Report – ‘Growing Food Locally’ 8th March 2012

MOVE ALL BELOW THIS TO THE REPORTS OF MEETINGS PAGE, can this be one drop down page per report?

Firstly we showed two short films about ‘food miles’ and ‘waste’. We throw away an incredible THIRD of what we buy, that’s 6.7 million tonnes a year! The top of the list is potatoes 359,000 tonnes, bread 328,000 tonnes and apples 190,000 tonnes. One quarter of what we throw away is still in it’s original packaging. To see the short film we showed:

On ‘food miles’ we found out that apples from the USA travel 3,675 miles, grapes from Chile 7,165 miles and new potatoes from Israel 2,212.

Incidentally potatoes from Israel are grown in the desert from seed potatoes shipped from Scotland, they need constant water which comes from an underground source or the Nile, and fertilisers. They pack the potatoes in peat extracted from bogs in Ireland to be shipped back to the UK, a round trip of 11,500 miles.  Next time you buy potatoes check where they are produced and If you want to know more:

We then showed a film made by Transition Forest Row ‘Growing Food Locally’. Apart from it being wonderfully sunny there,  they are lucky to have a couple of small farms locally, including a dairy herd. They have also established a community owned farm, as well as having a garden share scheme. In 2009 they produced a local food directory. They have tried to estimate how much basic food stuffs the village needed.  They are all very committed to trying to make Forest Row as self reliant as possible in food. If you missed the film:

After the films we discussed what will happen when inevitably the price of oil goes up dramatically increasing prices of food shipped to the UK from around the world.  How could we produce, source and buy more local food? We had various ideas including:

  • Making directory of local foods and producers
  • Starting a community garden for growing friut & veg and as a community centre for socials and education
  • Setting up a food swap system for when we have excess produce
  • Cropping for the local shops to sell
  • Mapping fruit trees across the village

Phew! We have lots of ideas but we could do with more help to get off them off  the ground! If you would like to help with any of these projects, or have some ideas of your own,  please do get in touch with us. Or come along to our next meeting 12th April, 7.30pm at the APMH. We are showing a film made by David Attenborugh ‘ The Truth About Climate Change’.

Age of Stupid

It’s late notice but I’ve just spotted that “The Age of Stupid“, starring Pete Postlethwaite, is being shown on BBC4 tonight Monday 14th December at 10pm. It depicts the results of failing to respond to the challenge of reducing carbon emmissions – not a barrel of laughs but thought-provoking. Watch it and make your own mind up!

Blog Action Day ’09 | Climate Change

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day October 15, 2009 will be the largest-ever social change event on the web. This year the issue is climate change and the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

So if you write a blog, for one day, on October 15th, write about climate change.

To help you start thinking, here are a few ideas from their site, about how you might connect climate change to things that you might already write about:

  • A Technology or Business blog might write about emerging clean tech and how innovative companies might be able to help address the problem of climate change.
  • A Health or Lifestyle blog might write about how climate change will affect our children’s health and daily living.
  • A Nonprofit or Political blog might write about how climate change is deeply connected to many other issues – such as poverty and conflict.
  • A Design blog might write about new trends in eco-friendly or sustainable design.
  • A Travel blog might write about the places you want to see now before climate change makes them difficult to access or, well, under the sea.

Check out for more information.

Kenn Jordan

What Kind of future do you want for Ashtead?

We have joined the Transition Network which has rural and urban communities, all over the UK and internationally, actively involved; including Tooting, Horsham, Dorking, Lewes, Totnes and York plus many more besides.

This is a grass-roots initiative. We need creative, practical ideas and involvement from all people in Ashtead area.

We work to create local solutions to improve quality of life by enabling the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon lifestyle and economy.

What kind of future do YOU want for Ashtead?

Would you like to change the present make a sustainable future?

Join us!