Local Food – Miles Better Meeting

“Local Food – Miles Better!” Says Climate Change group

The IW Action on Climate Change group is to hold an open evening to look at local and regional food and its impact on the local environment. Some ninety five per cent of fruit is imported into the UK along with around fifty per cent of vegetables*. On a positive side there is a growing demand for local food with farmers’ and producers’ markets springing up all over the country.

Food miles increased by 15 per cent in the ten years to 2002, leading to a 12 per cent increase in carbon emissions from food transport. The cost of food miles to the UK, including time lost from congestion, road wear and tear, ill health from pollution and noise, and road crashes, is £9 billion a year. The average distance we drive to shop for food each year in the UK is 898 miles, compared with 747 in 1992.*

Speakers will look at issues such as ‘food miles’ and the local economy as well as addressing issues such as pollution and climate change. The date for the event is Thursday 27th September 2007 at 7pm at Newport’s Riverside Centre. The main speaker will be Mr Paul Heathcote of Afton Park Nursery, renowned for their Apple Days and Chinashop Rare Breeds.

The meeting will also welcome Christopher Wakeley as the new organiser of the Action on Climate Change group. The meeting will be chaired by Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust, who is sponsoring the meeting, as part of their commitment to reducing the ‘ecological footprint’ of the Island.

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, Ray said,

“This educational initiative is seeking to inform the public and businesses about the challenges of climate change. It aims to give a positive message as to what can be done in our daily actions to reduce our impact on the planet. We support the NFU campaign for local food.”

“We were delighted at the recent commitment from the IW Council announcing that it is committing itself to cutting carbon by 4% per annum and that it is working with Carbon Trust to achieve this saving. We hope to be working with Council in looking for ways to help the public and businesses also achieve similar reductions.”

For more information about the group please visit

www.thewightcounts.org.uk

www.footprint-trust.co.uk

ENDS

* Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005

Christmas Food could be miles better

There has been much talk of the need to reduce Carbon dioxide pollution, which causes Climate Change. One simple way we can all help is by changing what we buy. Choose fresh local produce from a greengrocer or farm shop, rather than old produce from a supermarket which has travelled hundreds of miles to get to you. Transport contributes 34% of greenhouse gases in the UK.

The cost of food miles to the UK, including time lost from congestion, road wear and tear, ill health from pollution and noise, and road crashes, is £9 billion a year. The average distance we drive to shop for food each year in the UK is 898 miles, compared with 747 in 1992.*

We have all heard the good advice to aim to eat five fruit and veg a day. To ensure that your food has not lost essential vitamins try and buy little and often. To reduce consumption of pesticides buy British and European foodstuffs, as the EU has some of the strictest rules in the world restricting their overuse.
You can support the Friday Farmers and Producers Market in Newport and buy local produce. The local companies attending help reduce ‘food miles’ and thus help the environment whilst also creating sustainable jobs. Those attending include, Afton Park near Freshwater, Godshill Organics, Horringford Gardens near Newport, the Farm Shop at Arreton Barns and Briddlesford Lodge Farm, Wootton. The local Countryside, (formerly WI), Markets, also stock locally produced foodstuffs as do many of the Island’s car boot sales and allotment societies. Farmhouse Fayre in St James Street, Newport also sells Isle of Wight fruit and vegetables when in season. Hamilton’s, and most locally owned butchers, sell IW meat and eggs. Phillips Fine Foods are the largest fish and seafood company on the Island and are able to offer a variety of local products to both trade and retail customers www.phillipsfinefoods.co.uk

Green entrepreneurs Jackie Phillips and Rachel Foy from the The Real Island Food Company are extending availability of local produce by offering a weekly delivery service of a broad selection of local foods at very competitive prices. They have a wide-ranging customer base, including busy mums with families, people with disabilities and elderly people without transport. www.realislandfood.co.uk

Horringford Gardens do a local produce delivery every week, this includes vegetables as well as eggs, pork, lamb and beef and preserves. This service is open to visitors, just simply order through the website before you leave; www.horringford.com

Why not try Godshill Organics, there is a farm shop on site and they also provide a local organic box scheme. www.godshillorganics.com

Remember that ‘local food’ in supermarkets will often have travelled to the mainland to be packaged. We would suggest that organic produce which has travelled more than 100 miles has practically lost any of its ‘green’ credentials. For example buy local garlic rather than ‘organic’ from Israel.
One New Year resolution could be to give over a part of your garden or patio to growing some vegetables. You don’t need a lot of space to grow tomatoes, herbs and even potatoes. There are some 500 people on the Council’s waiting list for allotments, so you may have some wait to get a plot. The Footprint Trust will be launching an “Adopt-A-Garden” scheme in the new year – whereby gardeners ‘adopt’ an uncared for garden and use it as a growing space for themselves. Contact info@footprint-trust.co.uk The Footprint Trust, Newport Quay, PO30 2QR.

ENDS

* Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005

Related Websites

www.5aday.nhs.uk/

www.gardenorganic.org.uk/

www.iwrcc.org.uk/health.html

www.bbc.co.uk/food/

www.carryongardening.org.uk/

Green IW Budget praised

Footprint Trust praises Council’s ‘Green Budget’

Local environmental charity the Footprint Trust has praised the greener aspects of the Council’s budget.

Speaking for the Trust, Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“The Council should be congratulated on its promotion of bus use. The dramatic increase in young people using the buses, thanks to the 50p flat fare, is to be particularly welcomed.”

“The Council’s investment in cycle routes shows a clear vision for the future and will encourage more people to cycle.”

“The £30.5m to rebuild Cowes High School as a zero-carbon centre of learning is to be welcomed. This new complex will be water and energy efficient and will act as a beacon for other new-builds in the country. We welcome the Council’s commitment to sustainable schools.”

We are pleased that the Council has listened to our comments about rewarding motorists who drive ‘greener’ cars.

“We welcome the aim to explore the use of renewable energy for Council buildings and the desire for the Island to move towards becoming more self-sufficient.”

The Trust has recently commented on the Council’s One Island consultation and has expressed concern that issues such as wildlife and countryside were not being fully addressed. It also supported the Wind Farm application near Wellow, pointing out that there were no other sustainable options available in the short-term.

‘Issues such as dog muck and graffiti are an annoyance but they will not destroy the planet. Climate Change and failing to protect rare habitats could. We need to insist that all new buildings are built to a high environmental standard – the proposed Cowes Learning Centre is a fantastic step in the right direction.”

“The Footprint Trust is more than happy to give praise were it is due, we are delighted to be able to work with the Council on many worthwhile projects.”

ENDS

Ray Harrington-Vail

01983 822282

IW Council’s Budget

Click to access budget_speach_2007-08.pdf

Freshwater Bay gets green makeover…

One of the Island’s most popular beaches now as another attractive feature nearby. Thanks to the efforts of Freshwater Bay Residents Association (FBRA), the Footprint Trust and the IW Council – a sea-spray and drought tolerant shrubbery has been created adjacent to the Albion public house.

Those visiting the area can now enjoy a Martinii – not the drink but rather a Euphorbia. Other exotic plants include a strange variety of names including, Robin Whitebreast, Golden Sword and Pink Panther.

This scheme is part of the Footprint Trust’s Waterworks project supported by the AONB Sustainable Development Fund and EU Leader+. It links to the IW Council’s One Million Blooms initiative, which seeks to create drought-friendly planting in parks and open spaces. Other beds have been created by the Footprint Trust at Dinosaur Isle, Sandown Station, Yarmouth Gateway, Riverside Centre and at Melton House in Ryde.

The drought tolerant gardening scheme that was an initial idea from the Footprint Trust due to concerns about Climate Change, which has caused a dramatic transformation in weather patterns, leading to record breaking heat waves and droughts across Europe.

“The planted areas will lead to a reduction in traditional maintenance costs, as they will require no artificial watering and the plants will last for many years…” said Ray Harrington-Vail of the Trust.
“…..we need to move away from disposable annual plants, imported from other lands, which require vast amounts of water in many cases…” He added.

“FBRA is an active local community group which actually gets things done…we are delighted to work with this organisation and hope to work with them on other projects in the future. We would urge local people to join them and to donate money so that they can achieve even more…”

The scheme has been spearheaded by Tim Nicholson and Jane Woolley-Dod of the FBRA Improvement Project, who would like to extend their thanks to Nick Webb of the IW Council and Ray Harrington-Vail for their invaluable and unfailing support. “We were also lucky,” says Tim Nicholson, “….to have been awarded a grant by ‘Awards For All’ to cover the cost of the landscaping work carried out by Brighstone Landscaping. It has taken 18 months to get this part of the Project off the ground and we are all delighted with the result.”

ENDS

Footprint Trust Tel 01983 822282 www.footprint-trust.co.uk

Trust Makes Big Steps

Footprint Trust takes steps to save the planet

Isle of Wight charity the Footprint Trust, which started its work in 2003, estimates that it has now reached just over 13% of Islanders with its eco-message. This has been achieved through its attendance at events such as the Chale and County Shows, its work in schools and local communities. Its work in local schools has interacted with around 10,000 pupils and it has also carried out environmental audits in some 60 community buildings linked to energy and water saving measures. The charity’s fundamental aim is to reduce the ‘ecological footprint’ of the Isle of Wight, currently at around twice our ‘earthshare.’

The Trust also assisted hundreds of Island businesses to be more efficient in their use of resources and the Trust’s website www.footprint-trust.co.uk is visited by over 36,000 people a year. They have given away over 4,000 low energy light bulbs, mostly to people on low income. The use of these bulbs alone will save over 550,000 Kw hours of electricity each year, and this represents a saving in financial terms of around £56,000 pa, and in carbon terms around 250 tonnes pa.

In water saving they helped to reduce consumption by around 14 million litres pa through distributing around 3,600 Southern Water save-a-flush bags. Neither figures take into account of other savings that charities and households may have made though turning off appliances or fitting cavity wall insulation, following guidance given from the Trust.

The Trust’s work has been funded through the European Union’s Leader+ initiative, the IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund, the National Lottery and commercial sponsorship.

Speaking for the Trust, its Company Secretary Colin Withers said,

“Our GreenLife and Waterworks projects have been raising awareness of energy and water saving issues. We are a very small charity which was set up to reduce the ecological footprint of the Isle of Wight and I believe that we are making good progress.”

“It is good to see the issue of Climate Change beginning to be taken seriously across the world, and the local ‘Action on Climate Change’ initiative, which we support, has already made some important steps leading to the IW Council signing up to the Nottingham Declaration and committing itself to reducing carbon emissions by 4% pa.”

Ray Harrington-Vail, the charity’s General Manager added…

“The current adverts on the TV encouraging us all to reduce our carbon footprint are imaginative and will assist in changing hearts and minds. Unfortunately people and businesses are also being led astray by dubious ‘off-setting’ schemes including tree planting, which will have virtually no impact in reducing carbon emissions.”

“In the immediate future we will continue to work with other local charities and the IW Council to look at fuel poverty and climate change. Inefficient use of energy wastes resources and money and in addition harms the planet, thus we wish to tackle these issues together.”

“We also wish to work with Parish and Town Councils in the rural areas, looking at ways that they can help their communities to become low carbon, and we hope to increase our work with young people aged 16 to 24 – engaging them in environmental projects”

ENDS

Peak Oil speaker to visit Island

An “Action on Climate Change” event is to be held at the Riverside Centre in Newport on Saturday 2nd February at 7pm. A presentation will be made by renewable energy consultant and engineer Jackie Carpenter on the subject of Peak Oil.
Jackie is a chartered mechanical engineer and an expert on renewable energy, especially local community-based systems.

She was the most senior woman engineer in Brown and Root, managing multi-million-pound projects. She founded the charity, Energy 21, “uniting action for renewable energy”, and worked for ten years as its MD. She was President of the Women’s Engineering Society in 2002 – 2003. Jackie set up her home in Stroud to run on 100% renewable energy and has recently moved to Cornwall to help create a new sustainable community. She is a freelance speaker, writer and consultant.

Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust will be looking at ways in which we can all reduce our “ecological footprint.” This is part on the ongoing programme regarding Action on Climate Change started in 2006 the previous ones have attracted hundreds people with a broad range of ages represented.

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“During the day Information will be available on insolating homes, high efficiency boilers and small-scale renewable energy. Grants are available for homeowners to modernise their heating systems and Warmfront will be there to explain the details.”

“ In the evening we are delighted that Jackie Carpenter has agreed to speak – it will be well worth hearing what she has to say on the forthcoming oil crises. Most people seem unaware that the half of all the world’s oil is set to be used up within the next couple of years. This may lead to higher fuel costs and increase in prices of food and other essentials. We need to be prepared for this and make plans to use less oil.”

The day’s events event will be free and open to everyone. The Riverside Centre is wheelchair accessible. Funded by the EAGA partnership, Footprint Trust, IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund and IW Council.

ENDS

www.footprint-trust.co.uk

Radio Solent features Footprint Trust

Tune into BBC Radio Solent this Sunday 2 September 2007 on 91.6 or 103.8 FM at noon and listen to the Good Life programme. Georgina Windsor will be chatting to Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust about the tree planting ‘carbon neatral’ scams.

Ray will be highlighting what people can really do to help the planet.

ENDS

Renewable Energy -free training gets householders signing up

A free course giving details of renewable energy options for the home has been so popular it is to be run again. The EU Leader+ programme and the Isle of Wight Council funded the course. It was promoted and administered by the Footprint Trust who engaged Encraft a specialist company who give independent guidance to householders and businesses on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The repeat course will run in Newport for four evenings commencing on 28th January 2008. Booking is essential plus a commitment to coming to the entire course. In brief this is what will be covered….

·Planning/background issues, costs, siting, choosing the right system – Mon 28th Jan. 7pm

·Solar Energy – free heat from the sun? – Mon 4th Feb. 7pm

·Domestic Wind Energy – cheap power from thin air? – Mon 11th Feb 7pm

·Biomass Energy – modern wood-fired systems – Mon 18th Feb 7pm

Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust said,

‘We were pleasantly surprised by the large number of people who expressed an interest. Over 30 people came to the course and we have almost filled up the second one…’

‘Clearly people support the Council’s Eco Island vision and want to do something positive..’

‘The course gives an overview of all the issues associated with small-scale renewable energy…and the need to insulate and conserve energy as a first principle…’

Contact Footprint Trust to book a free place on
82–22-82 or email info@footprint-trust.co.uk

ENDS

Save Water despite rain

No Flaming June ….but still save water Trust urges…..

The hottest April on record and one of the driest on the Isle of Wight since records began. This was followed by the wettest May for decades. The late May bank holiday saw St Catherine’s Point with the most rain overnight in the UK, with 52mm (2.05in) of rain over a 12-hour period between 6pm on Sunday to 6am on the Monday.
June faired little better, with little sunshine and was the wettest June the UK had seen since detailed records began. The Met Office confirmed that 134.5mm (5.3in) of rain fell across the four countries. The average June rainfall in the UK is 72.6mm (3in). A new record was also set for England, with 140.2mm (5.5in) of rain. England has suffered its wettest July on record. Some 129mm (5.07in) of rain fell up to 29 July, beating the previous record of 126.5mm (4.98in) set in 1936. Areas of England and Wales have been devastated by flooding. The total cost to the insurance industry could be as much a £3 billion.
The impact of climate change on wildlife in Britain will be negative too. If the world takes strong action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, we should be able to limit climate change to less than a 2°C average temperature rise. Nevertheless, a two degree rise will still have a marked impact on the UK’s diverse ecosystems.

Hawthorn has been a symbol of May since ancient times but this year it was flowering in early April. Flowers such as snowdrops are blooming earlier in the spring, oaks are leafing earlier and butterflies such as holly blues are appearing earlier. The evidence of Climate Change is all around us and further afield, at the polar Ice caps and on coral reefs due to warmer seas.

In 2005 water shortages in the south of England took their toll on breeding wading birds. Numbers of breeding redshanks, lapwings and snipewaders dropped by up to 80% at five RSPB nature reserves in Sussex and Kent as there is simply not enough water available to maintain their wetland habitats.

Wetland birds such as redshank will find their habitats threatened by climate change. Saltmarshes will become inundated by the sea while moors and wet grasslands will dry up during hot summers.

The last few weeks news has been full of stories of severe flooding. It might seem strange therefore that local charity the Footprint Trust and Waterwise are still calling on people to save water.

‘The overall trend will be more erratic weather. The south east will be drier overall and there will be water shortages. We need to work with nature rather than against it…’ said Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust.

‘Many builders and local authorities have ignored expert advice against building on flood planes….that with Climate Change is reaping disasters..’ he continued.

‘Saving water helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions – 3% of all emissions in the UK are from the water industry. Water is very heavy and needs vast amounts of energy to move around..” Said Ray.

The Footprint Trust’s Waterworks project will be visiting events on the Island this summer giving away Southern Water Save-A-Flush bags and information on saving water.

The Footprint Trust recently praised the IW Council on one of its green initiatives. – ‘One Million Blooms’ which is creating drought-tolerant landscaping in our parks and open spaces. This investment will radically reduce water usage and the associated costs. Many of the plants being chosen also benefit birds, butterflies and bats.

‘Gardeners wanting inspiration on what to plant should visit Ventnor Botanic Gardens, the largest drought–tolerant garden in the south of England.’ Said Mr Harrington-Vail

Look out for the Footprint Trust’s Saving Water leaflet …in local libraries and help centres. You can also view it on the Footprint Trust website.

Get involved
You and your family, school, church or business can get involved in the Waterworks project. Become a Water-Watcher by looking for ways in which to save water.

· Design posters for your washroom or toilets
· Place Southern Water ‘Save-a-Flush’ bags in large cisterns
· Create a drought-tolerant garden
· Report leaking taps and pipes

The Footprint Trust can visit Isle of Wight schools, churches and community buildings and give you ideas on water saving.

For more details please email info@footprint-trust.co.uk

The WaterWorks initiative is supported by The IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund, along with the IWEP EU Leader+ programme and Southern Water.

Water Facts…

A hot dripping tap could waste around £70 a year in water and energy costs

Today we use 50% more water than 25 years ago…around 160 litres per person every day

Climate meeting given something to chew over…

Dozens of people came to the recent Climate Change meeting in Newport to hear speakers talk on the subject of ‘Local Food – Miles Better.’

Ruth Illman from Godshill Organics spoke of the challenges of predicting the correct amount to grow and getting the market price right. She pointed out that people were a little more prepared for local organic food but not always enough to merit the risk of expanding the amount of crops grown and then them not being sold. She highlighted the fact that locally and UK grown organic fruit and vegetables had very low carbon inputs, as no artificial oil-based chemicals are applied to the crops.
She also stressed that buying local produce is a boost to the local economy and jobs.

Paul Heathcote from Afton Park and Chinashop Rare breeds spoke of his commitment to producing traditional tasty varieties of apples along with locally produced beef from rare breeds of cattle. He spoke of the need to find more local producers to help meet demand and to provide a greater variety. However, he pointed out that a high proportion of his customers were tourists rather than local people. The shop at Afton Park is now stocking a wide range of local produce including heritage varieties of potatoes.

Andrew Willard of God’s Providence House restaurant in Newport spoke of his personal mission to support other Isle of Wight businesses. His company buys locally whenever he can, and not only food. On his menu is Isle of Wight meat from Hamiltons and local honey, along with in-season vegetables. When he can’t buy local he purchases from Island rather than mainland wholesalers and shops. He is a keen supporter of the Farmers’ and Producers markets, and can be seen every Friday in the Market in Newport stocking up with local fayre.

The meeting was delighted to welcome green entrepreneurs Jackie Phillips and Rachel Foy from the The Real Island Food Company who are extending availability of local produce by offering a weekly delivery service of a broad selection of local foods at very competitive prices. They have a wide-ranging customer base, including busy mums with families, people with disabilities and elderly people without transport.

The final speaker was local diary farmer Mrs Judi Griffin, representing the County Land and Business Association. She highlighted the CLA’s and NFU’s support for local food and urged people to support the “Just Ask” campaign, where shoppers are encouraged to ask if produce is local.

The IW Action on Climate Change group held the open evening to look at local and regional food and its impact on the local environment. Some ninety five per cent of fruit is imported into the UK along with around fifty per cent of vegetables*. On the positive side there is a growing demand for local food with farmers’ and producers’ markets springing up all over the country.

The cost of food miles to the UK, including time lost from congestion, road wear and tear, ill health from pollution and noise, and road crashes, is £9 billion a year. The average distance we drive to shop for food each year in the UK is 898 miles, compared with 747 in 1992.*

Speaking for the Footprint Trust, who sponsored the meeting , Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“This educational initiative is seeking to inform the public and businesses about the challenges of climate change. It aims to give a positive message as to what can be done in our daily actions to reduce our impact on the planet. We support the NFU campaign for local food.”

“We were delighted at the recent commitment from the IW Council announcing that it is committing itself to cutting carbon by 4% per annum and that it is working with Carbon Trust to achieve this saving. We hope to be working with the new leader of the Council, Cllr David Pugh, in looking for ways to help the public and businesses also achieve similar reductions.”

On Saturday 2nd February the IW Action on Climate Change will be hosting another public event focusing on the subject of Peak Oil.
For more information about the group please visit

www.thewightcounts.org.uk

www.footprint-trust.co.uk

ENDS

* Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2005

www.realislandfood.co.uk

www.aftonpark.co.uk

www.godshillorganics.com

www.briddlesfordlodgefarm.co.uk

www.countrysideonline.co.uk

www.cla.org.uk