The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.
(I’m a teacher. Don’t worry that’s just for info.)
This week I did some data handling with some classes. Make a graph, that type of thing. We used favourite fruit in three classes.
The nine years olds I talked to made a list of fruits and then voted.
The stand out winner with half the class all three times was the mango.
I found this really worrying.
Well the mango is not native to Europe by a very long way.
The native fruits like apple, pear and even the delicious strawberry got barely a mention in the survey.
Even European fruits like grapes, cherries, melon, orange and mandarin that grow well in Spain and Italy were lagging badly behind.
They had other suggestions and tropical fruits dominated the field.
Now I know that kids eating fruit is important.
Tropical fruits fly here to The Netherlands. That’s thousands of air miles with every bite. Local fruit is better for the planet by far.
Brazil, Mexico, Bangladesh, Nigeria, China and a few others are big mango producers.
I do appreciate that export markets are important for these countries but is it at a cost to local food needs?
When I was nine years old I had never eaten mango. I expect I first had it in my twenties. The only tropical fruit we had was banana and tinned pineapples.
🍎 🍏 🍊 🍋 🍐 🍒 🍇 🍓 🍑 🍈 🍌
There were plums, apricots, apples, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, pears, gooseberries, brambles, and more.
Having an allotment has also really helped us to eat seasonal, local produce. We now have blueberries, choke berries, pears, apples, plums (well one plum or two) raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, red and black currants and cherries.
All of these are great to collect, simple to grow and great fruits for a healthy diet. They make us very aware of our food and where it comes from.
Although an allotment sounds like a big commitment most of these individual fruits can be grown in a much smaller space too.
I wonder how the mango will fare in the future? Production has doubled in the past thirty years.
Do you try to eat local produce?
Is seasonal food hard to get in your local supermarket?
Are you aware of the way that foods with high air miles are subtly creeping onto our plates?
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...