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’.


  1. Ruth Price says

    I am one of the trustees of Ashtead United Charity which serves the Almshouses in Ashtead. One of our houses has a garden which is not being used & we are interested in knowing more about the garden share scheme. We have a committee meeting on 21/03/12 when it would be good to feed back any information you could give me. I apologise for this short notice.

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