Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 627

5 1 DECEMBER 2022 ANNA SHEPARD Sustainable living News&Views Given the associations of Christmas with generosity and feasting, no one wants to be stingy at this time of year. But this means it’s easy to get carried away with food shopping and stash enough supplies to last several months instead of a few days. Every year, I overdo the tangerines, only to find them rotting in the fruit bowl in January. I also lovemaking a traditional Christmas cake, despite its lukewarm reception, although covering it in custard was a win last year. Food waste creates six times more greenhouse gases than aviation. When you throw it away, it’s not just food that’s wasted, but also the resources taken to grow, package and transport it. Weekend food and drink editor Alison Oakervee’s tip is to account for leftovers when planning your Christmas menu. “Factor in ameal made from leftovers, or cook something that will create a second meal from leftovers,” she says. Potatoes are one of themost commonly discarded foods at Christmas, withmore than 11 million wasted every year, according to a Univeler study. Remember, roasties can be refried. I’mplanning to cut mine into chunks to add to a Boxing Day curry. If you have leftover mash, freeze it or wrap it around slices of mozzarella then fry tomake cheesy patties —my kids love these. Earlier this year, I signed up to the Olio app, where you can pass on unwanted food to neighbours, as well as other household items. It’s a handy app to utilise over the holiday and certainly better thanmy food waste bin. Week 44: Festive frugality SOIL TO SOUL Henrietta (left) and Bridget (right) with Lulu; Climate Compost (below) You might send roses to say ‘I love you’, or to add a ash of festive colour, but the latest Waitrose Christmas bouquet has the added bene t of contributing towards an education centre for children. The new Waitrose Traditional Christmas Bouquet (£16/each, in-store only) comes with a beaded decoration, such as a star or Christmas tree, set amid roses and foliage from Waitrose Foundation farms in Kenya. They are handmade by the local Upeed and Satubo community groups, which provide skills and training for vulnerable community members and support women’s economic empowerment. A proportion of every Waitrose Foundation sale is reinvested into community projects at source – examples include improving education and supporting clinics and crèches. Anna-Marie Julyan Flower power 95% The volume of food that comes from soil 18 Naturally occurring chemical elements are essential to plants. Soils supply 15 of them 58% Up to this amount more food could be produced through the adoption of sustainable soil management 2050 Agricultural production needs to increase by 60% to meet the global food demand by 2050. Source: United Nations World Soil Day It’s not often that a cookbook features ‘compost cake’ (ingredients: carbon, nitrogen and clay) alongside recipes for smoked chowder, crumpets andmadeleines. But when gardeners Henrietta Courtauld and Bridget Elworthy partnered with chef Lulu Cox to write their book Soil to Table, they took the title literally. WithWorld Soil Day taking place onMonday (5 December) to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil, experts are waking up to the work of Henrietta and Bridget, also known as The Land Gardeners. They spent 15 years researching with soil scientists how tomake the best microbial compost. Their resulting Climate Compost saw organic matter leap fromfive to 12% in their horticultural garden, became the subject of a global Innovative Farmers trial and is helping to regenerate a 2,000-acre Northamptonshire arable farmwithout using chemicals. “Our motivation was actually to find a solution to climate change,” says Bridget. “Twenty years ago, we both suddenly realised that it was a huge issue. We knew one solution was to stop using chemicals on farms, and find a way to THE COMPOST FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE enable the soil and biodiversity above and below ground to work together to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, heal our soils and growmore nutrient-dense food.” They have come up with ‘recipes’ for farmers (who direct drill the compost with seeds) and gardeners. “The Climate Compost we sell is an ‘inoculum’ and is like a probiotic for the soil filled withmicrobes,” explains Henrietta. “You just put a little under a plant, or make a tea and water it onto plants throughout the growing season.” After visiting their cut flower gardens in Oxfordshire, Ben Raskin, head of horticulture and agroforestry at The Soil Association, suggested they trial it with Innovative Farmers. The network conducts on-farm trials funded by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund through sales of Waitrose Duchy Organic products. Farmers fromMozambique to Sweden took part and there were some amazing results, says Bridget: “We have always known that soils hold the answer, and they have to get working again – the whole process of photosynthesis is a really powerful way of healing the planet.” Anna-Marie Julyan Illustration: Amelia Flower/Folioart Photographs: Maria Bell