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Carbon-free diet attracts support

6 May 08 08:19 GMT
By Kevin Keane
Fife reporter, BBC Scotland news website

A project based on a "carbon-neutral" diet has attracted hundreds of supporters, the man behind it has said.

It is six months since the start of the Fife Diet, which aims to reduce the food coming into the country by air.

It is low in meat, to reduce the amount of harmful gases produced by cattle, and involves eating only locally grown fruit and vegetables.

Mike Small said the 200 people who were following the plan were contributing to reducing climate change.

He told the BBC Scotland news website: "The problem's not been finding food in Fife all year round, that's relatively easy, but the time you spend preparing a meal from scratch every day.

"It gives us a bit of an insight into why we eat convenience food because we're all running around like dafties working too hard and don't have any time to cook a decent meal."

Changing habits

The project has relied heavily on people going back to eating food only when it is in season.

That has also meant many foods, like bananas and oranges, are completely off the menu to cut down on the carbon emissions produced by the aeroplanes which transport them to the UK.

People instead are directed towards farm shops and farmers markets.

Jacqui Alexander, of Bellfield Organics in Newburgh, said: "To go back to having their root vegetables in the winter and to make their soups and stews, people tend to come away from those areas.

"It is difficult but then a lot of people are interested in it, you can see that at farmers markets that people are interested in the different things we grow at different times of year."

After six months, the Fife Diet is moving into a new phase with land having been secured for a community garden in Falkland.

Mike Small is hoping volunteers will help maintain the patch as a vegetable garden which, he hopes, will encourage more people to exchange foods.

The eating project has attracted the support of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Chief executive Duncan McLaren said: "Food accounts for about a quarter of household gas emissions. Most of that comes from the methane of animal production. So, a diet like this which is quite low in meat is definitely good for the environment."

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