Food news latest -
Allangrange growing workshops continue
A reminder that the series of workshops Alex Davies is running throughout the season continues on 10 August, on the topic
Second Season - Plan and sow for Autumn/Winter.
Details at / Other growing groups and courses
- Good Food Nation Act (passed by SP last year) now in force
- The right to food will become part of Scots law
- SG is consulting on incorporation of human rights under four international treaties (consultation closes 5 October)
- Veg Advocates success and learning from the Peas Please project
- Food related job opportunities and events
The latest newsletter from Highland Good Food Partnership has information about a multi-location AGM on 30 September, an Open Day at Allangrange Brewery market garden on 13 August, and several 'Get your Community Growing' workshops in August
Wildflower Meadow Mosaic - an initiative by Highlife Highland Rangers . .
. . with help from Highland Environment Forum and supported by Highland Council's Nature Restoration Fund.
HLH Rangers article ‘It is okay to have a messy garden‘
Food forests: a tool for tackling the world’s big issues?
by Anne MacLennan
From Skye Climate Action March 2023 newsletter (recommended)
Food forests are modelled on natural forest structures with a wide diversity of perennial plants of different heights, producing crops which are edible or which provide other benefits such as medicinal properties or attracting pollinators. The edible parts can be roots, leaves, bark and/or fruits, and there are many potential foods that are not in the common diet. Did you know that hosta shoots and beech leaves are good to eat? Or try nibbling hazel catkins.
The Agroforestry Research Trust has recently held an international online symposium on Food Forests, with dozens of passionate speakers sharing their experiences with fantastic photos and videos from across the world. Many presenters were motivated by the urgent need to address many current crises such as climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity, escalating food costs as well as physical and mental health issues. Videos from the 2021 symposium are freely available at https://www.agroforestry.co.uk/presentations/
“A forest garden is a place where nature and people meet halfway, between the canopy of trees and the soil underfoot. It doesn’t have to look like a forest – what’s important is that natural processes are allowed to unfold, to the benefit of plants, people and other creatures. The result is an edible ecosystem.” Tomas Remiarz, Forest Gardening in Practice
The major disadvantage of starting a forest garden is that it involves physical work and outlay on plants and materials to set up, with small returns in the first few years. The enormous benefits include an increasing harvest after these few years, and biodiversity – birds, insects, fungi, amphibians and soil organisms, reducing inputs and costs. There is no need to prepare the ground and plant every year, followed by the disruption of harvesting the whole plant as with annual crops.
Over the years, a functioning ecosystem develops with self-sustaining fertility and resilience to drought and flood. This is a carbon-sequestering system and with time, emits little or no greenhouse gases – it becomes carbon negative. Economic benefits include the production of timber, firewood and abundant healthy food for the gardeners, but also potential commercial sales of high-end products, running workshops and courses, conducting tours etc. Socially, people can gain confidence, build relationships and re-establish a connection with nature. Even a small garden patch can become more productive by applying the principles of perennial plantings and maximum diversity.
Gardening course / workshops at Black Isle Brewery market garden, Allangrange
2023 WORKSHOP TIMETABLE AND INFORMATION
Vegetables for All Seasons – Join our Head Gardener Alexander who has over 20 years’ experience of Organic growing as he teaches you all you need to know to produce your own fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. Learn how to plan your garden to suit your needs, how to care for your crops, right through to the best way to harvest and preserve your produce to provide yourself with the best quality food all year round, all while increasing local biodiversity.
Workshops are 10am – 2.30pm, meet in the lecture room, organic tea, coffee, cake provided, and a basket of fresh produce when available. Please bring weatherproof clothing and a packed lunch if required.
£350 for the whole course. In order to make our courses accessible to as many people as possible we are implementing a sliding scale pricing structure of £35, £45 and £55 for those who wish to pay for individual workshops. We are grateful to those who choose to pay the higher charge to help make this possible.
4 May Pricking out, potting on and planting out
Details and booking
18 May Perfect tomatoes, indoor growing, companion planting
8 June Watering, weeding, pest control
6 July Harvesting, successional sowing, maintaining summer crops
10 August Second season - plan and sow for autumn/winter
7 September Harvest festival - storing and preserving your produce
9 November Laying the ground for next year - no-dig
(dates are all Thursdays)
In addition to the series Alexander is also running:
12 October – Introduction to Biodynamics, working with the rhythms of nature
This year we are also offering workshops by visiting master craftsmen and craftswomen to teach sustainable rural skills.
11-12 March Dry-stone dyking with Brian Wilson - £150
Details and booking
21 September Seed saving with Finley and Hayley of Seeds of Scotland £TBC
19-20 October TBC - Basket making with Tim Palmer - TBC
30 November Wreath making with JJ Gladwin - £45
Nourish Scotland February newsletter - 'Right to Food' report published
This newsletter sees the publication of the report of Nourish's 'Right to Food' project - 'The project worked with government agencies and community members to define a diet that is healthy enough, enjoyable and a good fit for people's lives.' There are summary and full versions of the report, and interesting details of the methods used in preparing it.
The newsletter also reports on highlights of the Oxford Real Farming Conference - 'the largest agroecological gathering on the planet.'
Read the newsletter (with links to the report)
SP Report on Community growing space
The Scottish Parliament's Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee chaired by Highland Green MSP Ariane Burgess, has recently conducted an in-depth enquiry into the availability of allotments and other land for community growing in the light of Part 9 of the Community Empowerment Act of 2015. These are their conclusions
The Committee's inquiry has highlighted many of the positive developments made since the Community Empowerment Act came into force, but the overwhelming message from witnesses and the evidence received is that there are nonetheless significant and growing waiting lists for accessing allotments and challenges to accessing land for growing. Many local authorities have not met the Act's requirements to prepare a Food Growing Strategy and don't have staff leading on allotments and growing.
The importance of access to green space and the benefits of growing is clear. It can quite literally empower communities and improve people's health and quality of life. But when resources are limited it is perhaps easy for local authorities' responsibilities under the Act to become a low priority.
The Committee believes though that it is more important now than ever that there is renewed effort to deliver on the intentions of the Act, led by the Scottish Government supporting local authorities. It would therefore welcome the Scottish Government's response to its recommendations made throughout this report.
May 2022 From Skye Climate Action newsletter
Highland Council - Community Food Growing
The Highland Council's Community Food Growing Strategy was published in February. To tackle inequalities, improve inclusion and respond to the climate emergency, the Strategy's vision is "By 2027 Highland communities are resilient, empowered and supported to grow their own food.
"The Strategy document gives examples of community growing across Highland, including edible villages, school projects, community orchards and community gardens, such as the Raasay Walled Garden. The Strategy seeks to support growers across Highland, improve access to land for community food growing, and help community groups and schools to set up projects on Council land and school grounds. There is an action plan, and the Council will try to source funds, land, connect people to groups, information and resources and help with things like tool libraries.
More information about how to start community food growing is in the Guidance Document.
Good Food Nation Bill passed unopposed
The Bill requires the Scottish Government and certain public bodies to create good food nation plans to support social and economic wellbeing, the environment, health, and economic development. According to the Scottish Government, these plans will help ensure good quality, locally sourced and produced food is a practical everyday reality for everyone.
'Unexpected Garden' in Alness - Dandelion and Feis Ross
A group of TBI members visited the garden on Sunday 24 July
World food crisis?
The spectre of a potentially catastrophic crisis in the world's food supply and distribution system has been raised in several recent articles.
'The coming food catastrophe'
The Economist 20 May 2022
'The banks collapsed in 2008 – and our food system is about to do the same'
George Monbiot The Guardian 19 May 2022
'The food crisis is what happens when global chains collapse'
Will Hutton The Observer 22 May 2022
The future of Food?
'The Economist' magazine's latest Technology Quarterly contains a number of articles on aspects of the future of food, including technologies for producing meat without animals and milk without cows, and urban 'vertical farms'.
Anyone looking for gardening advice appropriate to the Black Isle should buy a copy of TBI's 'Growing Guide' by Sheila Wickens, which can be obtained for £10 by emailing email@example.com .
You can preview individual chapters of the Guide via the links on our TBI Growing Guide page.
- Wednesday 13 December
- 19:30 Transition Together recruit and revive forum
- Thursday 14 December
- 19:00 GGFP film - 'Rooted: Growing a Local Ecosystem'
- Saturday 16 December
- 10:00 Culbokie Community Market
- Saturday 6 January
- 13:00 BLACK ISLE REPAIR CAFE Victoria Hall, Cromarty
Events to add to calendar? Contact Us.
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