Sunday, 30 June 2013

VGS AGM: sustainable development: the bigger picture

On Wednesday, the Vision Group's AGM considered the question 'What is sustainable development?' Vision Group for Sidmouth - VGS Annual General Meeting
You can also download the full report on the public meeting on Sustainable Development.

Simon Tytherleigh from Sustainable Bradninch in Mid Devon was asked to talk about the 'macroeconomics' of sustainability. Bradninch Climate Action Group 

> It is now six years since the banking crisis erupted, and yet today the banks are even less diversified than ever before and they are not carrying out the function of channeling government money into business.
Small businesses still being starved by banks as lending falls by £3BILLION in threat to British economy | Mail Online
Banks Are Not Lending Like They Should, And With Good Reason - Forbes
Lending to small business: don't blame the banks? | Business | guardian.co.uk

> There are fears that the recovery from the recession is much slower than anticipated and that we are headed to a Japanese-style era of stagnation, with wages rising slower than inflation and people spending less.
Paul Krugman on Vimeo

> Not only is the National Debt  getting bigger, but so too is the Deficit (the measure of how far we are not breaking even). 
Increasing deficit cuts right through the Chancellor’s spin on Britain’s economy - Comment - Voices - The Independent

> The conventional 'answer' is a 'return to growth' - and yet it is clear this is not going to happen.
--- With Oil priced at over $100 for some years, we have now come to the end of cheap energy.
The Big Flatline: Oil and the No-Growth Economy: Amazon.co.uk: Jeff Rubin: Books
Growth Alone is Not the Answer | Jeff Rubin
--- Nicholas Sterne has calculated that we will have to spend a fifth of national income on dealing with environmental damage: ie, the 'costs of growth'.
Stern Review - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse' | Environment | The Observer
--- Ben Bernanke has suggested 'quantitative easing' should slow down, creating panic on Wall St.
Quantitative easing: End of the line - FT.com
--- Rob Hopkins has reported that 75% of Local Authorities do not believe in 'a return to growth'.
Local, self-sufficient, optimistic: are Transition Towns the way forward? | Environment | The Guardian [see future blog entry...]
--- Alan Greenspan has seen a 'flaw' in the version of economics which assumes endless growth.
Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation - NYTimes.com

> And yet many persist in believing that we will be going back to business as usual, with British estate agents talking about the housing market 'picking up again' 
Transaction levels pick up across UK, claims optimistic RICS - Estate Agent Today
--- And yet house prices need to decrease by 20-30% to service mortgage rates realistically.
Britain’s obsession with house prices will ruin us all - MoneyWeek
--- And - whilst internationally, 'sovereign debts' are going up - should mortgage interest rates rise by only 2%, it is calculated that a fifth of homeowners will be affected.
Cheap mortgages can't last forever, experts warn - The Lolly from Citywire Money

> The culture of 'entitlement' amongst Baby-Boomers means that future generations are expected to pay as times get harder - and yet, because of widespread illiteracy about these issues amongst younger generations, this situation is being accepted.
The next crisis: Sponging boomers | The Economist
Who Destroyed the Economy? The Case Against the Baby Boomers - Jim Tankersley - The Atlantic

> "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Our Common Future: Towards Sustainable Development - UN

> In the UK we are currently consuming the equivalent of 3.25 planets - and there is a limit to how long this can go on for until the system falls apart.

- One Planet Challenge
... it would require three planets to support the world’s consumption if everyone used as many of the Earth’s available resources(“bio-capacity”) as the average UK resident. This level of resource use is unsustainable, and demonstrates the need for a ‘One Planet Economy’ – an economic system  of production and consumption which respects environmental limits while being financially and socially sustainable.
Counting Consumption - WWF
The vision and challenge: “A one planet economy”
Sustainable consumption and production requires us to achieve more with less. Current developed country patterns of consumption and production could not be replicated world-wide: some calculations suggest that this could require three planets’ worth of resources.
“One Planet Economy”: Sustainable Consumption and Production - DEFRA

> What we can do about it is to 'trim' - but at a community level. 
And what we need to ask is 'how to make communities resilient to outside shocks':
What is resilience? - Transition Town Totnes
Community resilience, Transition, and why government thinking needs both » Transition Culture

--- local currencies
Can local currencies help advance global sustainability? | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional

Bristol pound is just one example of what local currencies can achieve | Local Leaders Network | Guardian Professional

The Brixton Pound - Money that sticks to Brixton - B£
Local Money: How to Make it Happen in Your Community » Transition Culture

--- the Transition Town movement
Welcome | Transition Network
The Transition Town Movement: Embracing Reality and Resilience

--- Incredible Edible

Incredible Edible - Transition Town Totnes
Incredible Edible | You are what you eat

--- a closed loop economy

Clean Production Action — Closed Loop Systems
The value proposition of simplifying sustainability | Closed Loop Advisors

> Read 'When The Money Runs Out' by Stephen D King, Chief Economist at HSBC.
Economics: Horror story | The Economist

Here is the presentation which Simon gave to Sustainable Crediton a couple of months ago: 

Review of 'Shrinking the giant hamster: how we can be better off without growth.'

Around 35 people attended Simon's stimulating talk.
Simon explained that we are already using 1.5 times the Earth's resources to maintain our current economic lifestyle. However all the world's economies are advocating growth economics as the way ahead. With an average growth forecast by traditional economists of 2.5% pa, the world's economy will double in 28 years and will be consuming resources of 3 Earths. This sort of exponential growth clearly cannot continue for ever and we are already seeing signs that growth is stagnating in many of the world's developed economies such as the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece etc. perhaps the economists have the theory wrong ? Simon put forward lots of ideas and ways that economies could work in a sustainable way. The New Economics Foundation has many resources. Finally he told us of his work with ACT (Alliance for Change Today) founded by Charles Secrett where a manifesto for a new economics will be put before all MP candidates for the 2015 election.
See Simon's presentationnotes and reading list.

Sustainable Crediton - 'Shrinking the giant hamster: how we can be better off without growth.'

Saturday, 29 June 2013

National Park for East Devon and Dorset: questions

This is the full version of the letter published in yesterday's Sidmouth Herald questioning the notion of a new National Park. 

A National Park?

Being in a national park sounds a nice idea, but is it what it seems?  I lived in one of the Devon National Parks before coming to Sidmouth.   Its Council is responsible for all planning, including listed structures, (though not for building control).  It has 22 members, not one of whom is elected, and who can serve for 10 years.  10 are government appointees, and the rest are largely appointees from various Councils.  There is no channel of accountability to the residents of the Park.

As a result, there were bizarre and inconsistent decisions, especially on planning, explicable sometimes as the result of individuals with fixed views.  "Keeping things as they are" even included preserving a building with a rusty iron roof.  On another occasion, a poultry producer whose customers could not get their increasingly bigger trucks to his yard was refused removal of his agricultural condition by the Park, but on appeal the Inspector found that though the condition should be removed, the Park had not followed proper process, which meant that the appeal had to be refused on a technicality.  The hearing included a 30-minute smokescreen address by an elderly gent who was the Park's consultant surveyor, while the planning officer spent most of the time hunting for papers she did not have.  Total fiasco, without any redress.  There were many such episodes.

An unnamed spokesperson for the campaign group referred (in Pullman's Sidmouth) to "the desirable development of greater administrative and policy coherence across the proposed area".  In practice that means one-size-fits-all policies, which can result in policy and admin decisions that are highly unsuitable or irrelevant locally.  In terms of planning especially, we could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire by becoming surrounded by one.

There was no easy means of finding out what the Park's money was spent on.  Its strategic and management plans, drawn up with huge expenditure on unnamed consultants as far as we could tell, were merely words.  For example, one was cleverly worded apparently in favour of one type of renewable energy, but with qualifications making it impossible in practice.  On the ground, inconsistent interpretations seemed to be the norm.  There was little perception among residents that the Park Council were interested in their livelihoods and living standards.  Farmers were hamstrung by diktats about their work, as were some of those trying to run other businesses.  Employment, population, food production and the like were not seen to be the Park's concern.  Bureaucracy was rampant. The Park referred to has 105 employees, but recently got rid of three of its five park rangers to save money.

The "bring money into the local economy" phrase is much bandied about. However the Park referred to was not itself active in promoting tourism, which was done by other bodies.  It is my view that people visit Dartmoor and Exmoor because they are Dartmoor and Exmoor, and not because they are National Parks.

It could be that Parks other than the ones referred to may be better, and it would be wise to determine whether that is so or not.  In particular, the effect of Parks on settlements within and adjacent to them should be ascertained.  There are no settlements within Dartmoor or Exmoor Parks that have populations above 4,000, but some larger settlements have the Park Boundary right up to their built-up areas (Ivybridge, Minehead & Tavistock with populations between 11018 and 12056).  This can be very restrictive for the settlements, with yet another authority to deal with.  For example, Okehampton's built-up area finishes just outside the Park boundary, but there has been much tension because the Park states that it is "within sight of the Park", and considers it has a right to interfere.

A more productive approach might be for the Vision Group for Sidmouth to find a way of working with existing organisations to work up sound policies on future population structure, employment, and related infrastructure.  Demography, particularly the "age time-bomb", is going to demand a lot of future management.

CW Burke, 29 June 2013

See also:
‘Jurassic Park’ plan for East Devon still alive - News - Sidmouth Herald
Futures Forum: National Park for East Devon and Dorset: request for further scrutiny
Futures Forum: National Park for East Devon and Dorset: the issues

VGS AGM: Sidmouth in Bloom

The fourth talk at the Vision Group's AGM on Wednesday was given by Lynette Talbot, chair of Sidmouth in Bloom. Sidmouth In Bloom

SIB has worked very closely with Sidmouth Town Council - for example, with the provision of an annual grant towards the town planters, flowerbeds and floral displays (£13,400 for 2010/11: STC Annual Report 2009/10) and help with the entry fee for the Communities in Bloom International Challenge for 2013 (STC Minutes Feb 2013) Otherwise, everything is done on a voluntary basis.

The Royal Horiticultural Society which runs 'Britain's most popular horticultural campaign', Britain in Bloom , is not only concerned with "horticultural achievement", but "community participation and environmental responsibility." 
Britain in Bloom / RHS Gardening
RHS Britain in Bloom results 2012 / RHS Gardening

This has been the case for some time now, as a report from the Telegraph in 2008 pointed out:
Once, neat lawns and pristine planting were enough to win Britain in Bloom. Now the judging criteria include sustainability, recycling and community involvement - and it is having a hugely positive effect. 
Britain in Bloom: floral chance - Telegraph

As Lynette said, the practices of Sidmouth in Bloom are very much about sustainability:
> Cuttings are taken from perennials and tended by volunteers; much is grown directly from seed.
Anyone can also join the SiB Sidcombers to clean-up the beach 
Sidmouth In Bloom | SPONSORS & FRIENDS
> Material collected goes straight to composting, through a local company or the District Council. 
> Traditional Victorian carpet bedding is locally-sourced - from Cornwall.

> This year's Britain in Bloom them of 'Edible Britain'  will not only help the birds and bees, but show passers-by where their fruit and veg come from. 
Edible Britain campaign / RHS Gardening
> Sidmouth primary schools have been given seeds and compost - this will, after all be part of their curriculum as of next year.
> Plants and planting systems which need less water are made good use of
> Planting in appropriate environments is known to have an effect on depression and vandalism - for example, the approach to the Health Centre.

It is about people and places:
These changes are truly transformational, from fostering strong communities and building civic pride, to making the local area a better place to live by reducing crime, helping local businesses, creating investment and employment, along with improvements to social needs such as training the long term unemployed. But it’s also about creating beautiful spaces and improving the wider environment through attracting more wildlife and, of course, having fun.

With an extraordinary example in the States: Detroit gets growing | Environment | The Observer
See also: Futures Forum: Public Space

Meanwhile, back in Sidmouth:

> ‘Friends’ can help raise money by growing plants for sale at the Community Market each month or assist on the stall. 
Sidmouth In Bloom | SPONSORS & FRIENDS

> The 'Secluded Gardens' start next weekend. 
Sidmouth In Bloom | Gardens Opened, 5th, 6th, 7th July 

> And there is an interesting project on the beach:
 Sidmouth in Bloom (SIB) are developing an area of beach where the storm tides rarely reach and beach plants have already started to colonise. They have taken over management of the site from East Devon DC and persuaded them not to kill off all the vegetation with weedkiller. Plants such as the sea beet, tree mallow, horned poppy and rock samphire are already colonising the site and the aim is to increase the biodiversity by introducing other native beach plants that have not yet reached the site. Devon Plant Heritage Group is backing the project by helping to grow beach plants from seed sourced from other parts of the county. Our aim is to encourage proper beach plant communities to develop on our beach.
Vision Group for Sidmouth - Biodiversity Group
Vision Group for Sidmouth - Beach Garden
Sidmouth In Bloom | NEWS

TV star declares Sidmouth Oceanscene open!

 Friday, April 5, 2013 

 Anne Swithinbank and Lynette Talbot. Photo by Eve Mathews.Anne Swithinbank and Lynette Talbot. Photo by Eve Mathews.
TELEVISION horticulturist Anne Swithinbank was among a hardy group who braved a wet and blustery beach to officially open a new seafront attraction.
Driving forces behind the Oceanscene project near the Millennium Walk are now looking forward to its floral features flourishing.
Anne planted sea kale, sea carrot and other shingle plants and was delighted that so many different groups had come together and are now involved with the eco-system. The garden is set as the scene of a derelict pier at one end and an old boat at the other.
A new information board has been installed - which will change as more varieties of plants grow.
“We are all looking forward to having a colourful feature on the shingles beside the Millenium Walk,” said Sidmouth in Bloom (SIB) chairman Lynette Talbot.
“Although plants are being introduced by human intervention, the intention is to grow shingle plants endemic to the Devon coast. We encourage everyone to look after this bed, wander around the plants to see what is coming up but take care not to damage the seedlings.”
Many of the scene’s features have been salvaged from previous coastal clean-ups.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Pennington Point: latest news: beach management plan

In today's Sidmouth Herald:

Cliff erosion: cash matching pledged

by Stefan Gordon

Hopes of a beach management plan for Sidmouth have been boosted after the Environment Agency (EA) vowed to match £7,500 that residents have pledged towards the project.
Cliff Road homeowners said in May that they were willing to come up with funds towards the long-awaited blueprint if the authority was able to add to its contribution. [Futures Forum: Pennington Point: a beach management plan]
The plan will pinpoint how best to tackle rapid erosion of Pennington Point.
And the aspiration of the people whose properties are at risk now looks like becoming a reality,k according to Councillor Stuart Hughes.
"I have been successful in getting additional money (£7,500) towards the plan," said the County's cabinet member for flooding.
"Hopefully, that will unlock £7,500 from local residents. That's the funding that is required to start it. I am keeping my fingers crossed some good is going to come out of the beach management plan and we're going to get some kind of scheme to protect Sidmouth from the sea for the next 50 to 100 years." 
The plan is expected to cost £80,000 in total, with £27,000 so far committed by East Devon District Council and a similar amount from the EA. [Futures Forum: Pennington Point]

Home - Sidmouth Herald

VGS AGM: Fresh and Green

The third piece from the VGS AGM on Wednesday evening reports on what Ruth Hancock of Fresh and Green, the third member of the panel, had to say. Fresh and Green

Economies of Scale: Small is Beautiful

Ruth referred to studies showing that per acre, small-scale farming is much more productive in the long-run; after an average of 10 years, large-scale intensive agriculture is no longer efficient.

The World Bank says so:
The assumption that large-scale mechanized agriculture is more productive and efficient than small family farms is influencing agricultural development policy around the world. From China to Ethiopia, developing countries are moving toward corporate farming as a way to boost production and jump-start agricultural development.
But the basis of their strategy, the assumption that bigger farms are better farms, is one of the most enduring myths in global development.
Bigger may be better when it comes to making cars or tennis shoes. But in agriculture, the size of a farm is rarely a direct corollary to its productivity or efficiency.
In fact, World Bank researchers conclude that “the literature contains no single example of economies of scale arising for farm sizes exceeding what one family with a medium tractor could comfortably manage.” (1)

If small-scale farmers have sufficient access to land, water, credit and equipment, the productivity per hectare and per unit of energy use is higher than that of large intensive farming systems - in general smallholder production requires fewer external inputs and only results in minor damages to the environment. Small farms can also better adapt and are more flexible to the requirements and changes of their location. As small-scale farming requires more workers per hectare, it enables people in the countryside to make a living (see also food sovereignty).
Industrial Agriculture and Small-scale Farming

The key to alleviating world hunger, poverty and combating climate change may lie in fresh, small-scale approaches to agriculture, according to a report from the Worldwatch Institute.
World hunger best cured by small-scale agriculture: report | Environment | guardian.co.uk

And this is supported by the UN:
Small-scale sustainable agriculture key to global food security
According to the United Nations’ World Economic and Social Survey 2011, a transformation from the predominant large-scale and intensive systems of agriculture towards small-scale sustainable agriculture is urgently needed.
Small-scale sustainable agriculture key to global food security

Besides, there are many advantages to small-scale farming: Small scale agriculture - Appropedia: The sustainability wiki

Here's a useful resource: Small farms

Zero Carbon Farming

With reference to their recent win to build summer accommodation at the farm, Ruth said that "sitting on a tractor for 20 minutes is actually more sustainable in terms of carbon/fuel use than driving for four miles to the farm".

There is the question: Is Zero-Carbon Farming Even Possible? : TreeHugger
And yet in the Outback of Australia this is being tried: Zero Carbon Farm home page
Whilst the Soil Association thinks it's possible: Seminars with Iain Tolhurst: Towards a Carbon Zero Farm
And there are very practical steps suggested: Zero Carbon Britain 2030 plan for land and farming | Changing more than lightbulbs
Profitable business in a changing climate: The world is changing. Government has tasked farmers and land managers with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy and input prices are going up, and food and energy security is hitting the headlines… Farming Futures

The conclusion is, therefore, that carbon/fossil fuels should be used 'intelligently' in farming.

See: F3 (Fossil Fuel Free) Farming Project Launch | Earth Centre
Futures Forum: VGS AGM: Bicton College 


Ruth also questioned the extent to which a vegetarian diet is 'good for the environment'.

A staple of a vegetarian diet is soya.
But there are concerns that demand for soya market is destroying rainforests:
Logged area in the Amazon rainforest to clear land for soya plantations. The lone Brazilian nut tree belongs to the Castanheira species which is protected in Brazil since 1994. Greenpeace document a number of geographical locations in the Amazon, looking at the impacts of deforestation on various aspects of forest life. They look at people, natural wildlife and the landscape which has drastically altered as huge areas are cleared to meet agricultural demand. Soya plantations are the leading cause of deforestation in the region.

The Lone Brazilian nut tree | Greenpeace InternationalUK Food Group: Soya, Amazon destruction and climate changeSoya report highlights causes of deforestation - WWF UK - Soya Report, Deforestation, Cerrado, Brazil

However, apparently it's not quite so simple, because a staple of a cow's diet is also soya: 
Fast-Food Forest Destruction | Greenpeace International 
As here:
A huge amount of soy is used as animal feed, in America about 95% of all non-exported soy protein ends up as livestock feed. Of this, 77% to 95% is irretrievably lost in the process of animal metabolism. So eating farmed animals is contributing even more to rainforest destruction. If people ate soy directly themselves, instead of feeding it to animals, a very much smaller area of land would have to be cultivated. Soya causes environmental damageSilent Invasion: the hidden use of GM crops in livestock feed

And here:
The nutritional content of the soya bean is so profound that just 10 hectares – an area the size of five football pitches – can feed 61 people. The same area of land devoted to raising animals for meat would support just two people (Tickell, 1991).
Because of this, vast tracts of land in many parts of the world have been turned over to soya production – not to feed people but as a fodder for farmed animals. It has become an environmental and human catastrophe (UN/FAO, 2006).
The United States was traditionally the world’s largest grower, accounting for 75 per cent of soya production – enough to feed almost two billion people. But almost the entire crop is fed to farmed animals So great is the demand of these animals that still more soya is imported from developing countries such as India and Brazil (Pimentel and Pimentel, 1982). It is no accident that the biggest exporters of animal fodder such as soya are the very countries which have massive landlessness and whose children most frequently die from starvation (Smulders, 1991).
What lies of the heart of this extraordinary wastefulness is the inherent inefficiency of livestock production as a means of providing food. It can take as much as 17kg of high-quality vegetable protein to produce just 1kg of meat protein. It is for this reason the 70 per cent of all agricultural land across the world is now required to feed livestock (UN/FAO, 2006).
Increasingly it is Brazil that is becoming the world’s biggest soya exporter and the trade is largely controlled by three huge multinational corporations. Huge tracts of Amazon rainforest are now being cleared specifically for soya (Greenpeace, 2006). In fact, 30 per cent of all cleared rainforest land is now used to grow soya and most of the remainder is used to graze cattle. Soya production is now intimately linked to loss of biodiversity across the globe (UN/FAO, 2006).

Furthermore, as Ruth said: if we are to consume dairy products but not eat meat (ie, vegetarian rather than vegan), then what happens to the male calves?
Baby calves shot on C4 documentary: People have no right to complain if they don't inform themselves about food | Mail Online 
Dear dairy | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk 
The mystery of the missing dairy calves | From Animal To Meat 

The 'solution', it appears, is that: 
If you're going to eat meat, then eat home-reared meat raised on home-grown fodder: 
Riverwood Farm producing Quality meat and livestock for the South West 
Smallicombe, award winning farm accommodation - bed and breakfast and 4 star self catering cottages. Honiton, Devon accommodation near the Jurassic coast 
If you're not going to eat meat, then eat home-grown veg:
Fresh and Green 

Fresh and Green: open day Sunday 7th July

This is an example of local food production:


Welcome To Fresh and Green

At Fresh and Green we supply seasonal, naturally grown vegetables and herbs. We grow our produce in fertile, well composted soil in the Otter valley without using any artificial fertilisers or pesticides.

We supply our customers through a weekly bag scheme having harvested and packed our vegetables early in the morning so they will reach you as fresh as is possible.

The vegetables we supply are seasonal and we aim to offer as much variety as possible. 

This business had applied for planning permission: 

And earlier this month were granted permission after an appeal:


A note from Ruth and Mole who have won their recent planning appeal for permission to live at their field at Southerton where they grow over fifty different varieties of vegetables and fruit for their box scheme and also have chickens ducks and pigs to help with the gardening -
“A very Heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who took the trouble to write letters of support to the inspectorate – they were read and taken notice of! The sustainability benefits of the enterprise were recognised by the inspector and she could see why doing what we do requires us to be there all day every day. So now it is onwards and upward with growing even more and better veg, and allowing our chickens and ducks to make best use of the veg ground before and after cropping."

We would now like to invite you all to the 

Fresh and Green Open Day and Cake Extravaganza on Sunday 7th July, 12 O’clock onwards, at our growing site –   Hoppins Field, Southerton, near NewtonPoppleford

Come and see how and where we grow our veg, meet some of the Fresh and Green Team – including the chickens, ducks and pigs, and join us for lashings of tea and cake.
As usual we are holding our Annual Charity Baking Competition on the same day. Categories this year are – 1. Cake with a vegetable ingredient. 2. Scone with a vegetable and or herb ingredient, and new category for this year to celebrate the arrival of our laying birds (and because we’re greedy) 3. Quiche/tart/flan with a vegetable ingredient.
All entries need to be onsite for judging (sorry no vacancies for that job) by 3pm. After the prize giving, entries will be sold to raise funds for ‘Practical Action’ who find and fund small scale sustainable solutions to poverty in the developing world. Last year we raised over £80 this way, and we’d like to do even better this year especially as we will be celebrating “10 years of Fresh and Green”.

We are also looking for a few new folk for our ‘volunteers for veg (and eggs) scheme.’ We have a small team of volunteers who come to our veg field on a regular basis to help out and in return they receive a bag of veg and a box of eggs. No previous gardening experience is required, in fact it might be a useful way of picking up some new skills. All you need is to be reasonably fit and not mind a bit of ‘weather’. One of our volunteers commented that “it’s like having an allotment – only you get a guaranteed return for your labours!” If you or any one you know might be interested then do get in touch Email freshandgreenvegetables@talktalk.net
Visit our (due for a refresh) website for a location map www.freshandgreenvegetables.co.uk
We look forward to seeing you at the Open Day if not before. “                                           
Ruth and Mole.

And they appear every month at the Ottery and Sidmouth Community Markets. 

Community Market

Photograph of sheep in a field
The Food Group organise the monthly community market in Sidmouth
The Community Market usually takes place on the 2nd Saturday of each month at St John Ambulance Hall, Blackmore Drive, EX10 8LA
The aim is to provide Sidmouthians and visitors with the opportunity to buy locally produced meat, bakery goods and vegetables, as well as local crafts.
We are always looking for volunteers to help with serving refreshments.
Contact me if you'd like to hire a table or help out with organising the market.
Regular supplies include Riverwood Farm meats and sausages, Fresh and Green vegetables, Cooks Farm PreservesSmallicombe Farm woollens, sheepskins and meat, wonderful flowers and jams, greetings cards, Artisan Sourdough breads and more!

Next one on Saturday 13th July.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Yew, the Sycamore and the Ash

Mabey in the Wild

In the first of two programmes about British trees, Richard Mabey is in Hampshire to tell the natural and the cultural history of the Yew, the Sycamore and the Ash.
His journey takes him from Gilbert White's village of Selborne down into the New Forest. He gives an account of these favourite British trees not only in terms of what they have contributed to the landscape but what their uses have been and what part they have played in human history, mythology and religion.
From the 3000 year old Yew to the recent resurgence of young elm after the devastation of Dutch Elm disease, this is also a fascinating glimpse of the tenacity and resilience of trees in the wild.
BBC Radio 4 - Mabey in the Wild, Series 2, Episode 1

Farway Yew

Some photographs of the yew tree at Church Green near Farway taken some time ago now.It does seem that the only way these trees survive is by being in such out of the way places.Set in a good level churchyard near some fantastic hills and views this tree has lots of interesting serpentine structures.There is also another old yew tree in the same churchyard. With all respect to the people living nearby this place is not really on the way to anywhere and is probably all the nicer for it.Apologies for not posting lately, lots of computer trouble.
Paintings Art etc.: Farway Yew

Great Trees of East Devon - The Farway Yew - Ancient tree - YouTube
BBC - Devon - Nature - East Devon's greatest trees
East Devon District Council - Great Trees of East Devon: The Farway Yew

Devon in June, from Fairing's Parish:

"This is everyone's favourite tree.  A lot of people consider sycamores to be weeds because they're hard to get rid of, but even those people love this tree.  There's a photo of it in the pub.  It's not unusual, it's just a really really good tree."
"Sometimes I worry that we're all too fond of this tree."

BBC Radio 4 - Mabey in the Wild, Series 2, Episode 1, The plight of the unloved sycamore

Ash Dieback « Devon Wildlife Trust