How do you start the day?
I like to go for a walk at our local park with my husband Andrew and our dog, Billy. We hydrate, make coffee and have breakfast in our garden which is either sourdough toast, yoghurt or porridge. I usually am very productive with ideas and thoughts in the morning, so I like to write, and research current projects then. It is also a time I check in with my friends and family who live eight hours ahead in London. In the late morning, I take a break and do some movement which is either surfing, yoga on Sky Ting or a workout with my trainer, Joe Holder.
What do you turn to, to make you feel your best: food and all the other practices?
Walking, stretching, surfing, cooking, being in community with friends or through work.
What inspired you to be an advocate for the earth?
From an early age had this deep love and reverence for the ocean. It was seeing a place I loved (the ocean) being harmed that called me to advocate for the Earth and educate myself about the climate crisis and how we can adopt and support systems that put planet and people before profit.
What is the first meal that you remember?
There are multiple photos of me as a child with chocolate around my mouth, so I guess that has influenced my memory. I still love chocolate.
How did you get into cooking?
I have always loved to cook, but it was baking at first as a child. I loved making things with my hands and making a mess. But I think it was really living on my own for the first time when I had time and space to develop a passion for cooking. It became an act of self care and it helped me to transition my workday into evening. It also meant I could truly experiment and not be afraid to make mistakes.
What is your food philosophy?
I see food as nourishment and lean into what I feel I need that day. I feel privileged that food brings me joy beyond helping me survive. I look at the food I eat through the lens of the environment, and try to make choices that support regenerative agriculture.
What does a typical weekly farmer's market haul look like for you?
It will greatly depend on what is in season, I am lucky that in California the growing season is long, so what I have access to is plentiful. Currently it is tomatoes, salad varieties, cucumber and summer squash varieties. My favorite treat from the farmer's market is fruit that’s ripened on the tree or bush.
What's always in your fridge?
Homemade jam, some type of green, tomato paste, organic pasture raised eggs and chocolate.
What are your favorite easy swaps for a more sustainable fridge?
How to store food in the fridge is key to lowering waste and getting the most from what you’ve bought. I like to use glass and metal storage containers and Stasher bags.
What’s always in your pantry?
Oats, rice, pasta, beans, peanut butter and lots of spices!
Tell us about Go Gently and how it came to be?
I had been advocating for climate justice for a couple of years and always felt so inspired when I was part of a group action or a climate march. But when I came home, I felt hard to sustain that sense of hope. So, I began to look at ways I could take my action into the intimate four walls of my home and make my day-to-day life more in line with my values. From addressing my waste and purchasing habits, to how I was looking after and mending my things, to starting to make more things from scratch. I loved applying my practical approach to the huge and often overwhelming issue of the climate crisis. These small daily actions really helped me to feel more connected to myself, the human experience and therefore the Earth. I chose to write my book Go Gently about these quiet moments at home, as they have really given me the strength and patience to keep pushing forward on the larger collective and political actions.
How do you define being an "earthling?"
As an Earthling we are inhabitants of Planet Earth and share this home with all other living relatives. We are of Earth.
Eco-friendly tips for the environmental novice?
Taking action can be overwhelming as there are so many subjects under the umbrella of the environment. Find something you enjoy doing in your day-to-day life and see how you can make that more sustainable. I love to cook so I started addressing the environmental impact of the food I was buying first. If you intersect action with something you already find joy in, you will be more likely to commit in the long term.
Why “Go Gently?”
My title, Go Gently, is to illustrate that we must adopt both hard and soft mindsets when addressing change. With anger for the systems that are destroying the Earth there must come love to empower our action.
Nature makes me feel __ ?
Part of something magnificent.
What practices have you incorporated to reduce waste?
Not buying more than I need. Planning my week ahead also helps me reduce waste. As does: composting my organic waste instead of sending it to landfill, bringing my reusable containers and utensils when out or traveling, cooking more things from scratch instead of relying on prepared and processed foods, editing down the number of products I use in general (from household to beauty products), and buying products of a higher quality.
Favorite kitchen tool?
A spatula as it means I get every last drop of peanut butter out of a jar or sauce out of the blender.
What do you look for / avoid when food shopping?
I always ask myself a series of questions. How far did this travel to get to me? Is this vegetable or fruit in season in my local area or country? What were the conditions it was grown or made in? Which leads to thinking about the working conditions of those involved in getting that food to you. Are there any labels or certifications that help me identify the quality of the product? And lastly, what is it packaged in and can I recycle, up-cycle or compost it? If not, is there an alternative I can buy?
What would we be most surprised to find in your kitchen?
Currently I have my sewing machine in my kitchen as I am making some more reusable coffee and tea filters. I am sure there are other surprises, but to me they might seem completely normal. I love that about going to other people’s homes, you get great ideas for things you’ve overlooked.
Go-to meal that you make for yourself more often than not?
Pasta. To me, it’s the most soothing meal on earth. You can make it a million different ways and it can always taste different yet it always produces the same comforting feeling for me.
How do you end your day?
A final walk with our dog, some dark salty chocolate, mint tea and a good movie or book.
BONNIE'S BEET DIP
From, Go Gently
This vibrant beet dip has become a favorite, brightening any happy hour table, salad, or sandwich. I have shared this recipe with many friends and now you!
2 medium beets, washed and cut in half
1 (15 once) can white beans (I love to use cannellini beans) drained and rinsed
A generous handful of dill
¼ cup of walnuts
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a medium pot of salter water to a boil. Add beets and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until tender. When the beets are cooked, transfer them to a food processor and add all the remaining ingredients. Blend for a minute or two. I don’t over blend it as it’s nice to keep some of the texture of the beets and walnuts. Transfer the dip to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, then enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.