Today's News - 30 May 2012
“Scientific” agriculture has led us to a point where many times more energy goes into a field in the form of fuel, heavy machinery, pesticides and chemical fertilisers, than is harvested from it. It has led to the erosion of the topsoil on which we all depend and a catastrophic decline in biodiversity.”
Andrew Coecup – The Times – 30 May 2012
No lumpy custard for Stirling schools
Lumpy custard, tough-as-rubber chops and broth so thick you could stand a spoon in it…What are your memories of school food? Well, they won’t be shared by kids growing up in Stirling – the area’s council today picks up a prestigious bronze Food for Life* award for the quality of the food their canteens are serving up.
103.1 Central FM (29 May)
Find out more the Food for Life Partnership here.
Find out more about the Soil Association’s Catering Mark here.
Green jeans: Sweden's Nudie goes organic
It might have taken 11 years but Nudie – purveyors of green jeans for the super stylish – has finally taken the plunge and gone entirely organic. Nudie’s efforts stand out all the more in an industry where huge demand exacerbates existing environmental issues, including pesticide use, unethical labour and factory pollution. According to the Soil Association, non-organic cotton is a huge contributor to global environmental pollution, thanks to the vast amount of chemicals needed to grow it.
The Ecologist (29 May)
Find out more about organic textiles.
Live blog from the Breakthrough Capitalism Forum, where a series of debates will explore how investors, entrepreneurs and policy-makers can deliver systemic level change, including former Soil Association Director Patrick Holden, who says intensively and industrially farmed land will always have the upper hand if the government does not change incentive structures.
The Guardian (29 May)
Beddington: GM wheat protest misguided
The government’s chief scientist has condemned attempts by GM protesters to destroy a trial plot of GM wheat. He says, “It has been licensed by DEFRA. The attempted disruption did not happen and neither should it.”
Farmers Weekly (29 May)
GM crops and ‘meddling’ with nature: Letters
‘All the scientific wisdom of the world cannot yet comprehend the complexity of life in a tea spoon full of healthy soil’
The Times (30 May)
Big Tick for Anaerobic Digester
Harper Adams University College was revealed today as a recipient of Business in the Community’s (BITC) coveted National Big Tick for its anaerobic digester project. The Big Tick award is the first level of award available to entrants to the national Awards for Excellence, which commends the best examples of business as a force for good.
Cision Wire (30 May)
Oil seed rape at record levels sparks hayfever and pesticides fears
Record crops of rapeseed are being grown in Britain this year thanks to the recent warm weather and an increase in demand from China and India - but the yellow flowers can set off allergies for some people and require a lot of pesticides.
The Telegraph (29 May)
Working together to solve the plight of the short-haired bumblebee
As the short-haired bumblebee queens are released in Dungeness this week, it should be recognised that this project is already a huge local success story. It is the story of a whole community of "bee guardians" coming together over many years, to steadily rebuild and preserve a habitat that will support these returning bees.
The Guardian (29 May)
Supermarkets join responsible soy pledge
Supermarkets from the EU and the UK are taking steps toward closer involvement in the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS) campaign. Participating retailers including Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Co-operative Food, Ahold (Netherlands), Coop (Switzerland) and Migros (Switzerland), have all made commitments that the soy used for their own brand products will come from certified responsible soy sources.
Farming UK (29 May)
Red Tractor logo used on greater number of products
Retailers are using the Red Tractor logo on a greater proportion of their British products than last year, rising from 66% to 70% a labelling report reveals.
Farming UK (29 May)
Spanish olive growers are facing the lowest oil prices in ten years. UK farmers, meanwhile, are building a market for cold-pressed rapeseed oil. A vintage British strawberry harvest is forecast. And, the clippers start whirring on sheep farms, how the value of a flock's fleece is decided by the Wool Board.
BBC Radio 4, listen again (30 May)
*The Food for Life Partnership is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. Together we are revolutionising schools meals, reconnecting young people with farms and inspiring families to cook and grow food.
The initiative is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Soil Association, bringing together the practical expertise of the Focus on Food Campaign, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust.