Recently Birmingham was named ‘Foodie Capital of Britain’ by a BBC food magazine. This was in no small part due to its thriving markets.
Evidence from the wellbeing key line of enquiry for Birmingham Social Inclusion Process, confirms that a big contributor to our wellbeing is determined by what we eat.
The argument of course is that junk food is cheaper than fresh food, therefore people on low incomes have no choice but to buy it. But eating unhealthily can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart conditions and some cancers, and these diseases tend to be more prevalent in people who are less affluent.
However, part of the solution could be right on our doorstep.
I would like to draw attention to the the excellent, and very affordable food markets that we have in Brum. I don’t mean farmers markets, although their produce is great, fresh and as local as possible, they can also sometimes be a bit pricey. What I’m referring to are the fabulous outdoor fruit and veg markets that are open from Tuesday to Saturday, alongside the fish, meat and clothes markets near the Bullring.
The outdoor market is a vibrant, noisy, atmospheric mix of food and people from all around the world. Mangoes, mooli, coconuts, coriander and other exotic foods are sold alongside traditional British fruit and veg. It’s a foodie heaven where for a fraction of the price of supermarkets, you can buy the ingredients for a feast. I managed to buy a bowl full of more ginger than I could use in a year for £1 which is still cheaper than the tiny bit you get for the same amount from the supermarket. Cherries, bananas, peppers, chillies all for £1 a bowl, the choice is huge.
So my wellbeing thought for the day is that a trip to Birmingham fruit and veg market can provide all of the things that are recommended in the Five Ways to Wellbeing as being the key to a healthy lifestyle:
Be active: The exercise getting there, browsing the multitude of different stalls and carrying stuff home
Connect: All life is there, most of it friendly, enjoy joining in the banter
Take Notice: Look at what’s on offer and how it varies throughout the seasons
Keep Learning: Learn about new foods and find out how to cook them, or look for a local organisation that runs courses
Give: If you know how to cook, help someone who doesn’t, or take someone to the markets who doesn’t usually go there
Do you think the Five Ways to Wellbeing are the right measures of health and happiness?
Does your organisation provide accessible courses so that people can learn to cook and eat more healthily?
Do you think we should do more to promote our markets as a contributor to the city’s wellbeing?
Here’s your chance to contribute before Monday 5th November 2012.
Through our consultation portal
Here on our blog:
Write to: Jackie Mould
Giving Hope Changing Lives
PO Box 16253
By email: Jackie Mould firstname.lastname@example.org
or The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham email@example.com
Via Twitter @fairbrum or use #fairbrum
Telephone the Partnership Team on 0121 675 3499