News February 2017

VEG project
At the Veg project planning meeting we decided to continue our association with Haltwhistle Partnership and run two small events in Haltwhistle Market Square on Sat 1st and Sat 15th April to encourage people to grow their own veg. We hope to run an open competition, during Carnival week in July, for edible plantings in recycled containers.
We will also have a seed & plant swap stall at the Plant festival in May, as we have done for the past few years.
We plan to finish the year's program with a harvest event, to include a competition for harvested or foraged edible stuff, again in the Market Square and in co-operation with Haltwhistle Partnership, on 16th Sept.
Next planning meeting in the Comrades Club at 7pm on Mon 20th Feb. All welcome.

South Tynedale Wildlife Group
Tuesday February 14th , 7.30pm.

Comrades Club, Haltwhistle. All welcome, £3.00 on the door.
Martin Keeting the director of Northern Experience Wildlife Tours will be talking on the North East Cetacean Project.

Saturday 11th February, 11am. St Mary's Centre, Hencotes, Hexham
'The Nuclear Ban Treaty - will it make a difference?'
Timmon Wallis, Quaker Peace & Social Witness.
The nine nuclear states continue to insist that nuclear weapons are 'essential' for their security. The 186 states which do not have them (and have promised never to obtain them) are now committed to negotiating a new international treaty that will ban nuclear weapons. Is this the beginning of the end for them, or will it make no difference?
Admission Free - Retiring Collection
Sponsored by Northumbrians for Peace and Hexham Quakers

Full details on website

Feeding all the people sustainably
At the beginning of January I took a jaunt down south and attended the Oxford Real Farming Conference (the 'Real' distinguishes this event from the National Farmers' Union conference which runs concurrently at another venue in the same city). The farming establishment (i.e. those at the non-real conference) stick doggedly to a productionist mantra, objecting to any suggestion that maximum yields should be put at risk by curbing agrochemical use or safeguarding eco-systems. "The world population is rising", they shout, "a farmer's first duty is to feed the people". The opening plenary of the ORFC was dedicated to debunking this myth. The world's farmers already produce enough food to feed the 2050 projected world population, but between a quarter and a third of total production is currently wasted. People go hungry and greenhouse gasses are emitted by an ever intensifying industry for no useful end. Feeding the population sustainably will not be achieved by a headlong pursuit of more, more, more but by reducing wastage and a more equitable distribution. In the global South food losses occur largely during production and storage, with the consumer eating everything they buy, whereas in Europe 'efficient' industrialised farming has greatly reduced pre-processing losses but an emphasis on cosmetic uniformity and shopping habits mean that around a quarter of all food produced is wasted here too.

However there's lots going on to tackle post-processing food waste with a voluntary undertaking (Courtauld 2025) from organisations across the UK food system to improve sustainability by committing to a 20% reduction in food waste between 2015 and 2025. The hierarchy of alternative destinations for waste or surplus food is:
  1. It gets eaten. Steps taken along the supply chain to prevent, or at least reduce, the amount that is lost or becomes surplus to requirements.
  2. Surplus is redistributed to people in need, for example through charities or social enterprises.
  3. It is fed to animals.
  4. Unavoidable food waste is composted or used to generate energy

The Real Junk Food Project ( aims to step in at the second point on the list. It is is a global network of 'Pay as You Feel' cafes which make delicious meals out of food which would otherwise have been binned, with landfill often the final destination. They also raise awareness of food waste issues. In the North East you'll find:

Nikki Dravers and Mim Skinner from Durham who have just raised £17,000 through a crowd funding appeal and will be opening RefUSE as a pay-as-you-feel cafe in Chester-le-Street.

The Newcastle based Magic Hat is a pop-up cafe which aims to tackle environmental and social injustice by upcycling edible food waste, providing meals for everyone and anyone.

In a knee jerk reaction to the Foot and Mouth outbreak of 2001 the feeding of swill to pigs was banned. Feeding 100 million tonnes of food wasted in Europe to our pigs could release 1.8 million hectares of crop growing land, much of it in South America's Savannah and forestlands. In Japan 35% of food waste is safely fed to animals and the pigs reared on this diet are marketed as premium 'eco-pork'.

The Pig Idea campaigns to encourage the use of food waste to feed pigs and aims to overturn the EU legislation which bans the feeding of catering waste, swill.

We can all compost our own food scraps and ensure the energy and nutrients go towards nurturing next years greens. Get involved in the STS veg project and competitions!

Not fast food
Kasteale, Westgate, Haltwhistle.
Kasteale is an owner run and managed small resaurant/cafe. Jill and her team are passionate about producing quality food from quality ingredients. They do not profess to be "chefs" but are home cooks who enjoy making and baking whatever they like to eat and what customers suggest. The cafe can cater for vegetarian, gluten free, diabetic, vegan and lots of other dietary requirements given a little notice, although there are always some options available on a regular basis. Walkers and cyclists are welcome, as are family groups. Secure cycle parking is available at the rear of the premises. Just remember no "fast food", just good food as quick as possible!
Kasteale also stocks a small range of local beers, Fair Trade and Organic wines, and vegetarian and wholefood groceries from Suma workers co-op.

Whatever your interest in art, the cafe at the Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art is worth a visit on its own account. The Smeltery is a project that features slow-cooked, wholesome food by Luke Harding from the award winning Waiting Room. And it's close to the train station so you can leave the car at home.

Worth a look:
Making sense of sustainability in the North East.
Tracing Green is dedicated to reporting and promoting the best in sustainable design, green building and eco-living in the North-East of England.

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359