Hi, I’m Cllr Terry Sherlock and I wanted to tell you a little about myself. I grew up on a small rural plot in Essex surrounded by nature during the 1970s & 1980s. In our home all the talk was all about electronics and computers.
I remember our first home computer back in 1980 – it was a Sinclair ZX80. The other topic was our family stories from the East End of London during World War 2, which for me as a child seemed like a different world to the life I was living.
As for nature – it was just there, and we enjoyed it all around us.
In more recent years I have moved with my family to South Woodham Ferrers and we have great outdoor space and river walks on the doorstep. During the Covid restrictions, the long dog walks surrounded by beautiful nature kept me sane.
As well as being a Chelmsford City Councillor for South Woodham’s Elmwood and Woodville Ward, I’m also the council’s Climate and Ecology Ambassador. I love science and facts and I am excited about the future. If the new world is going to be powerful cloud computers and AI that uses tons of electricity, I say let’s do it – but make sure we can power with green electricity. I want to write articles that explore and discuss how we can find the answers to reaching Net Zero, whilst also considering our own lifestyles and utilising science.
I want to start my first article by thinking about my relationship with food. For us as a family, the most important thing is we sit together around a table and enjoy our meal. We share what we have done during the day and put our phones away and have the television off.
I would not like anyone to tell me what to eat but I am always ready to learn and think about new ideas for a healthy diet. Chelmsford has launched a new food plan with the aims of alleviating food poverty, improving public health and encouraging environmentally sustainable food habits. I shall follow the campaign messages of this plan and trial the ideas offered. I hope by sharing my food story it will help other people to make choices right for them and provide some ideas for how we can all learn and think about the decisions we make.
My evening meals are cooked from supermarket bought ingredients. When shopping for food, we don’t read the ingredients and ignore health claims, for example we don’t buy ‘low Salt’ or ‘no sugar’, ‘low fat’ etc.
We try and buy food ingredients that have not been mucked about with too much. We want to keep meat in our diet but enjoy one or two meat free days each week – my wife, Jill, does the cooking.
We try and do things to reduce plastic waste and always try to take with us the big reusable bags for packaging our shopping. The big issue with supermarkets is everything comes in plastic!
I put butter on my toast, not margarine (I do lightly spread, so that message got through to me!). To me, it’s all about moderation. Enjoying my favourite prawn cocktail crisps or the occasional small bottle of beer, but not being obsessed by diet and appreciating a happy balance.
We find lots of ideas for new meals on BBC Good Food website.
Before doing a food shop, we plan the meals for the week ahead and check in the cupboards for what we have. This helps us write a shopping list for just the food we need, saving money and avoiding waste.
We do a weekly shop by first going to a discount supermarket and then on to a bigger supermarket for anything that was not in stock, or they do not sell. Once a month we go to a discount toiletries store for items they sell cheaper than anywhere else.
I do worry about those who do not have access to the wide choice of supermarkets that I have, as they will pay more and have less healthy choices.
The idea of buying from local suppliers for better quality and fresher food is interesting but if we do this it would be a bolt on to what we already do with our shopping.
Price would also be a factor, but I would think about paying more for meat if it were better quality with better animal welfare, (maybe having meat a little less often to offset the extra cost.)
Food miles and buying in season are things I will consider. I would like to try and learn more about alternative sources to buy food from other than just supermarkets and if it does not come in plastic all the better.
I have been reflecting on why I feel so strongly about not wasting food.
It was something strongly ingrained into me as a child. My Nan had known what it was like to not have enough food, and so would say all kinds of things to get this message across.
When talking about the problems that come with life, she would say “Don’t worry boy, as long as you get your dinner every day.” Or when I was off to a party she wouldn’t say “Have a nice time” but instead say “Eat as much as you can.”
I worked at Yardley’s on a production line banging nylon balls into the top of roll-on deodorants with a wooden hammer, it was boring work and when I told Nan I was going to leave she reminded me about the staff canteen and that I got my cooked lunch every day. I did leave and went on to the next thing but often think about her advice.
In today’s terms I would have to say that throwing away food is throwing away money but to be honest it’s so ingrained in me not to waste food it just seems wrong. I think some of the new apps like ‘Too Good To Go’ and ‘Olio’ are great for avoiding waste and saving money. Have you tried them? I recommend them if you haven’t!
When I took the role of Climate & Ecology Ambassador it worried me that someone else would know so much more than me on this subject. Then I decided why not come at this with the same love of learning I have for computers and World War 2 history.
I am so lucky in this new role to get invited to meet and hear from some real experts. I’m loving it and enjoy sharing what I learn with you. I will keep learning, questioning, and sharing my take on what is such an important issue. I care about the world around me and want to keep what we all have.