Archives for posts with tag: reblogs

New Year’s Resolution to experience and express gratitude– I’m grateful to people who work really hard on the issues I deeply care about.  Miles King is one of them. Here’s what he says about Brexit opportunities.

a new nature blog

pebble

I’m delighted to be able to tell you about this new report which is published today. It’s the first People Need Nature policy report – A Pebble in the Pond: Opportunities for farming, food and nature after Brexit. You can download it here.

Here’s the summary:

As England prepares to leave the EU we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the way we support England’s land managers.  This report shows how leaving the EU will enable us to channel money from the public purse to land managers in such a way that they can both produce food, help nature and provide all the other benefits society needs.

The last forty years of farm subsidies from Europe via the Common Agricultural Policy has contributed to a dramatic decline in nature on farmland – land that covers three quarters of England. The vote to leave the EU means we…

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I alway’s appreciate Elisabeth’s clear writing and logic. A good piece on what we might expect in the UK regarding the deregulations proponents of Brexit hope to bring to the UK.

Real Food Lover

gmo-free-europe-530x363 Image from Sustainable Pulse 

“Waiter, waiter, where is the genetically modified food on the menu?”

Do you know anyone clamouring to eat genetically modified (GM) food?

One of the many reasons I voted Remain in the 2016 referendum was because the European Union (EU) largely protects its citizens against this unproven technology.

EU – a buffer against GM

Look, I am not saying the European Union (EU) is perfect. It needs reform. Obvs. 

But, in some areas, it has acted on my behalf.

The EU has also largely prevented the commercial growing of GM crops, only giving permission for one GM crop to be grown. 

In addition, European consumers can make informed choices about whether or not to eat GM thanks to the EU insisting that GM ingredients are labelled (unlike in North America, where its citizens are now campaigning for GM labelling). 

(Sadly, the EU does not label…

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Tulips! Edible! A wonderful piece on the beautiful blog The Botanical Kitchen. Includes an excerpt from a book about eating and hunger in wartime Holland, to keep it real, and lots of lovely culinary inspiration, to keep it magical…

The Botanical Kitchen

Have you noticed that tulips are everywhere at the moment?  I’ve been about and about today and noticed all sorts of different varieties.  They are about the only plants that have come up at my allotment too.

Copyright Urvashi Roe_amsterdam-22Beautiful tulips blooming everywhere this Spring in London

TulipsHundreds of varieties at the flower markets

The first thought that has come to mind has been to wonder if they are an edible variety. Many varieties are edible.  There’s a great list in this article by a fellow Great British Bake Off Alumni, Lucy Bellamy.

Leaves or bulbs? 

Well the truth is they are both edible BUT you need to have the right variety and prepare them in the right way.  Otherwise you could get serious food poisoning!

The bulbs were a staple for the Dutch during the second world war as there were so many and Office for Food Supply  pronounced them fit for consumption and…

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My friend Charlie Spring is writing a brilliant and hilarious blog-travel-log about her time on a study fellowship in the US. “I’m going to spend the next two months in North America,” she writes, “meeting people who I hope can teach me lessons to bring home [to the UK]: about the entrenchment of food aid under austerity welfare conditions, about going beyond the food bank model, about participatory democracy and citizen involvement in food system decision-making and doing. About food justice, and food injustice.” Eagerly awaiting each new post, I heartily recommend you follow her writings. Here’s just one snippet that will lead you to more.

seekingsitopia

I was in a bad, cynical-feeling place when I got to Rainbow Grocery in the swelter of the day, having seen new dimensions of the homelessness of San Francisco. I felt guilty for entering this cool place of herbs, tonics, plinky music and funky coop members stacking kale chips in polka-dot party dresses, knowing I could afford this food, navigate the wealth of choice on offer. Sort of. Self-service (lots of it) flummoxed me- how much would a handful of decoriated cardamom cost when a pound would cost $50? Gah. You could self serve honey, roasted hazelnut-chocolate butter, tofu, kimchi, vegan chocolate-coated pretzels, pasta, tea, herbs, a million types of granola, dried persimmon, olives. You hold your little compost able bag and open the chute with a knob and gravity sends a landslide of mung beans out over the sides and you try to pull up the sides and once…

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“How do making dumplings help people learn English?” Here’s a link to a great project in Manchester, Heart and Parcel. I wanted to RE-BLOG this practical piece about the methodology of teaching ESOL through cooking, and to share the website in general with its fantastic dumpling recipes as well as interesting articles, particularly this one I felt, on Policy, Pierogi and the Perceptions of Women.

“The dumplings and wrapped foods that we make during our sessions are a vehicle. We are not making dumplings as a means to an end, nor do we expect that all women can make, or immensely enjoy, making dumplings. We are making dumplings as a distraction; to create the process by which our participants can explore their minds, their talent, their potential, either through the task at hand (maybe we will get fantastic dumpling makers!) or through conversations had between those women, through information and knowledge being shared and transferred from one woman to another, from one community to another.”

Heart & Parcel

There are currently many women living in Britain who have a wealth of pre-existing skills and resources to offer, but do not have the required English language level to do so. These are the women that Heart & Parcel aims to support.

What is ESOL and why is it in trouble?

The government offers ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision which is free English classes for migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers who come to Britain and need help learning the language. Due to media sensationalist coverage on ‘migrants’ and a highly politicized discourse, the general public have been ill-informed about who comes to this country, for what reasons and the amount of provision or hand-outs they receive.  This misinformation perpetuates a negative view surrounding those who require these classes. A combination of all these factors lead to funding for ESOL being insecure and unstable (Hamilton & Hiller…

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https://soundcloud.com/m-a-djeribi/ashraf-fayadh-a-melancholy-made-of-dough

 

The poet Ashram Fayadh is scheduled to be executed in Saudia Arabia. There is a call to read his poetry aloud all through today. There’s an appeal next week. Let’s keep hopeful: lots of publicity for his case, and maybe this Amnesty petition can help https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-ashraf-fayadh-saudi-arabia-palestinian-poetry-apostasy-execution

I chose this poem for its unusual and disturbing use of bread-baking imagery.

Arabic Literature (in English)

This poem, from Instructions Within (2008), was translated by Tariq al Haydar:

A Melancholy Made of Dough

Parts of you pile one on top of another—a mixture of your blood,
sweat, remains, and discharge from your eyes.
And discharge from your eyes.
The knot of your tongue at the midway point of the ocean,
and when the sphere of the sun swims
in a preconceived orbit—
Complications!

What the sidewalk never mentioned
is that you used to step on it
and present your shoes on a plate of concrete,
your feet on a plate of shoes,
your legs on a plate of your misfortune.
You tune the strings of your head to affect your foolish delight,
you bury a skull—you’d rather not bear.
You heap yourself on a slate that claims whiteness due to a fistful of flour—
and you ferment.
You swell and puff your sadness like a hot loaf

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Amazing loving solidarity work, feeding people in the refugee encampments in the cold, wet muddiness on the outskirts of Calais. Reblogging from ThatCan’tBeRightBlog.  Please share in your networks.

Just watched this inspiring talk via The Foodways Project, “an exploration of the intersection between food, identity, and power. [Their} mission is to undo racism through food-focused education, empowerment, and activism in a movement led by people of color.”

Visit their blog for a collection of video resources on the theme of Celebrating Indigenous Foodways for Native American Heritage Month, where I happened upon Valerie Segrest’s talk, linked above.

For Food System and Food Waste activists, please find linked below a very informative piece on the packing and distribution of vegetables and “surplus,” – a concept itself we might seek to re-imagine. One definitely sees supermarkets having too much market share and therefore power to define the situation in which waste is normalised. I’m all in favour of the middle-scaled ground of wholesaling with its chain through town markets and other smaller grocery venues attracting our customer support (a little different from farmers’ markets per se, which I also support). We need to furthermore be thinking about ethical and local procurement for schools, canteens, care homes etc., and councils can help with this, a level at which hopefully “stakeholders” from various points of view should have influence.

Of course wounds need plasters, and NO ONE SHOULD BE HUNGRY. But let’s be careful how we link food waste with hunger, because causes and effects of both are really complicated. For the moment I don’t give an automatic thumbs up to “solutions” that legislate that supermarkets give waste to charities, as this degrades value for farmers, enshrines waste in the system, and institutionalises a charity approach to hunger — let alone gives a message of shame to people needing social support and help. Food is a right and governments need to recognise this. More on these thoughts soon.

In the meantime, this is a really practical article (and blog in general) to get us thinking.

It’s great that the volume of this conversation keeps rising, at the moment thanks to Hugh’s War On Waste on television, and of course gratitude to all the background work done in food waste salvage from field to skip and community feast events and cafes in saving food and raising awareness.  I also see a great opportunity here in which the often polarised perspectives of farmers and environmentalists can be narrowed, because there’s so much room to work together on shared concerns as we re-localise, or at least, focus on smaller hubs of food production and consumption to reduce waste with all its ecological footprint and ensure value and reward for people who grow food.

systems4food

In my last blog I questioned the volumes of waste or rather surplus produce in the supply chain. I also raised the question why this surplus arises.
The majority of fresh produce in the UK is being grown for supermarket sales, as currently, apart from some relatively small volumes of local or direct sales, they are the only outlets that can handle the volumes required to give an economic return. There are secondary markets which include processing for freezing and manufacturing sectors, catering food service and  finally wholesale outlets. All of these markets have different requirements and what one sector wants is often different to others.
When planning a crop growers usually (almost always) have the end market in mind. The cropping plan, soils, fertiliser regime, pesticides applied, plant spacing, irrigation, harvest and storage conditions all determine the suitability of a product for its end market. Long gone are the…

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Heather Anderson is a give-you-goosebumps speaker, coming at the food-poverty system as a farmer, presenting ideas to build for Scotland a good food system instead, one that works for all “stakeholders,” including farmers. Read more of her here, on complicated CAP subsidies and directions agriculture in Scotland (and clearly elsewhere) needs to take:

https://heatherjanderson.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/farming-for-the-future/

heatherjanderson

Heather2b

Conference, we all now know that around 1 in 10 households in Scotland are food insecure – That means they worry every week if you are going to be able to put food on the table. Westminster austerity is taking another £10 per week from our poorest fellow citizens and it has no intention of giving it back.   As a percentage of income, the poorest 10% are already spending twice as much on their limited income on food. We all know that thousands of children in Scotland are going to bed hungry.

And then they get up and go to school hungry.

For the thousands of people who rely on food banks every week, they are a life-line. Donating food is what we do in an emergency and we must applaud everyone who is trying to do their best.

But conference, we have to get our heads the fact that we…

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