Television and radio presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff explains her motivations for seeking out nature-friendly food and tells us why she is supporting Bristol’s bid to be a Gold Sustainable Food City.
My husband used to run a restaurant and is definitely the best cook in the family! We are all passionate about our food: where it comes from, how it’s processed and how we prepare it. Eating around the table every day together is one thing I really value as a family.
Good food and seasonal produce, ideally organic, is simply a way of life for my family. It’s not been a conscious decision to have a concern for where our food comes from – I guess I’m fortunate to have grown up with a food culture that prioritised this. There are so many things that affect our priorities around food, but I strongly believe that if we are in a position to think about where our food comes from, we really should. As well as my love of environmentally sustainable (and delicious!) food, I’m passionate about trying to connect people with their landscape and with their garden, whatever way that can be – whether through growing food, bird watching or just taking a walk to appreciate the wildlife.
When we watch the news and see the devastation to nature caused by man-made climate change, we can feel helpless. But actually every day, three times a day, we can have a positive influence on nature and the climate by making the right decisions when we choose the food we eat. That’s why I’m keen to support Bristol’s bid to become a Gold Sustainable Food City, particularly the Urban Growing and Buying Better strands.
Some of the Buying Better actions are particularly close to my heart, including seeking out food that’s local, organic and seasonal, ditching unnecessary packaging and knowing your food labels so that you can seek out nature-friendly food. All our actions across the city can add up to something that really makes a difference. I’m keen to make this relevant and interesting to all of us, particularly families and children. So I wondered if there’s anything I can bring from my personal background to share a desire to seek out nature-friendly food. For example, recognising the importance of pollinators to our food system – or relying on birds rather than pesticides – and buying products that support pollinators rather than decimating them.
Nature-friendly growing is about interconnectivity. For example, we’ve got a small collection of fruit trees and a few years ago a local guy in our pub was saying he needed somewhere to put his bees. We’ve got lots of lavender and these trees and so we offered him some space for his beehives in our garden. The productivity of those trees since having the bees there has been unbelievable! Everyone’s happy – we get AMAZING honey and the bees are obviously happy with a diverse range of goodies on offer. In some ways we just need to back off as nature will find its own system. And this isn’t new knowledge – people have known this for some time, it’s just that climate change is focussing our minds on this vital issue.
When you grow your food you learn the true value of it – the effort and time that went into growing that chilli. Growing food is just one of the entry points into understanding our food system better and how we can farm in a more nature-friendly way, a change that is essential for the resilient food system we need in both Bristol and beyond.
Miranda Krestovnikoff is a radio and television presenter specialising in natural history and archaeological programmes. She is based in Bristol.