of cycling across the Forth Road Bridge – wow.

We finally arrived late at night, despite a broken spoke, an exploding lighter, a Heimlich manoeuvre incident, a wild dog chase, a moment of sexist oppression (“You boys should be fixing that lassie’s puncture for her” – “I can do it myself!”), multiple wrong turns (though we were saved by Sandra in Edinburgh – thank you!), and a somewhat difficult mud track.

Luckily, we were revived by a well deserved good night’s sleep, and we were ready to get stuck into our first day’s work at Broomhill Gardens. With the sun blazing down, we started mulching, weeding, and tackling the giant compost heap, with help from Lisa, Ellie and John, members of Fife Diet.

We learned more about this amazing project over lunch with founders Mike and Karen Small, who shared their inspiring story of attempting to radically change their diet to eat only food grown in Fife… for a whole year! After experiencing certain challenges, they decided on another target: 80/20, meaning 80% of their food came from Fife and the remaining 20% was non-local.

Their experiment catalysed the Fife Diet project, and soon people from around ‘the kingdom’ were joining them. The project has not only had an impact on consumer habits, but has also affected food production, broadening the range of local products to include, for example, beer and cheese.

Ellie, our fantastic Fife diet host, helped explain more about the range of projects around Fife, like kids’ allotment days, the Fife Diet recipe books, and their great calendar with seasonal growing and eating tips.

During our stay, we were treated to some lovely local ingredients which, with help from Lisa, we assembled into delicious recipes from the Fife diet website, including garlic soup, broad bean burgers and cranachan.

In Burntisland we met loads of welcoming and generous people, and received donations of delicious veg from Lynn’s Fruit and Veg, Frank, and tasty treats from the Food for Thought cafe. Food waste is a massive problem (there is enough food wasted to feed the world’s one billion hungry people), so we have been politely asking whether food outlets along our route have food that is too past-it to sell but still edible and nutritious. A massive thank you to all the people who have listened and responded with generosity, which also includes Cheyne’s of Newburgh, where we stopped a few days later.

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