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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 0

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 0

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 0

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 0

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 0

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 1

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 0

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 5

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 0

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 4

"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 1

A salutary lesson

Lynda Brown: I’m not a fan of conferences: far too waffle-y for my liking, all too often speakers who say what they want rather than addressing what they’ve been asked to – or worse pontificate ad nauseam, and usually dreadful cheap processed grub (why can’t organisers use events to showcase good food instead of bad?) Nevertheless, I dutifully trotted off to a conference about how to make the countryside work held in Stroud on Saturday, primarily because the Shadow Minister for Food and Farming, Huw Irranca-Davies was giving the introductory speech, and I thought it would be an opportunity to knobble him on GM.

25 June 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 0

If supermarkets disappeared tomorrow....

Lynda Brown: Sunday found me deluged by people visiting my postage stamp garden as part of Box Gardens open day event; what pleased me most was that everyone was not only taken by the fact that I’d managed to cram in a pond, but I’d also squeezed in some veggies: a modest 1 metre square deep bed (Swiss chard/French beans/lettuce); 3 tomatoes, 1 courgette and 1 asparagus plant; a few climbing beans and sugar snap peas in pots; 2 blackcurrant bushes; and apple and pear tree which were already here.

17 June 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Wake up call to health, mine and the planet’s.

Lynda Brown: Two weeks ago, out of the blue, I woke up in the middle of the night with a throbbing foot, swollen and painful around the big toe area. I won’t bore you with the details, but my GP – who took one look – reckons it’s probably gout. Moi? !!!! ( My diet is A1, mainly organic, don’t do processed food , hardly drink, am pretty skinny, and exercise regularly.)

21 May 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 1

GM betrayal....

Lynda Brown: M&S, the Co-op, Tesco, and Sainsbury's have announced that they no longer require their producers to use non GM feed for farm animals. The excuse is that there isn't sufficient non GM feed to go around and anyway, it's not detectable in things like eggs, milk or chicken, i.e. there's no need to worry, it's all perfectly safe sort of thing. So, forget all that you're worth it rubbish - we're clearly not.

14 April 2013 | 7 Comments | Recommended by 8

A dream come true...

Lynda Brown: Most people dream of holidays in exotic places staying in a luxurious hotel overlooking a sun drenched ocean; I dream of visiting Ode Café in Shaldon, Devon situated in Ness car park overlooking Teignmouth (which looks a lot more exotic by night than day). Last week my dream came true - burgers on the menu, yes, but not some dubious squashed greasy affairs with a seasoning of horse DNA, but a choice of either prime Riverford organic beef burger or extremely tasty home made local wild venison burger, both well under a tenner (£8 in fact) – and they come with French fries and delicious organic salad leaves, too.

05 March 2013 | 6 Comments | Recommended by 3

Frankenfish - yuk!

Lynda Brown: When it comes to social media, I’m a real laggard (OK, so un-cool, but honestly I’d much rather go for a walk or dance tango any day than whitter and twitter my life away). But even I admit, it can be awesomely powerful, especially when it galvanises public opinion into a nice juicy petition with thousands of names on it; so much so, it’s fast becoming the peaceful and effective way to voice your concerns over a particular issue. And it doesn’t get more disgusting than the thought of salmon, genetically engineered to be obese (life is full of ironies, isn’t it?). The story so far is that the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved (on paper), GE salmon that will grow twice as fast as normal Atlantic salmon.

22 January 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

The stuff we have to put up with....

Lynda Brown: My brother rang last week to alert me to a feature on Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show about how because of last year’s atrocious rainy weather, veg hadn’t got any nutrients, and how it was worse for organic veg. What actually happened was that ‘leading scientist’, Professor Mike Gooding, Head of Agricultural Policy and Development at University of Reading was putting it about that fruit and veg and cereals maybe less nutritious and tasty (eg rain leaching out nitrogen means less protein – he was referring mainly to cereals here, less sunshine means less sugars etc). And that though organic growers were more resilient because they grew a more diverse range of crops, organic veg were potentially worse off because they hadn’t got recourse to quick fix artificials.

14 January 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 1

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