Land & Food Links

A quick follow up for any of you who loved the In Our Hands event at The Bookshop this month.

Averil Clother from Brightspace Foundation messaged with some links for you all:

Herefordshire Food Links is an online directory for local businesses, food producers, retailers etc. Add yourselves to the Directory online at the “Join” section of the site:
If you have any problems using this or wish to add anything more / other information to the listing, contact Averil direct: averil@brightspacefoundation.org.uk.
And on 25th June Dan Kettridge will be coming to Smiling Tree Farm – just over the border near Bishops Castle in Shropshire. Not many have heard of him in the UK yet but apparently he’s a hugely inspirational speaker. Through his highly acclaimed seminars on Principles of Biological Systems Dan has worked with growers across North America to better understand how to work synergistically with nature in the agricultural context. Thanks to Robert Milne for letting us know – and check on Smiling Tree Farm website for more details of this and other food & land based activities & events: www.smilingtreefarm.com

May’s Green Network Gathering: In our Hands

Our next Network Gathering will be a pop-up cinema!

Alice, HGN member has been wanting to show this film in Herefordshire for a while and we are finally showing it – thanks to A Rule of Tum for hosting at their Bookshop Restaurant.

16th May 7.30pm The Bookshop

In Our Hands is the story of what small farmers are doing for the future of our food system post-Brexit.  There is a growing movement of farmers and food workers who are creating vibrant farms, living soils, thriving food markets and a fairer food system for all.

As one farmer in the film says – “The backbone and the bread and butter of this country has been the farmer… we should be able to make a profitable living but that’s not the case”

Alice says: ” This is what we need in Herefordshire, to return to a more local, sustainable food system, that provides local farmers and growers with a decent wage. This film is what our future is all about – how we produce food.”  Alice grew up on a small holding near Ledbury and was inspired to get into commercial growing after an apprenticeship with the Soil Association Future Growers scheme. She now works at Arkstone Mill organic veg box scheme, who will be one of the local producers showcasing their wares on the night. She would like to find ways for more young people to stay farming locally: “It’s very difficult for younger people who’ve grown up with farming to stay in it, if there is no family farm to inherit. It’s hard to see how we can find our own farms and land.”

Herefordshire Green Network is proud to be promoting this film, and looking forward to bringing local farmers together alongside the people that eat their food every day.  Despite recent changes, this county still has a high percentage of small to medium size farms, plus many people who would like to be farming on a smaller scale.

We hope this film will feed into conversations about food production for farmers and small-holders alike.  Please spread the word on Facebook Instagram and Twitter – thanks!

Tickets are completely free for the film, book a place at this link

This is being shown as part of two HGN events celebrating land and farming in May: the other is Three Acres and A Cow, a show touring the country connecting the Norman Conquest with fracking, Brexit and everything in between.  It’s been getting rave reviews and we’re proud to have it here in Herefordshire at Canon Frome Court on 13th May.

3 Acres & A Cow

… a history of land rights and protest in folk song & story – its FIRST OUTING in Herefordshire…

Come to a right romp through history next weekend!

‘Three Acres And A Cow’ connects the Norman Conquest with current issues like fracking and Brexit via the English Civil War, Industrial Revolution and plenty more besides – through songs, stories and poems.

 

“Totally knocked sideways by this show – for goodness sake, go see it while you can!” Lydia – more reviews here

Part TED talk, part history lecture, part folk club sing-a-long, part poetry slam, part storytelling session… Come and share in these tales as they have been shared for generations.

 

The family-friendly, afternoon will have tea, cake, and a bar available and there will be a farm tour afterwards. The setting is the picturesque community of Canon Frome Court.  Get your ticket here

Hosted by Herefordshire Green Network to run alongside our HGN Gathering on the 19th May: In Our Hands

Food Rescue – what next..

This is a call out to those of you who came along to our HGN Gathering on Food Rescue in January…

Along with the Herefordshire Food Poverty Alliance we are starting an exciting conversation about developing some funded local projects. Many of you had projects that you were beginning to set up or talked about that evening: a local community fridge, a local food hub, food social clubs, school holiday food clubs, local gleaning projects and also of course a local Food Rescue inspired by the work of Worcester Food Rescue.

If you have bright ideas and local connections or would just like to be part of taking these conversions further please could you get in touch asap (email kate@hgnetwork.org), so that we can make sure that your project idea is firmly in the pot as funding bids are developed.

Please pass this message on to others who you think might otherwise miss it…

Fairtrade Fortnight!

Millions of farmers and workers are still being unfairly treated despite working hard to provide the products we love. Unfairness in global trade is rooted in centuries of exploitation. Producers are fighting for a fair deal, supported by Fair-trade, earning their way out of poverty and transforming their communities.

For those of you in the north of the county, you might want to join in with Ludlow’s celebrations of Fairtrade Fortnight:

This year Ludlow Fair Trade Town Group is celebrating 15 years since being awarded Fairtrade status at the end of 2002. We’ll have events and activities throughout the year as well as in Fairtrade Fortnight.

Events and Activities in Ludlow:

Look out for Fairtrade displays in shops and cafes in Ludlow and choose Fairtrade products they supply.

Throughout the fortnight and beyond, St Laurence’s Church will host a Traidcraft stall of food and crafts

Saturday 3 March: 10 – 2 Traidcraft Big Brew, supporting Hidden Entrepreneurs’ Appeal, Wesley’s Café, Ludlow Methodist Church Broad Street. Also special fair trade food in Café.

Thursday 8 March: 10 – 2 Fairtrade Stall at Local Produce Market Castle Square

Thursday 8 March: 10 – 12 Schools day Methodist church

Saturday 10 March: 10 – 4 Traidcraft Spring Mini Fair Ludlow Mascall Centre – browse the new spring collection of handmade, original crafts and buy chocolate and Easter eggs ready for 1st April.  Download a poster here.

Sunday 11 March: Big Brew refreshments after the morning service in St Laurence’s Church, supporting Traidcraft Exchange Hidden Entrepreneurs’ Appeal.

 

And Ludlow Fair Trade Town Group will be supplying a Fairtrade football to a number of schools to help promote Fairtrade in schools.

The Polish Feast!

Banish the Winter Blues at Hereford’s First Fabulous Polish Dining Experience – a fundraising event for Hereford River Carnival organised by their brilliant friends at Old Granary Pierogi and Left Bank Village.  It promises to be a great night so tell all your friends!

  • Six-course tasting menu
  • The finest, freshest Polish food from the team behind the award-winning Old Granary Pierog i Bring your friends and join the riverside party (flexible seating to accommodate parties of up to 10)
  • £40 per head to raise funds for Hereford River Carnival 2018

Places are strictly limited to 50 so spread the word and encourage people to sign up fast.

HGN are currently planning an h.Energy Village as usual for this year’s Hereford River Carnival on Saturday 5th May. We are also devising some fun awareness raising activities around single-use plastic and local food issues. Hereford River Carnival have been great friends to us over the years supporting the h.Energy message – this is a fun way to give back to their fundraising efforts for this fabulous community event.

Book tickets direct from Left Bank Village, and look at the gorgeous full menu here:  www.herefordleftbank.com Or contact stuart@rivercarnival.org

Dean Organic Fund …

… for small-scale organic/ecological growers and food businesses:

The Organic Research Centre, a leading independent research charity, has launched the new Dean Organic Fund at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. The fund offers interest-free loans, typically ranging from £5,000 to £25,000, to small-scale organic/ecological growers and food businesses.

The Dean Organic Trust was established in 1993 by Jennie Bone and following her death in 2016, the Dean Organic Trust’s assets and a legacy from Jennie Bone’s estate were transferred to the Organic Research Centre to create a significantly larger Dean Organic Fund.

Professor Nic Lampkin, from the Organic Research Centre, said, “The Dean Organic Fund is a rare opportunity for small-scale organic and similar operations to access interest-free loans. Jennie Bone was passionate about conserving wildlife in the farmed environment and she widely encouraged and promoted the environmental benefits of organic farming and growing. We are delighted to continue Jennie’s fantastic legacy and will look forward to receiving applications from eligible businesses.”

The Organic Research Centre is inviting applications for interest-free, unsecured loans from organic farmers and food producers who wish to expand their enterprises by investing in equipment or stock or would benefit from other working capital. The fund is also open to those producers that are not certified organic but whose operations are closely aligned with organic principles. The loans are repayable over periods of up to five years and applications are welcome from companies, sole traders, community or social enterprises and charity-owned businesses.

Further details and application packs are available through the Organic Research Centre’s website: www.organicresearchcentre.com or by email to Nic Lampkin on nic.l@organicresearchcentre.com.

Gleaning…

One of the outcomes of our HGN Food Rescue discussions on Wednesday last week at the HGN Gathering was an interest in Gleaning.

There is a national Gleaning Network – supported by the organisation Global Feed Back. For more information or to join, click here: https://feedbackglobal.org/campaigns/gleaning-network/

… and keep HGN in touch if you have any ideas for starting Gleaning Days in Herefordshire. We can plan ahead for autumn pickings pretty nicely from here, and I’m sure lots of us would want to join you…

HGN Gathering – Coming to your … Food Rescue

On Wednesday 17th January in the dark atmospheric basement of the Left Bank Speakeasy around 25 people came together to shed light on local food waste, with the aim of developing some local grass root community responses.

Tony Kennall and Patrick Vansloun of the Worcester Food Rescue project described their impressively organised approach to their city food waste. They took us step by step from their initial discussions with supermarkets through to coping with Christmas 2017 – and the huge volume of surplus food they have been able to keep out of landfill and re-distribute to communities over this period … and the mountain of landfill food waste that is still beyond them.

Jacqui Allsop of Hereford Food Bank brought us up to date with the situation in Hereford city. The Food Bank provides emergency food to those who have been referred to the service. Hereford Food Bank has only very limited capacity to store donated food, and has to carefully manage the logistics of collection and re-distribution of food, and the constantly increasing referrals from local agencies. Jacqui also described hot food provision in the city – which is available daily to anyone who needs it.

Peter Norton of Brightspace Foundation then focused on the issues of hunger and food insecurity. A recent Oxfam report showed that more than 500,000 people in the UK are now dependent on food parcels… a shocking figure in the 7th most wealthy nation in the world. In Herefordshire more than 2000 people accessed the food bank last year, and as Jacqui described this figure only includes those in crisis and referred into the service. Countless others are invisible to the statisticians – and it is partly in response to those in need but not receiving help that Pete is developing a Food Poverty Alliance for Herefordshire.

The presentations left us all thinking, and after some discussion and mindmapping of ideas the group highlighted some possible areas of interest & action to take forward. We particularly focused on the problems of rural isolation and the cost of local public transport, and the need for support to be made more available within our rural communities.

  • Community Food Hubs. We discussed various approaches to the idea of a Food Hub:
    • A model that would work in the same way as local Food Assemblies (links below)
    • Community Fridge. This might be based at a central location but with local outlets in the villages around Herefordshire.
  • Food Social Clubs – making use of existing local centres such as churches and community centres and combining food collection (either direct from Supermarkets following the Food Rescue approach or from a central Community Fridge) and distribution that would be available for all. This could be supported by local social activities such as cooking, preserving, shared music and gleaning.
  • Gleaning – using surplus food direct from growers. People suggested that we might explore working with local growers such as Arkstone Mill or Canon Frome Court, and explore options around juicing fruit to ensure it can be stored and used. For more information there are links below to Worcester Gleaning group and West Country Gleaners.
  • School Holiday Food Clubs. Peter described statistics that show 3 million children currently go hungry during school holidays, and activities around schools as food distribution and provision centres are increasingly important. Holiday projects based in our local schools could include food growing and cooking alongside other activities. Funding would be needed to cover the cost of heating and cooking, and projects might need to borrow community centre kitchens. Saxon Hall in Hereford already offers a holiday club on this basis.
  • Legislation. It was broadly agreed that tackling the root problems of surplus is paramount, with people suggesting that supermarkets should be fined for overstocking. Changing the law on ‘best before’ dates should also be considered.

 

We will return to food insecurity as an issue at our HGN Gathering on the 16th May 2018. If in the meantime anyone would like to start to explore ways of developing one of these ideas – or other ideas, such as the city Food Rescue project – please get in touch and HGN will support you.

More information is given via the links below.

And if you would like to donate to the Hereford Food Bank ideally phone or email to see what they need before going along. Please also always ensure that food is within its best before date, otherwise the Food Bank has to pay for its disposal as ‘waste’…

 

Links:

Worcester Food Rescue, and an article about the project here.

Hereford Food Bank

Herefordshire Food Poverty Alliance: Good Food For All

Food Assemblies

Community Fridge

Food in Community CIC Totnes

Worcester Gleaning group

The Gleaning Network

 

To get in touch with HGN email kate@hgnetwork.org 

Food Rescue…

OUR FIRST HGN GATHERING OF THE NEW SEASON! Wednesday 17th January 7.30pm at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Hereford, all welcome.

 

Global news in January is often difficult to stomach. 2017 is now officially the hottest year on record and forecasters are predicting increasingly arid landscapes around the world. Here in the Herefordshire in the winter grey, mud and rain that seems hard to imagine – but what we are confronted with is record levels of use at UK food banks, and 19% of households in Herefordshire now officially defined as living in poverty.

In a food-producing county no one should go hungry, and at our first Herefordshire Green Network Gathering of the New Year we invite you all to join a discussion about local food waste and food poverty.

Speakers include Tony Kennall from Worcester Food Rescue, an innovative local project that is dedicated to diverting end of shelf-life food from landfill to charitable organisations, plus Peter Norton of the Herefordshire’s Brightspace Foundation who is currently working with local organisations to develop a new food poverty alliance and strategy for the county, and he will share details of that project with us. We will also be joined by Jacquie Alsop, coordinator of Hereford Food Bank.

Bring along your questions and your ideas. Our aim is to gain some understanding of this issue, and explore our options for making a positive local change.

Hope to see you there.

 

 

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