AGM and Talk by Friends of the Earth Scotland

Last Monday- 29th September the AGM of FOE Falkirk was held.

First off we had a talk from some of the workers in FOE Scotland- on the waste reduction CREW project and also on some of other work going on behind the scenes in FOE Scotland.

The AGM involved a report back on the groups activities over the year including the packaging reduction campaign, the Fife Diet and Food Discussions and the various fundraising and awareness raising events we have been involved with. Once again our mail fundraising effort has been in second hand books (A good example of reuse in action). We agreed to make a donation to FOE Scotland and to our regular venue with our funds.

The next meeting will involve a local meal (see our previous meal here) and is due on 27th October. Usual Venue. If you want to attend or bring something contact us.

Various members have also been involved in a prototype Transistion Town Falkirk idea. Again if anyone is interested then get in touch here. Email Norman


When Vegetables Attack!

Firstly many thanks to members for taking time out last Saturday to come down and help out at my packaging event.
Also thanks for putting yourself through 2 weeks of shopping at Morrison's.

I think all in all it was a success despite no MSP or coverage in the Herald.
We have yet more names on petitions and I think the manager is realising that we won't go away.
As promised I've produced a draft letter of the key points/questions I want the manager to look at in-store and to raise with head office.

Next FOE Meeting: Monday 30th July 7.30 Christian Centre, Glebe Street Falkirk


I would like to remind everyone about the Packaging Action Day on the 28th June which Corrie emailed everyone about. If you have some time to space it would be great to see you. Meet at Morrison's at 1.45pm.

AT the next FOE MEeting on Friday we hope to show "The 11th Hour" on Monday 30th June.

Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour" is a feature length documentary concerning the environmental crises caused by human actions and their impact on the planet. The 11th Hour documents the cumulative impact of these actions upon the planet's life systems and calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity.

Hope to see some of you at the next meeting

Norman Philip, Local Group Co-ordinator

*I have also added in an email from Ros Browning, Activism & Volunteer Development Officer, at FoE Scotland.

Hello Everyone,

I'm now starting to think about organising a local groups day for everyone to attend from local groups across Scotland. The day is likely to include staying overnight somewhere to allow for groups from far away to attend.

For the moment, I just need to get an idea of what dates people would prefer. I'm initially thinking a date between 1st-20th August. Please can you pass this email onto ALL your local group members to ask if there are any date in this period that are NOT suitable?

Also, please let me know if people would prefer a weekday or weekend.

The day is going to be a great opportunity to get to know other FoES local groups, and gain ideas and inspiration on everything from local campaigning to running more effective group meetings and increasing your group members. I hope lots of you will make it!



Rosiaina Browning
Activism & Volunteer Development Officer email rbrowning@foe-scotland.org.uk


Packaging Action Day Part 2

As you will probably remember last October I organised a supermarket packaging action at Morrisons in Falkirk as part of Friends of the Earth Scotland's CREW project.

Thanks to everyone who showed up on the day, it was a real success and we managed to get a lot of mentions in local and national media.

Well the time has come to repeat the event. Again groups up and down the country will be organising the same stunt over the same weekend at various locations throughout Scotland for maximum impact and I'd be grateful of your support in the Falkirk area.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the issue of excessive packaging and supermarkets' environmental policies and to urge supermarkets to make changes to their practices of excessive food packaging and inordinate use of plastic bags. Since this is a repeat, it will be interesting to see if Morrisons have implemented any of the changes we called for.

This time round I hope to concentrate on cost as this is at the forefront of everyone's mind now that food and fuel seems to be going up on a weekly basis. Packaging costs households £470 per year – that’s one sixth of the average food budget. We will be calling on supermarkets to reduce the amount of packaging that has to be transported up and down the country, adding to the cost of fuel, and for them to source more food locally so it requires less transport and less protection in the form of packaging.

We will be returning to Morrisons, Hope Street, Falkirk and the date for the action is Saturday 28 June 2008, 2pm.

The plan is for as many people as possible to do their shopping at any Morrisons store in the run-up to the event. I would suggest shopping in the store at least twice prior to the event but feel free to collect excess packaging from 2 full weeks as this is the time period I will be indicating to the manager. The aim is to accumulate a fair amount of excessive packaging - for maximum impact this should be at least 2 carrier bags' worth per person. Do collect it in Morrisons bags to demonstrate that they too contribute to waste.

On the day of the event, we will take the packaging we have collected to the supermarket where we will meet with the manager to return the excess packaging to him and to explain why we are taking this action. Again we will have a petition for the public to sign as this is a good way of getting our message over to shoppers. Hopefully the press and some key local figures (MP, MSPs etc.) will also again attend the event.

There is also an option of dressing up on the day in any way you think demonstrates excess packaging or local food. This is purely optional but if you're feeling creative, please go for it. If anyone wants to dress up as a vegetable or fruit, do let me know as I have a few ideas.

If you are interested in taking part in the event, please get in touch with me and I will send you reminders about when to start collecting waste and when and where we will be meeting. Even if you don't live near a Morrisons store, please do turn up on the day and show your support.

Please also tell any friends and family you think might be interested in taking part or simply turning up on the day.

Corrie Cuthbertson

Notes from 23rd May- Forth Valley Diet evening

After the Fife Diet presentation the previous month the group discussed what a local diet in the Falkirk area would look like. It was agreed that Falkirk would be too small an area to consider for a realistic diet but you would think that the Forth Valley area would be a manageable area. People agreed to bring a dish to the May meeting for a Forth Valley meal.

The Forth Valley Meal

soup: seasonal broth Simon

Simon used a recipe which had a stock from oats (Scottish). He replaced onions with spring onions from his veg box and his butter was scottish rather than local.

rocket and herb salad Annie

Annie had all the leaves in her garden and included her first radish of the year. There was carrots from Plean

main: potato and sorrel bake Corrie

Corrie got a big bag of potatoes from the local farm shop which has lasted for ages and she has been able to share with all her friends. The sorrel, a leaf which tastes of apple) was from her garden. The milk was delivered to her door in a glass bottle by her Slammanan milk man. The butter was from the Bridge of Allan dairy. The dish required some olive oil- allowed in the Fife diet and lemon juice.

rhubarb Norman

Norman got his rhubarb at the side of a railway line near his house while walking his dog.

mint tea from Norman's garden

elderberry wine Annie's friend gave her a bottle as a gift

It was agreed that the growing season at the end of May was not the most productive time for local food variety. Norman had tried to find a local farmers shop but the Camelon farm does not open till later in the year and a shop advertised online in California was nowhere to be seen. Corrie had a The Forth Valley Food Link local food directory but this was out of date.

It was agreed to have a Harvest Meal later in the year.

Stall at Falkirk Town Hall Tuesday 24th May- Braveheart Health event

Corrie has arranged for a veg box from Yourlocalfarm.com and will use her Dammhead Organic box to demonstrate local food options which can be delivered locally. Norman has produces a flier to encourage cycling and a write up of the Fife Diet event from last month. The stall will also have the Big Ask materials and postcards.

Yourlocalfarm.co.uk delivers a fruit and vegetable box scheme throughout Central Scotland. From their base at Balquhatstone Mains Farm, Slamannan, yourlocalfarm.co.uk has been providing locally grown vegetables for over six years now.

Initially set up as a ‘local producer’s cooperative’, they have now been organized into ‘yourlocalfarm.co.uk’. Produce in the delivered box is grown on the farm, with a further 11 local, ethical, producers contributing.

Their vegetables are grown using traditional farming methods, with minimal interference. They have as a result been able to become a member of LEAF. As a member of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) they endeavour to produce and supply wholesome food in an environmentally sustainable manner. What they are unable to grow themselves they source from local farms and small holdings or Glasgow Fruit Market to make up their boxes.

Burning Issues of Group

Norman had participated in a community litter pick in Westquarter and was impressed by the response of the community- both adults and children. He has produced a certificate to send to the school thanking the children for their contribution.

Simon has been thinking about the pace of his life and has looked into going to a four day week at work to enable him to slow down and have more time to do different things.

Corrie went on a cycle round the River Forth and which made her think about the distance things travel. On a days cycle she never passed any anywhere where food was was being produced. The media stories on the cost of food highlights that people are no longer prepared to pay for “proper food” and how can local farmers survive if people don't pay a fair price for food. Through Corrie's work she was involved in a consultation for town centre redevelopment in Falkirk which will be paid for from a local business levy. Corrie was against the proposals but since it was introduced after a vote she has decided to put herself forward for the steering group to try and influence environmental improvements in the town.

Charlie is angered at the hypocrisy of the Daily Mail and their plastic bag campaign while the continue to print prominent climate change denying articles. The 11th Hour was on Channel 4 and Charlie thought it was an informative film and wondered why there was so little publicity for screening.

The group agreed to try and get a copy of the film to show at the next meeting.

Big Ask Update

Corrie has had communication with Eric Joyce MP's office. He has confirmed that he will not be supporting the Big Ask pledges as he does not agree with the annual targets and emission on aviation and shipping.


Tonights meeting: Local Food Meal!

The Friends of the Earth Falkirk meeting on Monday, 7.30 Glebe Street Falkirk will be our follow up to the talk by Mike Small on the Fife Diet.

You can see Norman's report on the fife diet talk here.

The Fife Diet have an amazing post on their blog which shows the differences in food consumption in some families around the world. Be prepared for a shock.

Tonight the group will attempt to have a meal of food exclusively from the Forth Valley area- the Falkirk area was seen as too restrictive. Feel free to bring something along. I have looked out how to make mint tea, have eyed up some rhubarb for a sweet, and will provide a starter once I have worked out my options. The discussion will be on the environmental and social impact of food and how to raise the profile of local food production.

On Tuesday the group will have have a stall at a Healthy Living Event at Falkirk Town Hall- 6.30pm to 9.30pm We hope to have a stand looking at the heath benefits associated with cycling, organic food and local food.If anyone is interested in attending and helping out on the stall, even for a short time, do let me or Corrie know.

A new newsletter will be getting produced over the coming month an any articles would be welcomed.

Norman Philip
Local Group Co-ordinator


Food: Where the personal becomes political

Mike Small gave an inspiring talk on Monday on the Fife Diet project. Next Month the group agreed to make a shared meal of a Forth Valley Diet. There will hopefully be soup, salads and a sweet. Lets see what we can do- all welcome:

Corrie Adds:

Just to follow up from Mondays's meeting, Mike Small from the Fife diet has sent me some recipes for Scottish vegetables that are currently in season:

Parsnip Soup & Baked Eggs and Kale

Mini Pasties with Oatmeal Pastry


Vegetables a la Polonaise

He would welcome feedback on any of the recipes if anyone tries them. Just add this to his website http://fifediet.wordpress.com.

I also promised details of the event we have been invited to later in the month. It is for a charity called Braveheart who support people in the Forth Valley area who have heart problems and to this end they hold a yearly event entitled the "Healthy Living Event". This year's event is taking place on Tuesday 27th May from 6.30pm to 9.30pm in Falkirk Town Hall. It aims to bring in local services and support mechanisms to help people live a healthier lifestyle. Last year's event attracted approximately 200 participants and they hope to build on this. We hope to have a stand looking at the heath benefits associated with cycling, organic food and local food.If anyone is interested in attending and helping out on the stall, even for a short time, do let me know.

Lastly another date for your diary is May 12 when the Falkirk Allotment Society is holding an open meeting on at 7.30 in the Christian Centre, Glebe Street, Falkirk

They will have a display of information they have gathered during their research into allotments over the last year. There are growing levels of interest in allotments in Falkirk and they hope you will join them for some refreshments and a chat.



The Falkirk Diet???- Event Monday 28th April

The next Friends of the Earth Falkirk Public Event will be a talk by Mike Small on the Fife Diet on Monday 28th April 2008 at The Christian Centre, Glebe Street, Falkirk @ 7.30pm.

The Fife Diet

Mike Small argues that we should eat local produce and save the planet, an idea that has obliged his family - and a growing number of adherents to his cause - to eat meals of local lamb, pork and a great many dishes based on parsnips, beetroots, kale, potatoes, leeks and all the other root vegetables that typify the agricultural output of this wind-swept corner of Scotland. Learn about the pros and cons of sourcing all his food within a 20 mile radius.
"It's part of our experiment to see if we can do it, how long can we do it for, what it costs, and what the health benefits are. We're not saying we've got all the answers. We've got small children, we work, and we're crap at gardening. We are not The Good Life, but it will just be interesting to see if it can be done. It might be that we can't do it and it ends up that we just buy seasonally and more locally.”
Mike Small, The Guardian November 21 2007

What would a Falkirk Diet look like?
What food would we be able to source within a 20 mile radius and could we sustain a healthy diet?


Radio Link

The documentary “The Carbon Connection” features the people of two towns, one in Brazil and one in Scotland, that are intimately linked by a carbon trading project of BP Scotland. This interview features a conversation with one of those people, Norman Philip of Grangemouth, Scotland talking about some of the real outcomes of carbon trading.

Follow the Links below, to hear the interview, and head here to read more details and watch the documentary.


The Big Ask: Saturday 7th April

Gordon Brown- Please don't ignore aviation emissions.

Big Ask Climate Change Debate

On Friday 4 April, Friends of the Earth Falkirk welcomed Stuart Hay, head of campaigns at FoE Scotland and Eric Joyce, Falkirk West MP to a debate on climate change to launch the Big Ask day of action the following day.
The event started with a presentation from Stuart on climate change and how we need tough legislation to prevent the situation spiralling out of control in the future.
This was followed by a lively discussion with Mr Joyce. Members of the local group were saddened to hear of his great enthusiasm for nuclear power and how the present government sees nuclear as the only way in which we can fight climate change rather than investing in renewables and a reduction in consumption.
Everyone present agreed that the key to solving emissions problems lies in changing mindsets and education.
The evening ended with the group handing over postcards to Mr Joyce from his constituents asking him to vote in favour of a tough climate change bill.


The Big Ask Falkirk Event- Friday 4th April

As the Climate Change Bill goes through the parliamentary process The Big Ask campaign will continue to demand tough legislation to reduce the impacts of climate change.

An evening of discussion and film on Friday 4th April at The Christian Centre, Glebe Street, Falkirk at 7.30pm.
There will be a screening of sections of the Inconvenient Truth.

Speakers will include:
Eric Joyce MP
Stuart Hay
Head of Campaigns
Friends of the Earth Scotland


Meetings on Week Beginning March 31st

Monday evening 7.30pm at The Christian Centre, Glebe Street, Falkirk
The main topic of discussion will be the Big Ask event this coming weekend.

Friday evening (4th April) 7.30pm at The Christian Centre: Film showing for the Big Ask.

Saturday?? Stay tuned for further information.


February FOE Meeting

Monday 26th February 2008 7.30-9.30- Christian Centre

James Curran will give a presentation about his about his new environmentally-aware shop in Glasgow, Entrading, 88 West Regent Street, Glasgow G2 2QZ, on the corner of Hope Street.

www.entrading.co.uk 0141 332 2424

Crew Update (Communities Reducing Excess Waste)

As part of the CREW initiative Corrie Cuthbertson has been involved in a number of forums to try and spread the message of waste minimisation.

As part of a Falkirk Council initiative Corrie has been involved in looking at the possibilities of finding a community to pilot a Plastic Bag Free Zone. This has involved looking at initiatives with examples of good practice and researching the range of alternatives available.

Corrie tried to investigate the possibility of reintroducing reusable glass milk bottles into stores in the Falkirk area. As someone, who still has her milk delivered in a glass bottle to her door, she was surprised to discover that there is currently no capacity in the local dairy market to reintroducing glass milk bottles into local shops.


Falkirk MPs sign up to the BIG ASK campaign

The morning after the Bali UN climate change talks ended without setting strong reduction targets due to pressure from the US negotiators, local campaigners visited Michael Connarty MP to ask for him to support strong reduction targets in the UK climate change bill. On Saturday 14th December 2007 members of Friends of the Earth Falkirk delivered postcards from local constituents asking for a climate change bill strong enough to meet the climate challenge.

The group were delighted that Mr Connarty signed their Big Ask Pledge and agreed to support the Friends of the Earth call for 80% cuts in UK carbon reductions by 2050, annual milestones for reductions and the law strengthened to include the UK’s share of international emissions from aviation and shipping.

Michael showed his ongoing commitment by signing an Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by Nigel Griffiths in January 2008 on the Climate Change Bill. The EDM welcomes the Bill, but points out the United Nations Development Programmes recent conclusions that the targets are not ambitious enough and that leaving out international aviation and shipping weaken the Bill considerably, and calls for the Bill to be amended.

Eric Joyce MP was also visited by FoE Falkirk as part of the Big Ask campaign and he agreed to sign up to the demands. He offered to come and meet the local FoE group to discuss the issues, but unfortunately this had to be postponed due to his commitments in parliament.

PULP FICTIONS Saturday 2nd February

Secrets of the paper industry exposed (and what we can do about it)
Keynote speaker Mandy Haggith, author of the forthcoming book ‘Paper Trails’, will explain how we can limit the environmental and social costs of an industry that in many parts of the world has cleared ancient forests to make way for industrial plantations, displaced local communities, endangered wildlife, used massive amounts of energy and caused substantial pollution.

Other contributors will outline the state of recycling and waste reduction today in Scotland and how they are currently promoted.

This event is being held at the Christian Centre Glebe St Falkirk