Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Milking it for All it's Worth.

I was very disappointed to find that the Belgian firm, Alpro had recently been bought out by Deans Foods, a North American multinational up to its grubby neck in the exploitative unkindnesses of the dairy industry. So when buying soya milk I transferred our modest patronage to the reputedly excellent Plamil. Plamil make their soya milk using beans grown in Europe organically. At Single Step, a shop I like very much, 1 litre of Plamil costs £1.50. (Deans Foods are behind certain brands of soya milk which are very much less costly).

So we've bought a soy milk maker, found it on Amazon and it came directly all the very long way from China. It cost £45 + £22 p&p, a more than trifling expense, yet cheaper than most if not all of its competitors. And how quickly can one spend £67 on milk produced by very soon worn-out, antibiotic-overdosed, land misusing, arable crop-scoffing, dirty cows pumping shedloads of methane into our overheated planet?

Our new machine, a Joyoung (a good model, so says a Chinese student staying nearby and whose parents have one), makes 1 litre of soy milk from 40g (less than 2oz), of dry organic soy beans, water and nothing else. But I am embarrassed to find that our beans from Suma which previously were grown in the USA, are now grown in China, but at least that's not the South American rainforest.

The machine takes about 10mins to do its job and costs (a short blast of GoodEnergy's electricity plus), £0.10 for the beans. You wouldn't be far wrong if you said that making our own organic soya milk is 93% cheaper than buying it. A litre of soya milk generally lasts the two of us 3 days. It would take a stronger man than I am not to smirk. Inwardly, of course.

I don't have room to grow my own (although it's quite possible in the UK), so all I want to do now is to find a closer, European source of organic soya beans.

We took this course of action because we could afford it. Too often, especially in the opulent West, it is folks on relatively lower incomes who find it more difficult to live inexpensively. Green-ness is almost always relatively "unfair" in application and I suspect that this unfairness, i.e. inequality, is used by many well-off folks as another overworked excuse not to take (m)any green actions at all.

Well, soon I'll be making our own tofu. Really.