The Sustainable Food and Drink Group (SFADG) was launched in 2012 and has main meetings every 2 months. This is an opportunity to share information, network and discuss relevant issues within the food chain (local, national and global). We have short talks at some meetings and also feedback on the group’s projects and activities. There are intermediate meetings of focus groups working on specific projects. We also have occasional visits to local food producers or projects.
2020 – During present restrictions on meetings, the group has continued to share information, lobby and promote positive change to improve availability of good food for all and sustainability in the food chain. To be included on our email circulation list, contact Ros Edwards at email@example.com. All welcome.
The SFADG Zero Waste Working Group was formed in 2016.
Members are currently working on an exciting initiative aimed at reducing single-use plastic drinks bottles and encouraging people to use refillable bottles. It is estimated that an average of 35.8 million plastic bottles are used each day in the UK and that of these, only 19.8 million are recycled. In Wiltshire a staggering 5 million plastic bottles are sent for recycling each month but many are not recycled and some end up as litter. Interested in getting involved in this project? Do get in touch.
We are in the middle of an extensive literature search, revisiting which parts the food chain are mainly responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Some startling findings are emerging,
WORKING WITH SCHOOLS
– The SFADG is delighted to have established renewed links and some partnership working in 2016 with the Sustainability Group at St Laurence School.
– The SFADG proposal for a Schools Food Forum was adopted by Trowbridge Collaborative Schools (group of 22 schools, including some from the Bradford on Avon Community Area). Read more àThis initiative was taken forward and chaired by school governor, Melanie Jacob. During 2014/15 productive meetings were held involving school catering managers, head teachers and school business managers. The programme included a talk from the Children’s Food Trust about the new School Food Standards and meetings to discuss Schools’ Food Policies and Packed Lunch Policies.
– The SFADG has worked to raise awareness of the Food for Life (FfL) awards framework. This framework encourages healthy eating and support with growing food, teaching cooking and helping pupils understand where food comes from. There is also a requirement to source food for school catering with minimal additives and that is sustainably produced, which CFB regards as vital for the environment. We are delighted that some schools in the Bradford on Avon Community Area have achieved awards in this framework and find that it is a very valuable structure adopt: guide for best practice.
“HEALTHY SOIL FOR A HEALTHY LIFE”
Working with the Biodiversity Group, Oxfam and the Fairtrade Group raising awareness that healthy soils are vital for our wellbeing, and that of future generations, and of the planet.
– Have good levels of organic matter;
– Trap huge quantities of greenhouse gases;
– Support biodiversity – one teaspoon can hold more organisms than there are people on the planet;
– Retain nutrients;
– Help prevent drought and flooding.
UN INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SOILS
This highlighted global concern about loss of fertility and progressive soil degradation, due to intensive over farming. This isn’t just an overseas problem: scientists have warned that there may be only 100 harvests left in UK soils. If nutrients are lacking in the soil, this can result in food being deficient in vitamins and minerals, leading to malnutrition in people – hidden hunger. 2015 International Year of Soils and Soils are endangered, but the degradation can be rolled back.
A LOCAL LARDER
This independent Local Food Food Fair was initiated by the SFADG and held in 2014 at Leigh Park Hotel and in 2015 at St Margaret’s Hall, Bradford on Avon. The aim was to make well-produced local food and drink more accessible to all – when shopping to eat at home, or when eating out. Buyers and decision makers from pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels and shops were invited to meet the producers, who had the opportunity to show-casing their products. In 2015, the public were also invited in to meet the producers and shop.
BRADFORD on AVON LOCAL FOOD MAP
Developed in partnership with A Local Life magazine and officially launched in 2014. The Directory lists over one hundred local food and drink producers and outlets.
LOBBYING FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
For example: working with Duncan Hames Lib Dem MP (2010-2015) to encourage public sector catering – schools, universities, hospitals etc to enrol with nationally recognised sustainable food frameworks – such as Food for Life, the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering and the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
The SFADG and the Biodiversity Group have been involved in adopting and planting an “edibles” planter in Lamb Yard, fruit tree planting in Bearfield Playing Fields and herb planters in Winsley. The Biodiversity Group has been central to taking forward most of these initiatives and maintains the BoA plantings.
Activities to raise awareness of environmental food chain issues include articles in A Local Life and The Gudgeon; displays at numerous events and venues, including fetes, the library and Wiltshire Music Centre, Bath Spa University Green Week, A Local Larder; website articles.
ORGANISING SPECIAL EVENTS
“Grazing to Save the Planet” Speakers: Graham Harvey Agricultural Advisor and former script writer for The Archers, and Tim May, farmer. This was a memorable evening held at Cumberwell Park in 2012 at Cumberwell Park. Graham talked about how grazed pasture greatly enhances the ability of the soil to sequester large amounts of carbon, especially if there are mixed species of grasses with deep rooting herbs. At the same time, animal grazing improves soil fertility, structure and stability. Meat, dairy foods and other produce from animals that are mainly grass-fed also better for human health.
“Catering for Our Futures” Speakers: Mike Bond, Manager of the Soil Association’s Food for Life catering Mark, and Ed Franklin, Sales and Marketing Manager of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. This informative meeting was held at Leigh Park Hotel, Bradford on Avon, in 2012.
“Eating Sustainably” Speakers: Toby Quantrill, Head of Public Policy of the Fairtrade Foundation and Helen Browning, Chief Executive of The Soil Association.