The real deal

Lynda Brown: Christmas is the one time that everyone focuses on and celebrates food, both for its symbolic importance but also as one of the last bastions of the joy sharing a special meal: it really does bring out the best in us, and to bask in that after glow of conviviality is all the proof one ever needs that food is crucial to our well-being. As we are already painfully aware, the food industry goes into festive overdrive: Christmas is gigantic business, and the more festive the food looks and 'luxurious' it sounds, the more we seem prepared to pay for it.

15 December 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 7

Much Ado About Mutton

Lynda Brown: It's very rare that a food book comes along that qualifies as a game changer, but Much Ado about Mutton, featured on Radio 4's Food Programme this coming Sunday, by Bob Kennard, is one such book, and one I hope everyone will read. Mutton has been Bob’s passion for over 20 years, and no-one understands its importance, or that of small scale sustainable meat production, better.

02 October 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 3

Going the extra mile...

Lynda Brown: As part of my Trustee induction, a few weeks ago found me at an organic dairy getting up close and personal with Soil Association Certification inspection procedures with one of our senior inspectors. Like many consumers who regularly buy organic food, I've often wondered exactly what goes on and how certification officers ensure that their licensees are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

21 July 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Food Futures start here

Lynda Brown: Last Thursday the winners of this years BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme Food & Farming Awards were announced, including inspirational Halifax school cook Tony Mulgrove, who has been instrumental in helping Ravenscliffe school achieve a Food for Life Partnership gold award.

06 May 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

3 more days to go...

Lynda Brown: Those of you following the great new wannabe national Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement will know that they need to raise enough money (£6,500 - a very modest amount by funding standards) to form a national self help network to help the movement go from strength to strength and become a viable alternative reality for everyone, town and country.

25 April 2014 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 12

Organic Market Report: what can we glean?

Lynda Brown: As most people know, the new Organic Market Report is a corker (a fascinating read, nicely presented, and lots of feel good stats). Despite a dreadful recession - which all sectors of the food and farming industry have battled with and suffered from - and supposedly against all the odds, the organic market is back in growth. Frankly, it's looking buoyant, good-to-go, and fighting fit. Moreover the trend is global and includes textiles and health & beauty products too.

15 April 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 3

Organic hero: Moo Man mania...

Lynda Brown: Ever since I saw the Moo Man film at our Soil Symposium last October, Moo Man has been on my list on must-do blogs. The recent news that the FSA is to continue to allow the sale of unpasteurised milk direct and via the internet is the excuse I've been waiting for. Moo Man is one of the most remarkable films I have ever seen - to see what I mean, treat yourself to this You Tube trailer.

06 February 2014 | 4 Comments | Recommended by 10

BBC Food and Farming Awards: Your chance to make a difference!

Lynda Brown: We don’t often get a chance to make a difference but nominating your favourite organic grower, farmer, cheesemaker, baker and so on for the BBC Radio 4’s Food and Farming Awards could do just that. They’ve become one of the industry’s most coveted awards, and it’s a unique opportunity to showcase the rest of the world just how special and inspirational the organic food and farming movement is.

20 January 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 2

Meat as a treat...

Lynda Brown: Calling all meat eaters - had your fill of turkey, enough organic chipolatas and ham to keep you going until next Christmas? Good, because I thought I'd kick of the New One with a thought about what's rapidly becoming the next hot potato on the food agenda, namely meat, or rather our seemingly insatiable desire for it, especially if it's cheap.

02 January 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 2

How it Should Be....

Lynda Brown: Phew, what a week of ‘How it Should Be’s’ last week was. Kicking off with the CSA conference in Stroud, and finishing with a flourish with the opening of HiSbe, the new 'How it Should Be' happiness before profit store in Brighton (all the rave on Twitter, and, yes, such a great name and concept), as well as the Sustainable Food Trust’s True-Cost Accounting of Food and Agriculture conference, it felt like one of those game changing weeks for the caring, sharing, needs must, small-scale, humankind, Brave New World we are all part of.

10 December 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Roast Dinner Day... with special extras

Lynda Brown: Roast Dinner Day is obviously popular, so here's an account of mine which I was fortunate enough to be invited to enjoy at Coln House school in Fairford, near Cirencester who currently have a Food for Life Partnership Bronze Award but who have their sights set on Gold. It's a state-funded Special Needs residential school (9-16 years), though you only need one look at their website to know that this school is special in so many ways. 'Going the extra mile', 'from farm to plate', and 'good food is a right not a privilege' could have been written especially for them.

25 November 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 3

Sweetness and light. . .

Lynda Brown: Last week I attended my first Soil Association Council meeting, so I thought it an opportunity to say, first, my very sincere heartfelt thanks to all the Soil Association members who voted for me; and second, what a privilege it is to be part of such an inspiring organization. Being on Council will enable me to learn more about this great organic movement from the inside, which, of course, hopefully means I can help spread the organic word with even more organic zeal on the outside. There are several exciting organic initiatives in the pipeline, so watch this space, and prepare to love your Soil Association even more.

05 November 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 3

Soils: no longer just muck, and much more than magic

Lynda Brown: My head is still reeling from the fascinating but also alarming statistics I heard on BBC radio 4’s Shared Planet yesterday, presented by the Soil Association’s president, Monty Don. The programmed covered how soil is the biological engine of the Earth, yet is the world’s least understood eco-system; how there are 50,000 different types of soil, home to 1/3 world’s living organisms (including a 100 billion types of bacteria and 10,000 tiny organisms); how its fuel is organic matter, and how its health and biology is regulated by its structure; how earth worms are the vital player, moving as much soil as tractors; how 95% of our food depends on soil, yet we are losing it 50 times faster than it can be replaced; how soil acts as the primary filter for our drinking water (and how water companies have to treat it to rid it of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers); how soil is the largest reservoir of carbon on earth, out performing rain forests; how bacteria secrete compounds that provide the ‘glue’ to make strong soil structure, trash bacteria and you trash the structure; and so on.

16 October 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 8

Wells Food Festival

Lynda Brown: Next Sunday, 20 October, will find me at the first Wells Food Festival and I’m hoping that anyone interested in food - especially supporting local food producers, that live in the area, will be there too. I’m making the effort to go to this one firstly because it is determinedly local; secondly because they’ve got some interesting ‘walks and talks'; thirdly because they’ve got a debate on milk, (a subject close to my heart) chaired by Soil Association trustee Joanna Blythman; and finally because the beautiful market town of Wells is now the latest rural market town to fall victim of the SS - Supermarket Saturation.

10 October 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 1

Tweet tweet......

Lynda Brown: Thanks to a friend who did it for me, I've just signed up to Twitter – @lyndaingarden. Yes, I know I'm a wimp and it's taken me forever, but when it comes to social media I'm an out and out laggard. It feels a bit like first day back at school , very exposed and dead nervo

02 October 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

The perfect peach...

Lynda Brown: I’m currently eating a very special peach; special not just because it is exquisitely perfumed with a silky soft skin which peels off effortlessly, flesh that melts like butter, and a flavour that defies description; nor just because it is indeed perfect – not a blemish to be seen, and allowed to ripen to perfection; but because of how I came upon it. You see, I’ve just got back from a brief tango-cum-sightseeing tour of Parma - organized by my tango teacher, Sandra Monticelli who comes from Parma - staying in the foothills and eating in local restaurants (and yes, it was everything a tango foodie could wish for).

12 September 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 4

Who made your dress?

Lynda Brown: I used to work in the advertising business for a while, so I’m a sucker for a good headline, and this morning fair trade and organic fashion gurus, People Tree sent over a cracker to advertise the last of their summer sale. “Who made your dress?” has pics of some of their best selling summer dresses and who made them.

19 July 2013 | 9 Comments | Recommended by 6

"We have all the ingredients, we just need the recipe"

Lynda Brown: No, this is not a blog about cooking, nor am I about to reveal the recipe. The remark was made by Jade Bashford at a fascinating 3 day seminar, New Futures in Farmland Ownership last week. For me this is the next Big Thing, and something we have to do if existing and future young farmers are ever going to be able to produce the food we want to eat (as opposed to the stuff we don’t).

11 July 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 2

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