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Eat Like Your Ancestors (From the Ground Beneath Your Feet): A Sustainable Food Journey Around the English West Midlands


Worth reading 😎

Instead of going ‘plant-based’ go ‘place-based’ and eat local, support local and you will be healthier while helping fight global warming.

This is an interesting and very readable little book, literally looking at food and food sources from beneath the ground up, as Liz Pearson Mann is an archaeologist with an intense interest in food sources over the ages. She takes us around the counties in her immediate area in England, looking at how the archaeologists have uncovered what the people before us farmed and ate – and how we can also eat more simply, nutritiously and with a much lower food travel imprint than we do now.

“The past has much to show us about the potential future of food,” she says. The buzz about food today is largely around sustainability, and eating more plant-based foods – but the question is where do those foods come from? Many so-called ‘fashionable’ foods cannot be grown in our own immediate areas, so wherever we live we are importing them from elsewhere at great cost in both fossil fuels for transport and loss of support for our local farmers. Part of the trend for eating more plant-based food and less meat is on the premise that cattle emit large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. But, Pearson Mann points out, farming single crops such as wheat, depletes the soil so these crops are fed with chemical fertilizers, which are manufactured from fossil fuels and oil which in themselves release vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane.

In a similar vein, and looking at ways of reducing one’s food carbon footprint, she suggests people support local and seasonal whenever they can. An argument against supporting local one may say is that artisan food has become a fashionable thing, often making it more expensive. But, if you buy local, support farmers’ markets and even grow your own it would become more sustainable, healthier and reduce the whole world’s carbon footprint.

While this is not the sort of book to settle down with on a rainy afternoon, it is written with a lot of local knowledge and real concern for the environment. An added bonus is the practical hints, advice and how-to’s at the end. Instead of going ‘plant-based’ go ‘place-based’ and eat local, support local and you will be healthier while helping the world.

Reviewed by

A journalist in South Africa, I moved to the UK. Assistant Editor of magazines, then into corporate communication. Fellow of IABC Author of Cry of the Rocks, and two romances. Won SA Writers' Circle book awards twice. Numerous reviews.


About the author

Liz Pearson Mann writes about being rooted in landscape, traditional culture and evergreen skills. She’s an archaeologist, allotmenteer, knitter, spinner, and sewer. She lives in Worcester, in the English West Midlands with her husband and cat. view profile

Published on March 30, 2021

30000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Home & Garden

Reviewed by