It’s always nice to come across other blogs where people share insights on their own food citizenship journey. One of these is the blog of Isabel. Her blog is for people who care (about others, about the environment, about themselves). We really like what she does and decided to ask her a few questions.
Isabel please tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been involved in sustainability activities.
I live in Dublin & have always lived in the city. When I was a child my parents used to have an allotment, so I’ve been used to eat seasonal fruit and veg from a young age. I also spent a lot of time with relatives in rural France, with large fruit and wine farms nearby. Seeing the chemicals sprayed onto the fields and the fact that the farmers themselves often had separate gardens/ trees for their own needs which they didn’t treat certainly made an impression on me.
You write a blog (sustainableresponsibleliving.com) which was finalist in this years Irish blog awards. Why did you start the blog and what are the topics you focus on?
Yes, being a finalist was bit of a surprise, I started the blog mainly to share small changes to live more sustainably with others and to engage in dialogue about topics I find challenging and for which I still haven’t found an ideal solution. I don’t believe that drastic changes that probably aren’t adapted to our lifestyle are sustainable in the long run. But I do believe that it will make a difference if we all start somewhere and make small changes – instead of sticking the head in the sand overwhelmed with the scale of the problems we face.
How difficult do you find it to live sustainably?
I think the most difficult is to reconcile a more sustainable lifestyle with our busy lives, our lifestyle. Everything around food when living in a city is particularly challenging I think. For example the choices we face as consumers, i.e. what should we prioritise? Local food? Organic food? Unpackaged food? I often see organic vegetables that have been imported or are packaged in plastic. Challenging people’s perception and gaining enough momentum for mainstream supermarkets to change their approach must certainly be one of the higher goals, i.e try to remove the conflicting messages we receive as consumers.
You told us that you have a strong interest in seaweed. What is it that makes seaweed special?
I think firstly the fact that we are living on an island with easy access to a great variety of seaweed is something that we really don’t explore enough. Personally, as a vegetarian I always had an interest in seaweed due to its high mineral content, the fact that I’m a keen seakayaker where I often see the most beautiful and diverse seaweeds at close range certainly helps also. I’m trying to incorporate more and more different types into my diet and find this surprisingly easy, although I sometimes get a strange look in the office when unpacking my lunch box which may include sea spaghetti as part of a dish.
On our website we prefer to use the term “food citizen” contrary to “consumer”? What do you understand under a food citizen?
I think a food citizen is a more active term, people who take ownership of what they eat instead of reacting on/following the choices supermarkets make for them.
What are your next steps on your food sustainability journey?
Certainly to continue on exploring small changes that I can turn into a habit. Also, I would like to set myself a zero waste challenge. I know this will be tricky to incorporate into everyday life but I think it will help me understand where I can incorporate simple alternatives to what I currently do. It will probably also highlight which areas are particularly challenging. Watch out for my progress diary on Facebook.
What or who inspired you to follow that journey towards sustainability?
I don’t think there is a single person, or at least I find it hard to settle for one person. Certainly my parents but also so many others, I guess we all take inspiration from people and news we encounter along the way, little snippets that might give us an impulse and maybe motivate us to take action.