The food that arrives on our plate at teatime isn’t simple as it first appears. Our food choice is influenced by so many factors: how much money we have in our pockets, our culture and lifestyle, and what is going on in our lives at the particular moment of buying food. Choosing what and how much we eat isn’t simple.

We now have more leisure time than ever before, yet we lead very busy lives. We have more disposable income but we demand cheap products, yet the average household throws £680 worth of food and drink away every year. Over the years we are cooking fewer meals from scratch relaying more on ‘heat and eat’ food, eating less as a family and purchasing more food that is wrapped in cellophane and is perfectly formed.

This has led to us feeling separated from the origin of our food and, unfortunately, a rise in diet related diseases. Cardiovascular disease is Manchester’s biggest killer and only 6% of our adult population are eating their ‘five-a-day’.

We rely heavily on food imports and an increasing population, climate change and rising food prices is putting more pressure on our food system (the production, processing and consumption of food).

Education and skills in healthy and sustainable food is at the heart of Real Food Wythenshawe – increasing awareness of the above issues and equipping residents with the knowledge and skills to make changes to their diet. Just by replacing one of the ‘heat and eat’ meals with a homemade meal made from ingredients that are in season can save money as well as providing good health benefits.

Replacing red meat on your plate with chicken or even having the odd meat free meal can lower your saturated fat and boost vitamin intake. Just these two simple changes can relieve the pressure on our environment.