Bethan Watkins (21) recently challenged herself and other Islanders to eat only produce which comes from the Island as part of the first Jersey Local Food Challenge, which took part place between 13 and 19 August.
Participants were challenged to stick to buying only local food or foraging for it as much as possible, while a number of restaurants and cafés decided to help out by selling dishes entirely consisting of local produce.
Miss Watkins, who works at the Greencliff Equestrian Centre in St Martin, said that one of the lessons learned by many participants was that going directly to producers was the best way to get a good deal for local food.
‘Some people came back to me and said that they were finding it too expensive and difficult to find local produce,’ she said.
‘But it was when they went to the honesty boxes they found that they could get a better price for the food and it was nicer as well. They learned the best and cheapest way to get local produce is to speak to the farmers and fishermen or go to the farmers’ markets.’
She added: ‘I got really good feedback from people who did the challenge and I want to do it again next year and get more people involved.
‘What I would like to do is arrange some sort of event like a local food market at the end of next year’s event – something to really celebrate local produce.’
Miss Watkins said that a lot of her favourite ingredients for the week were foraged and that the challenge left her feeling healthier at the end of it.
‘People really enjoyed the foraging part. There are lots of things that you can forage for in Jersey,’ she said.
‘There are sea-beads, which are like spinach but much nicer, nettles are really good – you can make tea or soup with them – and there is fennel everywhere as well, and blackberries, of course.
‘I found after doing the challenge that I felt really healthy. It basically forced me to do a whole-food diet for a week, which meant that there were no chemicals or additives in my food.’
More details about the Jersey Local Food Challenge can be found on its Facebook page and at jerseylocalfoodchallenge.weebly.com.