Our suggestions for ethical, local and sustainable gifts to buy.
Here’s a Christmas gift guide with a difference to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We’ve put together a list of presents and vouchers to buy which are local, ethical or for charity.
Recommended by the staff at the Food Partnership – many who are passionate gardeners, cooks, food waste warriors and food poverty battlers, the list contains lots of suggestions of ways you can make your gift-giving special without costing the planet or the earth.
Gifts for gardeners
Buy certified organic and permaculture grown plants locally
Buy edible flowers, fruits and plants from the Brighton Permaculture Trust if you go along on Thursday between 10 am to 3pm. All plants certified organic and grown locally. Prices are extremely good value and if you volunteer to help on the day, you can buy plants for a donation. Perfect for keen gardeners. Recommended by Sarah, our intern who volunteers with the Trust.
For people who love to garden whether it’s a window-box or a garden, What You Sow is full of gorgeous gifts which everyone will covet. Set up by Brighton-based Lyndsey Haskell who is a photographer and enthusiastic gardener who helped set up the Emmaus Greenhouse garden shop.
Gardener and Harvest Development Officer Helen Starr-Keddle recommended Espresso grow your own mushroom kits grown on coffee grounds donated from local cafes. She said: “I think this would be a great Christmas present.”
Food and cookery gifts
Project manager Chloe Clarke suggests buying keen cooks a voucher for a cookery course.
Learn how to prepare and fillet fish, dress a crab and prepare squid in a fish preparation course run by Fish at Hove Lagoon. Prices start at £30 a lesson and participants take home the fish they’ve prepared at the end. Gift vouchers available.
Buy a voucher for your foodie friends to learn how to make a range of breads at community enterprise Stoneham Bakehouse in Hove. You can also buy a voucher for a locally-made loaf of bread per week for a month.
Gifts for loaf lovers
Sign up your home bread baker to be a supporter of the Real Bread Campaign aimed at encouraging bread made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives.
Supporters receive True Loaf magazine and discounts on cookery courses and other benefits. Or buy Slow Dough: Real Bread, the campaign’s first recipe book.
Volunteer co-ordinator Jo Glazebrook recommends a trip to The FoodShed in the Open Market. They are a co-operative selling a range of locally made goods from food to toiletries to craft gifts and books. A treasure trove of local enterprise.
Nutritionist Rachel Coombs suggested an oil spray pumps. “Not the branded one-cal spray ones but the pump bottles you can buy. You make up the oil and flavour it with garlic, rosemary or chilli. A good way to save money and use less oil as it’s in a pump.”
Can be found in cookery shops, Ebay, Amazon.
Community Cookery Team Manager Alan Lugton recommends handy gadget Phresh Food Protectors. He said: “This little gadget is the one for me – it has a natural compound which extends the life of fruit and veg by days.” The product is part of a kickstarter campaign and will be ready for delivery in the next few weeks.
Husband and wife team Richard and Frances Beasley run Pinch Seasonings, their herbs and spices company from Hove. Many of their products are accredited organic by the Soil Association. Buy individual spices, mixes or gift boxes such as the Curry box or African and Middle East box are available online.
Why not give a local veg box delivery as a gift? Local veg box schemes include Ashurst Organics, Barcombe Nurseries, and Hankham Organics. See our list online.
Nutritionist Jo Lewin recommends a delicious gin and tonic made with Brighton Gin. Brewed locally, it’s growing in reputation as a gin of some refinement and is even sold in Harvey Nicks. For a list of stockists visit their website.
Visit the Old Tree Brewery to pick up some tasty alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks such as Elderflower bubbly, Christmas mead and kombucha.
Takeaway Heritage tells the stories of migrants and refugees who work in the restaurants and takeaways of Brighton. Volunteers at Refugee Radio and Euro-MERNET interviewed more than fifty people for their personal stories. Many told how welcoming and multicultural they found Brighton, a positive message especially in these times.
The book is 300 glossy pages, priced at £15.99 and is full of colour photographs of Brighton and Hove’s diverse food culture.
Available at City Books in Hove, as well as online via Amazon and its own website.
Community cookery manager Alan Lugton said:”If I had to recommend a book it would be A Girl called Jack by single mother Jack Monroe who writes about food poverty. Not just because she cooks on a budget but because Jack Monroe is incredibly creative with ingredients.”
For a huge range of permaculture books try Permanent Publications who produce books on sustainability, practical solutions for the home, garden and community, education, politics, economy, woodlands, food and cooking.
Our intern Sarah Davenport recommended Axe and Paddle Bushcraft. She said: “They make some lovely locally made things.”
Check out their hand-whittled cutlery starting at just £10 a knife.
The Wood Recycling Store have some beautiful gifts in their store and also produce one-off pieces of furniture made from recycled wood.
A gift to the birds. Providing food for winter birds is a gift to wildlife, a fun family activity, and it makes a thoughtful present. Make suet cakes from surplus fat/trimmings from a local butcher and leftover bits and scraps from your kitchen. Here’s a how-to article.
Support Fareshare. Food Poverty Action Plan project manager Emily O’Brien said; “If you’re shopping online at companies such as John Lewis, Tesco and Boots, you can sign up for website Give as you Live who will give a donation to your favoured charity for every purchase. You can help raise money for food waste distribution charity Fareshare .”
Project manager Chloe Clarke recommends Good Money gift vouchers. “These can be redeemed in a variety of local independent retailers, cafes, pubs, restaurants and other local businesses – much better than vouchers for all the big chain stores!”
For other ways to donate to local charities visit our Donating Food page.
Ethical gift wrapping
No-waste gift wrap. Get into furoshiki – the art of cloth gift-wrapping. There are plenty of free video tutorials online, or get creative on your own! To make it cheap & chic, just use a colourful thin cloth you already have, or a pretty scarf from the vintage shop bargain bin.
Look online for how to do it. Start by watching this video.