Anna Louise Batchelor:
Last week I attended the 'away day' of the Soil Association Standards Board. As a newly appointed board member a two-day meeting loomed large on my calendar, nearly as large as the parcel of papers I received to read in advance. Armed with papers and PJ’s I travelled to Stroud, Gloucestershire to join the board at Hawkwood College.
02 December 2013 | 1 Comments
| Recommended by 1 Ben Raskin:
What's the latest on the EU seed directive? Any hope that the EU Parliament might improve the bill seems unlikely. In particular the microbusiness exemptions have been totally removed with both committees apparently obsessed by linking commercial activity (however small) to control of variety, rather than the eventual market.
28 November 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 0 Lynda Brown:
Roast Dinner Day is obviously popular, so here's an account of mine which I was fortunate enough to be invited to enjoy at Coln House school in Fairford, near Cirencester who currently have a Food for Life Partnership Bronze Award but who have their sights set on Gold. It's a state-funded Special Needs residential school (9-16 years), though you only need one look at their website to know that this school is special in so many ways. 'Going the extra mile', 'from farm to plate', and 'good food is a right not a privilege' could have been written especially for them.
25 November 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 0 Holly Black:
What a brilliant excuse to have the most popular meal of the week twice! In celebration, Simon (the Catering Mark's newest member of staff!) and I stopped off at Ashton Vale Primary School in Bristol to have our roast dinner with some pupils. Ashton Vale has been doing some amazing work as part of the Food for Life Partnership - and this is visible right from the word go.
20 November 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 0 Anna Louise Batchelor:
I’ve written before on my love of supperclubs and how fantastic it is that organic chefs are embracing them as a way of connecting diners to where their dinner comes from. So when I got the chance to eat at Sandy Lane Farm's supperclub in the farms very own barn! I jumped up the opportunity.
19 November 2013 | 4 Comments
| Recommended by 3 Ben Raskin:
“The recommendation of pinching out the growing tip of plants when in full flower, is to remove the exact bit that is attractive to blackfly. Unfortunately, spring -sown plants often aren’t big enough to do this when the blackfly move in. Anyway it is suggested that this succulent young growth can be used like spinach; this is second only in repulsiveness to eating the young pods, Nevertheless it would be a shame to waste an edible plant part, so lose it in a stew. Nutrition of this leafy green morsel will be marginally higher if the blackly have already found it.”
07 November 2013 | 2 Comments
| Recommended by 2 Lynda Brown:
Last week I attended my first Soil Association Council meeting, so I thought it an opportunity to say, first, my very sincere heartfelt thanks to all the Soil Association members who voted for me; and second, what a privilege it is to be part of such an inspiring organization. Being on Council will enable me to learn more about this great organic movement from the inside, which, of course, hopefully means I can help spread the organic word with even more organic zeal on the outside. There are several exciting organic initiatives in the pipeline, so watch this space, and prepare to love your Soil Association even more.
05 November 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 0 Kathie Auton:
We grow amazing pumpkins and squash in this country. Anyone getting an organic veg box will probably be being treated to many glorious examples of this type of thing. And to really celebrate properly, you should be getting your hands on one of the smaller pumpkins out there. The huge supermarket ones may be good for carving a spooky face on, but they aren’t as tasty. If you’re at all stuck for something to do with your pumpkin flesh, then here are a few ideas.
30 October 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 2 Kathie Auton:
In January of this year I wrote this blog post about food waste - Get cooking and stop chucking. And here we are 9 months on and it's in the headlines again. Food waste déjà vu. Now, I could make some facetious comment about the fact that this - not being a new thing - is not news, but what's different this time is that Tesco has something to say about it.
23 October 2013 | 2 Comments
| Recommended by 1 Low Stanger Farm:
Our seed trials are drawing to a close, although we are still harvesting the trial carrots, and have yet to harvest any of the sprouts. The tomatoes are almost over, unusually we have not yet had a killing frost. The chocolate cherry have proved to be a late producing tomato, and are still ripening. Personally, I find the colour, while delightfully chocolatey, a little offputting! However, it does have some merit as a late cropper.
21 October 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 1 Lynda Brown:
My head is still reeling from the fascinating but also alarming statistics I heard on BBC radio 4’s Shared Planet yesterday, presented by the Soil Association’s president, Monty Don. The programmed covered how soil is the biological engine of the Earth, yet is the world’s least understood eco-system; how there are 50,000 different types of soil, home to 1/3 world’s living organisms (including a 100 billion types of bacteria and 10,000 tiny organisms); how its fuel is organic matter, and how its health and biology is regulated by its structure; how earth worms are the vital player, moving as much soil as tractors; how 95% of our food depends on soil, yet we are losing it 50 times faster than it can be replaced; how soil acts as the primary filter for our drinking water (and how water companies have to treat it to rid it of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers); how soil is the largest reservoir of carbon on earth, out performing rain forests; how bacteria secrete compounds that provide the ‘glue’ to make strong soil structure, trash bacteria and you trash the structure; and so on.
16 October 2013 | 2 Comments
| Recommended by 5 Helen Browning:
The last two days has brought into sharp relief the challenges, tensions and opportunities we face as a movement, and as an organisation. We saw so clearly, on the first day, the huge benefits of our 'good food for all' work that embraces a wider public, that starts with us listening and seeking to understand, and helping with the baby steps. Of working in partnership, of occasionally having to bite our tongue, of having our eyes opened to some realities that don’t fit with our relatively privileged experience or view of how the world should work.
11 October 2013 | 1 Comments
| Recommended by 0 Lynda Brown:
Next Sunday, 20 October, will find me at the first Wells Food Festival and I’m hoping that anyone interested in food - especially supporting local food producers, that live in the area, will be there too. I’m making the effort to go to this one firstly because it is determinedly local; secondly because they’ve got some interesting ‘walks and talks'; thirdly because they’ve got a debate on milk, (a subject close to my heart) chaired by Soil Association trustee Joanna Blythman; and finally because the beautiful market town of Wells is now the latest rural market town to fall victim of the SS - Supermarket Saturation.
10 October 2013 | 2 Comments
| Recommended by 1 Lizzi Testani:
When I went to visit the bubbly team making cheese at Simon Weaver Cotswold Organic Dairy during Organic September, I discovered the many ways their operation is unique and particularly in keeping with the 'innovation' theme of this year’s Soil Association Annual Conference. Firstly, they stand out for making local styles of cheese (Single Gloucester and Cotswold Blue) alongside international styles (Brie, Mozzarella and Greek) with milk that is anything but long-haul.
09 October 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 0 Sebastian Parsons:
My two sisters and I have owned Rush Farm since 2005, and our parents run it as a biodynamic and organic farm. Thanks to these wise farming practices, the soil is revitalised and carbon-rich, wildlife has returned, and our farm animals manifest positive health. Rush Farm brings life back to the countryside people-wise too: our on-farm eco-business park is home to 19 businesses employing over 100 local people.
07 October 2013 | 3 Comments
| Recommended by 1 Rachel Harries:
As part of an EU learning exchange on access to land I recently spent four days in Lithuania. What I found was a country of contrasts, a beautiful very old town bordered by brutalist Soviet architecture, miles upon miles of high rise concrete blocks, and endless dense pine forests interspersed with villages of wooden houses, pasture with solitary cows and large arable fields, many growing buckwheat.
04 October 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 1 Lizzi Testani:
One of the often unsung benefits of organic food is the (often short) and transparent supply chains they produce. To celebrate Organic September, I decided to investigate how one woman put her exasperation with conventional food supply to good use by creating an exciting, grassroots solution for communities across London.
03 October 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 0 Lynda Brown:
Thanks to a friend who did it for me, I've just signed up to Twitter – @lyndaingarden. Yes, I know I'm a wimp and it's taken me forever, but when it comes to social media I'm an out and out laggard. It feels a bit like first day back at school , very exposed and dead nervo
02 October 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 0 Charmaine Coutinho:
The last month, has seen our friends at the Soil Association holding its Organic September campaign, Small Changes, Big Difference. It’s a campaign designed to encourage people to switch to organic products by making one small change at a time that ultimately, will make a big difference. Changing to organic milk for example. Or organic fruit and veg. Or maybe making your weekly Sunday roast dinner an organic one. There are plenty of things to do and the Soil Association has been making daily suggestions to give you some inspiration.
01 October 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 3 Skye Grove Organics:
Tomatoes were grown in polytunnels, horse manure and comfrey and hand watered. Galina has proved to be a robust strong tomato with energy enough to support several leaders, I have trained up to 3 or 4 leaders off each plant.
30 September 2013 | 0 Comments
| Recommended by 0