Category Archives: News

Food Hub Gardening Day – April 26th

resistenceisfertileSunday April 26th the Food Hub will be hosting another gardening day at Oaklands Park. Come and meet the Food Hub team, find out more about biodynamic growing and just have a lovely day out with like-minded folks.

One of the ways the Food Hub keeps the prices low is by doing a work exchange to pay our rent, so by coming and supporting this you are helping to keep real food a bit more affordable for everyone.

How to Get There
Oaklands Park is along the A48 between Newnham and Blakeney opposite the Awre turning. Meet at the garden buildings, a courtyard on the right hand side 100m past the the mansion.

Come for 11am. Bring something to share for lunch, pot-luck style.

Yorkley Court Open Day Saturday June 14th

yorkleyc

This is an open invitation to the Yorkley Court Community Farm’s Birthday celebration! We are 2 years old!

Join us on Saturday of 14th of June for a whole day of fun! There will be picnic, gardening, tour of the farm, games, crafts, medicinal herbage walk&talk and many more! Feel free also to throw you own ideas into the mix. Don’t forget important celebration components: bring yourself as well as friends and family, food to share, musical instruments, ideas. We shall start at around 12 noon and will carry on until we are all happy and tired.

So all of it will take place in the communal garden on the front field by the main gate. We are asking you to park your car opposite Yorkley Primary School and walk through the farm.

You can find us by following the public footpath (second public footpath sign you’ll see) from Yorkley Wood Road, pass the farmhouse, diagonally across the field (still the footpath) down the hill, as you go down the steps under some wild plum trees and hit the track turn left and follow it into the Celebration Field! There will be specially made signs to help you on your way
In case of bad weather, turn right and you will get to the kitchen in the nissen huts and probably find the party there! WE WILL HAVE FUN EVEN IF IT RAINS!

Though we don’t have proper disabled facilities, for those who cant reach us on foot, we can provide car access. . Get in touch before hand if you will need it. Also let us know if you have any other needs we can satisfy! You can contact by email or alternatively send text to 07514773297 (Masha)

Hope to see you there!

Food Hub Fun Days: April 12th and 13th

walk1-500x364Two big events are coming up for the Food Hub calendar next weekend. We hope you can make it to them!

Food Hub Gardening Day at Oaklands Park

Come along to Oaklands Park between 10am and 4pm on Saturday the 12th. We’ll be working in the garden, chatting about organic and biodynamic growing and we’ll have a shared meal for lunch so bring a contribution to the pot luck meal. A great opportunity to learn about biodynamic growing and help out both Oaklands Park and the Food Hub in one fell swoop.

Oaklands Park is along the A48 between Newnham and Blakeney opposite the Awre turning. Meet at the garden buildings, a courtyard on the right hand side 100m past the the mansion.

Shape the Future of the Hub on April 13th

Have a say in how your food system works! On the Sunday we’ll be hosting our first Seasonal Meeting, bringing together producers and consumers to discuss our food system, the Food Hub and how we can create a Food System that works for all of us. We hope this will be an inspirational session sparking lots of ideas for projects and activities in the coming months, along with generating ideas on how to improve the Food Hub for everyone involved.

We’ll start at 3pm at The Secret Forest in Clearwell with a tour of the Food Forester’s synergistic garden and a chance to explore the Secret Forest. Then at 4pm we’ll meet, chat and brainstorm for the months ahead. Meet some of the producers and steer the direction of the Hub. Or just come for the music afterwards.  Bring a dish to share and also consider supporting The Secret Forest cafe by buying a cuppa or cake as they have kindly offered their space to us.

The secret forest is just outside Coleford. From Coleford centre traffic lights by the Kings Head Pub follow the B4228 towards Chepstow. Continue on this road and straight over at the next traffic lights. Follow the signs for Clearwell. or Clearwell Caves. The entrance to The Secret Forest is opposite the entrance to Clearwell Caves carpark.

 

 

 

 

The largest land sale in the UK… for a quick quid.

The Co-operative Group wants to sell all of its land to the highest bidder, all to fund the losses of its appallingly run bank. To make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, they will try and sell to the highest bidder. But this is the biggest land sale in decades: that means over 50,000 acres of land under co-operative ownership could will be lost, just to fund the private investors plugging the gaps in the Co-op bank’s finances.Or, it could be the chance for a generation: a new generation of young farmers with a vision – a sustainable, equitable and truly cooperativevision, vital for the future of UK agriculture  – could be given the chance to access the land for the benefit of us all.

Tell the Co-op board to halt the fire-sale of their farms and give the farmers of the future the #timetobid

Or sign the petition…
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/sale-of-co-operative-group-farms

Intern Opportunity

We are looking to grow, and that means growing our team. Please circulate to anyone you think might be interested…

Dean Forest Food Hub are looking for someone in the Cinderford/Mitchelldean area to become the heart of our local food project in this part of Forest. This is an intern position, with the view of the right person becoming a full member within our workers cooperative.

Dean Forest Food Hub is a social enterprise working to create a vibrant local food culture in the Forest of Dean. We aim to make local food affordable and accessible by providing an easy way for local producers to get their produce onto local plates. As a worker’s cooperative the Food Hub is run by it’s workers. As a full member you will have an equal say in all decisions

What We Ask From You
-> You are passionate about local food!
-> You feel confident that you can encourage lots of people that live near you to sign up to order affordable local produce weekly by internet or phone.
-> You have a full driving licence and your own transport, so you can deliver boxes every week.
-> You can deliver boxes every Friday afternoon. Other commitments are flexible.

What We Can Offer
-> Incremental remuneration during the internship period:
Stage One: Travel Expenses (up to £15) and a £10 food hub voucher each week
Stage Two: Above plus £1.50 per order you generate.
Stage Three: Invitation to join the our Workers Cooperative, you will be equal to all other members and take part in all decisions.
-> A fun and fully integrated environment contributing to creating real social change in our community.
-> Flexible and autonomous work hours that can work around your other commitments.

Please Note: Even as a full member/owner of the co-op you will likely not be remunerated for more than 1.5 days of work per week, alongside other members. Please do not apply if this will not be appropriate for you.

To apply please email us at deanforestfood@gmail.com with:
-> Your name and contact details
-> No more than 250 word answer to the following question: What does local food mean to you?

Bring on a New Year of Local Food!

frozensavoy

Happy New Year Everyone! It’s great to be welcoming in 2014 with you.

We want 2014 to be a ground breaking year for local food in the Forest and further afield. Here are a few aims of the Food Hub for this coming year:.

  • Begin running Seasonal General Meetings, bringing together as many Food Hub consumer and producer members as possible to chat about how local food can nourish and flourish! Over a pot luck dinner.
  • Work with the Food Banks and local growers to provide a free or super-low cost mini veg box with recipes and contacts of local farms encourage volunteers and pay veg in exchange
  • Expand our range to include more dairy (cheese, milk), herbs, spices and other things YOU would like to see.
  • Support a free Plot-to-Pot workshop series in which participants learn how to grow their own fruit and veg and how to make it into year round seasonal tasty food.
  • Expand the info available on the website, with more resources, tips, tricks, events, updates and all the things a Hub website should host.
  • Connect with more local people who would like to buy local food. And connect with more local producers who would like an easy route to a local market.

So, 2014 promises to be a big year for the Food Hub. If you are not yet a member, sign up here and we’ll keep you fully informed with our weekly member email. And if you’d like to support any of the projects of activities you see here please contact us, we’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for supporting local food in the Forest!

 

New EU Legislation on Plant Reproductive Material

seedsovMany of you will be vaguely aware of new EU level legislation that is being pushed through regarding seed and plant reproductive material. This law will impact greatly on the rights of small scale producers and home gardeners, rendering heritage varieties illegal.

EU is preparing legislation that will make it illegal to grow crops that are not on a list of approved seeds. The allowed list is currently predominantly hybrids – which means that you can not take next year’s seed from the crop. Furthermore, not only will it be forbidden to sell other seeds than those already mentioned, but also to grow them.

Home gardeners and small scale producers will be the hardest hit, and the greatest beneficiaries will be the seed giants: Monsanto, AstraZeneca, Bayer and others.

It is difficult to fathom the amount of power these companies have, in persuading the EU government to pass a law that removes from the human the right to seed. Such a fundamental right… if they think criminalising this will keep us from our seed they have another thing coming.

We need to shout about this NOW. On December 4th the last modifications will be accepted for the bill, and in January the final bill will be voted on. SHOUT! NOW!

PLEASE email the South Wests MEP Julia Girling expressing your passion against this legislation.

linda@juliegirling.com

Subject: STOP EU Legislation on Plant Reproductive Material

Dear Julia Girling MEP,

Around 70% of the worlds food is currently produced by small scale producers and home gardeners, people who save their own seed and reproduce plants from cuttings. People who will effectively become criminals under this new legislation.

This legislation does not create a safer world. People are NOT currently in danger because people grow food from seed they save. This legislation does not benefit your constituency.

This legislation does benefit large corporate entities such as Monsanto, AstraZeneca, Bayer. These companies can afford to put their hybrids and GMO seed on the approved list. And these companies will be the people policing this law.

This legislation is clearly a crime against humanity.

We NEED to change this legislation. Make the approved plant list voluntary. This simple change will have the same benefit to large organisations wishing to ensure the quality of their seed, and will protect the rights of home gardeners and small scale producers.

As the voice of the people of the South West of England, please, do what is right.

Kind Regards,
[enter your name here]

Monsanto and GM Foods

One of the very best reasons for buying organic food is that no toxic chemicals have been used anywhere in its production. Before 1948, when DDT was introduced, people generally used very few chemicals in farming, but since then the number and toxicity of these had skyrocketed, and most of them are not properly tested, nor their effects on humans and animals tracked. In 1962, Rachel Carson shocked the world with ‘The Silent Spring’, charting the galloping environmental damage of pesticide use, and sadly, since then usage has continued unabated.

The most alarming of these is Glyphosate, marketed as Roundup by Monsanto. This company, one of the heirs of IGFarben – if you don’t know about them, Google it! – made Agent Orange, dioxins and poly chlorinated biphenols (PSBs) and in producing Glyphosate has inflicted upon the world a deeply destructive and damaging chemical whose use is increasing annually.

Monsanto is one of the world’s largest companies, owning 23% of the world’s global seed market (1). Just stop a moment and think what that means. It accounts for 91% of GM foods planted worldwide (2), so that from a planetary health point of view it’s one of the world’s most destructive companies It appears that among Roundup’s nastier effects is the encouragement of fungal disease (sudden oak death, Phytophthora, Fusarium, whilst also ramping up virulent microbes in the soil which upsets the healthy balance of microorganisms on which all life depends (3). Just projecting forward a decade or two, we may have lost most of our tree species and rendered the soil unfit for growing food altogether.

And that’s before we consider the unintended effects of Genetic Modification! In UK there has been very strong resistance to GM food, with good reason. Look at the excellent site GMWatch.co.uk for increasing evidence of genetic damage to pigs, cows, rats and of course humans.

In recent months many of the major supermarkets have announced that the meat they sell will have been fed on GM foods, and if you buy these or anything made with soy, maize or tomatoes, they are likely to have unlabelled GM ingredients (4).

It’s in the interest of all humans present and future to avoid GM and pesticide ridden foods, and for those who have the energy, support the organisation working to resist the invasion of money-before-health principles.

What do Egg Standards Really Mean

There is a lot of confusion surrounding egg labeling. Woodland, barn, free-range… what do they really mean? We want to make sure the eggs we buy are good for us, the hens and the planet so we investigated this a little further.

DEFRA (Department of Environment, farming and rural affairs) gives a minimum standard for the 4 major categories of eggs, cage, barn, free-range and organic. Added to this are somewhat vague terms like woodland and more rigorous standards like demeter.

Cage

A cage system consists of tiers of cages. The cages have sloping mesh floors so that the eggs roll forward, out of the reach of the birds to await collection. For each cage there must be at least 10cm of feed trough/bird and at least two drinkers/cage or 10cm of drinking trough/bird. Droppings pass through the mesh floors onto boards, belts or into a pit to await removal. A minimum of 550cm squared per bird is required in standard cages.

This is equalivalent to 4 chickens per metre. Though the UK is working toward a phase out of conventional cages, the new standards are only a slight improvement.

Barn

The barn system has a series of perches and feeders at different levels. The maximum stocking density is 9 birds per square metre and there must be at least 250cm square of litter area/bird. Perches for the birds must be installed to allow 15 cm of perch per hen. There must be at least 10cm of feeder/bird and at least one drinker/10 birds. There must be one nest for every 7 birds or 1 square metre of nest space for every 120 birds. Water and feeding troughs are raised so that the food is not scattered.

Free range

In free-range systems, the birds are housed as described in the barn system above. In addition birds must have continuous daytime access to open runs which are mainly covered with vegetation and with a maximum stocking density of 2,500 birds per hectare.

Woodland

The term ‘Woodland’ is not an official standard, and has been used by many egg producers as a mere marketing ploy. There is no legal requirement that the hens were within miles of a tree. That is not to say some Woodland eggs are genuine and provide a more natural habitat, merely that it is not guaranteed.

No system other than organic makes any requirement to the quality of the food of the hens. In many systems it is not profitable to keep the hens over the winter when the laying slows, so considerations for health only span for an 8 month period. Food and medicines that would have long term, harmful effects are used without consideration.

Organic

Organic systems are similar to those of free range however the guidelines for the birds and their feed are more stringent. The pullets must be raised by certified organic production methods from birth. The layers are required to have outdoor access all year round, or be fed sprouted grains for the period when indoors and all feed must be certified organic. No antibiotics or meat by-products are allowed in the feed and each bird is required to have 2 square feet of floor space.

Even in organics, although the feed must be organic (meaning non-GM among other things) it can come from any part of the world and does not necessarily have to be closely related to a chickens natural diet. This should include a range of bugs and insects, but even in organics this does not come into play.

Demeter

This is the biodynamic standard, the most rigorous standard in the UK. It requires that the farm is diverse, chemical and pesticide free, with much lower stocking densities and higher feed standards than any other standard. The difference in biodynamic farming is the level of attention the farmer gives to each element of the land, and the understanding that farming is a complex relationship between all the plants, animals, people and other influences, so all must be considered to do it well.

Labeling is a tricky business, and complicated further by foreign imports with more relaxed standards to ours. However, perhaps all these standards just make us complacent. If you can talk to the producer you can get a feeling for how much they care, and this is perhaps the most important factor.

And you can taste the difference. The taste will tell you how nutritious it is. A super tasty egg can fill you up for longer than 4 average eggs. So are those nasty caged eggs really cheaper?

Don’t miss our introductory offer: Dom from Oaklands Park is offering his amazing biodynamic eggs at only £1.35 per half dozen!!!