Food for Thought Food Festival

As promised at the food event I had thought of some films I wanted everyone to see to introduce some organisations and some food concepts. Below you will see links to organisations and films. Click on the hyperlinks at your own leisure and watch in the comfort of your home when every you like.      Enjoy and Learn!

Its the season to be organic

Food for Thought Film Festival

Introduction to Nourish Scotland     

Introduction to The Fife Diet 
https://vimeo.com/47484452      11.37 mins

Why does Fairtrade mean sustainable trade?
http://youtu.be/i2em5C5pJtw      3.29mins
There is a lot of talk about sustainability at the moment, but what impact can Fairtrade have in building a sustainable future for us all? Watch their animation to find out more …

La Via Campesina in Movement… Food Sovereignty now!
An introduction to Via Campesina, the international peasant movement

Soil Association- Earth Worm   https://youtu.be/iOakParsq34   0.54mins
Friends of the Earth Falkirk Community Gardens
An introduction to the four community gardens cared for by Friends of the Earth Falkirk music: Karine Polwart- Daisy, hope films 2013- 3.27 mins http://youtu.be/wRrNebnOSUY 
Big Dig 2013 http://youtu.be/F0Pq7-uMUDc
hope films music: Tunng- It Breaks 2013- 2.24 mins! 



Another Meal is Possible Falkirk Workshop

The Friends of the Earth Falkirk food event on the 1 November was an invitation to talk about a meal. You can’t talk about food without getting hungry so the event started with food. Soup made with local. organic produce and Fairtrade tea and coffee. 

The workshop started with an introduction to some of the food campaigns Friends of the Earth Falkirk have been involved in over the past 7 years. The group have explored local food through shared meals where people are encouraged to bring a dish and talk about the food issues which the dish represent. The concept of a LOAF meal. *Local, Organic and/ or Fairtrade The phrase was shared at a talk on the Fife Diet by Mike Small in Falkirk at the start of the Fife Diet project. The six themes of the Fife Diet were shared with the group:

Eat Local (80/20 split)
Compost more
Waste less
Be more organic
Eat less meat
And grow some of their own food

Friends of the Earth Falkirk have campaigned on all the Fife Diet themes. This has included stalls to promote of local food on Falkirk High Street, workshops in reducing packaging waste within the community which led to an action outside Morrison’s Supermarket with group members dressed as peppers wrapped in cellophane with the banner “Let us breath” to highlight that individual peppers were being packaged totally unnecessary in the store.

Over the past 5 years the group has also developed 4 community gardens in central Falkirk, including a vegetable garden just of Falkirk High Street. The highlight of the community garden year is the Soup and Stovies event which produces a meal from the harvest from the vegetable garden. A meal which is rooted in Falkirk and celebrates local  food and volunteering.

There was 9 participants at the workshop 4 members of the local group and 5 guests who responded to the invitation to (talk about) a meal. Norman Philip, who was facilitating the session, explained there was talk about a food event would simply be “preaching to the converted”. It was hoping that everyone at the session were passionate about food and would be willing to share their passion.  The hope for the session was that those present would consider some individual actions they could take and help shape future Friends of the Earth campaigns on food in Falkirk.

At the start of the workshop everyone was given a paper plate and asked to draw their favourite meal. People were then asked to share their favourite meal and explain where they get the ingredients from.

By sharing what everyones favourite meal was within the group there was discussion about the emotional link to food. Someone shared their birthday meal that has become a family tradition, someone else shared their favourite dish which their mother used to make which they now are able to make, including growing all the ingredients them self. Other themes included the pleasure of food and importantly the taste of food. The aim of this first exercise was to highlight that food is not just a commodity which we buy and sell. When people explained were they bought, or for some grew, the ingredients there was a discussion about the lack of local food available in Falkirk. The few shops that have sold local food in Falkirk Town Centre have either closed or moved out of town. Supermarkets have dominated the food market, even for “converted” shoppers who care where their food comes from. There ware some great examples of locally produced food, including flour, veg box boxes schemes and dairy. And some examples of attempts to improve access to local food that hasn’t worked, like the monthly Friday farmers market, which people think is a shadow of its former self.

Using the themes of Local, Organic and Fairtrade people were asked to think of some of the options available that could make their favourite dishes more sustainable.

People Matter
The second exercise involved thinking about all the people who would be involved in the production of their local meal taking into account every ingredient- including herbs, spices, and oils. This prompted a discussion on the hidden people involved in the growing, processing, distribution and retail of food, which is often invisible- both in terms of the conditions of the workers and within the price of the food. Even people who grew a lot of their own food recognised the human web which surrounds their diet. 

How can our food be so cheap, in relative terms, when so many people are involved in the food system which feeds us?

The Environment Matter
The third section of the discussion considered the energy involve in the production of our food and the impact on the environment. 

What are the energy inputs required to get our food to our tables?

Think about the need for oil at every stage of of the production of your meal.

The energy used to produce our food also has an impact on the communities which live by the production of that energy and the agrochemical products used in the global food system. Less than three miles from the workshop there is an oil refinery operated by Ineos and a gas plant operated by BP, with a pipeline direct to North Sea oil platforms.  Also in the town of Grangemouth there is a Syngenta factory, one of the biggest biotech corporations in the world, and Calachem who also produce agrochemicals. Friends of the Earth Falkirk have campaigned on the Environmental Justice issues associated with a community living on the fence line of so many polluting factories in one town. 

The exploitation of onshore oil and gas through Coal Bed Methane and Shale Gas through drilling and Fracking is the latest threat to the communities around Falkirk would be risk   of contaminate of our food system.

Food sovereignty

To finish the discussion Norman introduced the group to a new concept- Food sovereignty 
Norman showed a picture on Via Campesina he took on the streets of Paris during the UN Climate Change Talks.

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.

The Nyéléni forum collated a set of six 'Pillars of Food Sovereignty' which now form the accepted definition of Food Sovereignty:

1.    Focuses on food for people - values the right to sufficient, healthy, culturally appropriate food, rejecting the proposition that food is just another commodity.
2.    Values food providers - values and supports contributions from all food providers, and rejects policies, actions and programmes that undervalue them.
3.    Localises food systems - brings food providers and consumers closer together
4.    Puts control locally - places control over natural resources in the hands of local food providers and respects their rights
5.    Builds knowledge and skills - supports the passing of wisdom to future generations, rejecting technologies that undermine, threaten or contaminate this (e.g. genetic engineering)
6.    Works with nature - values the contributions of nature, and rejects methods that harm beneficial ecosystem functions, damage the environment & contribute to global warming  

Individual pledges and community action

The session ended with the reminder that even by preaching to the converted there is a hope that everyone who attended would take some personal action following the discussion and inputs. 

Individual Actions

Increase the amount of local food and eat and support Scottish growers more often

I have become too reliant on supermarkets again- commit to move back to alternatives 

Focus on packaging of food

By direct from local shops and local producers 

cook from scratch more

Find more locally sourced veg etc

I will buy grains elsewhere versus supermarkets

What should Friends of the Earth Falkirk Campaign on:        Campaigns Rooted in Falkirk 

I’d like to see a resource of where to buy local food and information on how to start gowing food myself. 

Engage with procurement in Falkirk Council for food to buy specific local organic foods
menu planning so overall budget may actually be reduced.

Community cooking and eating sessions

promote food for free  Rasps, Elders, Rosehips, Haws

More gardening\ food growing




A series of reports published by the Scottish Government today (Tuesday 8 November) contain damning evidence on the impacts of developing a shale gas fracking and coalbed methane industry in Scotland.

The reports say:

Climate Change Impacts: developing an unconventional gas industry will make it harder to meet our climate targets; left unregulated the emissions footprint due to methane leakage could be substantial

Health: there is sufficient evidence to determine that a number of air and water born environmental hazards would be likely to occur as a result of UOG operations; evidence that UOG workers health could be at risk from the use of silica in fracking operations; evidence of other UOG hazards that could pose a risk to the health of nearby residents

Economy: unclear if industry commercially viable; current low oil prices mean extremely challenging climate to develop UOG; central production scenario would only contribute on average 0.1% GDP, see a direct spend of £2.2bn in Scotland up to 2062, and only bring 1,400 direct and indirect jobs

Transport: increase in traffic from could result in more noise, emissions, road damage and accidents; local communities could experience increase in traffic numbers over many years

In his statement to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon Energy and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP emphasised the importance of remembering that shale gas and coalbed methane resources are located in the most densely populated part of country.

Friends of the Earth Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

"Fracking is bad for the climate, bad for public health and won't do much good for the economy. That's the damning verdict of the independent studies published by the Scottish Government today, echoing the concerns of communities across the country.

"The economic case for pursuing an unconventional gas industry in Scotland simply doesn't stand up, while the risks of doing so could be utterly devastating for communities and the environment. No state has had a moratorium on fracking, looked at the evidence and decided it’s a good idea.

"Support for fracking is at an all time low. People just don't want this dirty, dangerous industry. We are confident that when the Scottish people are given a chance to have their say in the forthcoming Government consultation, the answer will be a resounding 'no' to fracking."

Another meal is possible


How to let go of the world and love all the things climate can't change screenings

Josh Fox, the director of the award winning Gas Lands, brings his new film to Scotland at the end of his UK Tour. On Monday 17th October Josh will introduce his film at two Odeon screenings in Edinburgh - Wester Hailes @ 6 pm & Glasgow - Springfield Quay @ 8.30pm.

see the Trailer here


25 08 16 Soup and Stovies

Soup and Stovies 2016
A celebration of local food and community gardening. 

Bean Row Potato, Sweet Potato, Carrot. Bean Row Onion
Haggis Stovies
Bean Row Potato, Vegetarian Haggis, Turnip
Rhubarb Crumble 
Bean Row Rhubarb, Crumble, Soya Cream
     Fairtrade Tea and Coffee 

Before this years Soup and Stovies meal Friends of the Earth Falkirk had a stall on the High Street during the Falkirk Charities Day. The stall had fresh lavender from our Arnot Street Community Garden which we handed out to local residents. The stall promoted our community gardens, local food, bee friendly gardening and provided information on Unconventional Gas. Hopefully there will be a few new community gardens after the enthusiastic discussions we had on the high street. 

This years Soup and Stovies was our 5th community meal on our community Garden. Despite the rain a tasty three course meal was served up. Each course had at least one ingredient from our Bean Row Garden, just off Falkirk High Street, where the meal was served.

I provided the soup using potatoes and onions harvested the week before when he welcomed visitors to our community garden to take part in the harvest. Traditionally the soup has beans as a main ingredient but for some unknown reason our bean plants weren’t good this year. 

Jean provided the main course, and despite not been able to attend the event in person, she surpassed all expectations with, in my humble opinion, the best stovies ever. They were a Burn’s Supper of a stovies which were just perfect for a wet and windy evening. With the main ingredient of stovies being potatoes it is the perfect dish for the potatoes literally grown under the feet of the diners. 

The Bean Row rhubarb at the corner of the garden can sometimes be harvested be local interest before we can harvest it for ourself. Luckily this year we had a healthy harvest and Neil turned the fresh rhubarb into a very tasty rhubarb crumble. As the crumble was made to a vegan recipe the dish was served with a soya cream so that everyone at the meal was able to share all the dishes together. 

Norman Philip
Local Group Co-ordinator


Soup and Stovies Meal at our Bean Row Garden Saturday 20 August 4.30 to 6pm

The Friends of the Earth Falkirk Soup and Stovies Community Meal will be held at the later time of 4.30 to 6pm on Saturday 20 August, after the Charities Day on Falkirk High Street. Meet at our community garden on Bean Row for Soup and Stovies with produce from the Bean Row Garden itself.  Food will provided on a first come first served basis and Fairtrade Tea and Coffee will be available throughout.

Come celebrate our harvest!



Norman Philip and Tina Rothery outside the FoE Scotland AGM, Glasgow

 Message from Friends of The Earth Climate and Energy Campaigner
Dear Friends,
I’m writing to ask for messages of solidarity with Tina Rothery a UK fracking activist who is in court on Friday 24th June, facing a possible prison sentence.
What are we asking you to do?
We would like to get lots of messages of solidarity for Tina from anti-fracking groups around the world. What we’re asking you to do is very simple:
·         take a photo of you or your group holding a sign reading #IamTinaRothery and (if possible) your name and which country you’re from
·         next Thursday (June 23rd), get it out on social media – tweet it, post it on Facebook etc – with a message something like
In solidarity with UK #fracking activist @tinalouiseUK #IamTinaRothery
We support #fracking activist @tinalouiseUK against draconian lawsuit from @CuadrillaUK #IamTinaRothery
Who is Tina?
Tina Rothery is a grandmother, one of the Lancashire Nanas and a leading light in the UK anti-fracking movement. She is an inspirational speaker and a force of nature as a campaigner. Some of you might have met her at the Paris event in December. 
What is this about?
In summer 2014, Tina and other Nanas camped for 3 weeks in a field in Lancashire that Cuadrilla had earmarked for fracking. They left of their own accord, but Cuadrilla is still pursuing her for £55,342.37 in court costs for an eviction that didn’t actually happen. That’s about 70,000 euros, US $78,000, AUS $106,000.
Tina cannot pay this, but that’s not the point. She doesn’t want the costs to be paid by anyone else or crowd-funded. She has decided that she will not pay as that would set a precedent. She risks being held in contempt of court and sent to prison, but she’s ready for that. If you want to know more about why Tina is taking this stand, see her blog here.
Please spread this message far and wide and, if you have any questions, please get in touch.
Thanks in advance for any support you can provide.
Tony Bosworth
Tony Bosworth | Climate & Energy CampaignerFriends of the Earth t. 0113 389 9958 
m. 07941 176642

Arnot Street Update- Bee Friendly Garden

We still have our garden at Arnot Street. With the demolition of the Old Polish Club there is still a risk that the wall at our garden will be removed and our garden will be a new entry to the development site. With the mature plants, grass and clover taking over the site the aim will be to promote the garden as a bee friendly garden over the summer,


Big Dig 2016

Friends of the Earth Falkirk
The Big Dig
Saturday 2nd April 2016
We were blessed with the weather at our Bean Row urban vegetable plot, and also by having a good number of our gardening group present - namely Norman, Fiona, Jean, Simon and Sandra - for the Big Dig 2016.   
We cleared the plot of the remains of last year’s crops and removed several stray foxgloves from the garden. Jean informed us that foxgloves are poisonous and therefore have no place amongst our food crops. They were relocated to the flower border where they may help to control the rampant crocosmia …
Once the soil had been turned over we planted potatoes, red onions, garlic, and of course, our signature beans. These will all be used to produce food for our Soup and Stovies Day in August, so here’s hoping for agreeable growing conditions over the summer and helping hands to remove the weeds.
Many passers-by stopped to chat and offer gardening tips and, as ever, we enjoyed talking about our successful vegetable plot and our other Falkirk gardens at Arnot Street, Kings Court and outside Asda in Newmarket Street.
At lunchtime, refreshments were provided by Norman, including vegan oat biscuits, Fairtrade tea and coffee and his delicious homemade spicy sweet potato, carrot and potato soup.
During the morning Ellisa from the U’ve Pulled café across from the garden brought us much appreciated teas and coffees, and we were also supported by offers from Susan and Stuart from the Bean Row Pottery. We are delighted and proud to be part of the Bean Row community.


Big Dig- Bean Row Community Garden Saturday 2 April 11.30-1.30

Friends of the Earth Falkirk will be holding its annual Big Dig event at the Bean Row Community Garden on Saturday 2 April between 11.30am and 1.30pm. The group will be preparing the ground and planting vegetables just off the High Street and anyone interested can come at any time during the session and get digging or just find out more about the gardens. The group would also welcome any donations of herb or vegetable plants if you have any surplus. There will be Vegan/ Vegetarian soup and fairtrade tea and coffee on offer at 1pm on a first come first served basis. Friends of the Earth Falkirk tend 4 community gardens in central Falkirk and in 2015 achieved the Outstanding Award from The Royal Horticultural Society IT’S YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD for the third year in a row. The group would also be happy to discuss any of its environmental campaigns including promoting local food, less waste, air quality and unconventional gas.


Save Jim's Farm Save the Greenbelt

Friends of the Earth Midlothian had a stall at the Save Jim's Farm solidarity day at Damhead, just outside Edinburgh. The farm is under threat from planning developments which threaten the loss of agricultural land for and inappropriate development including housing, a film studio and a power station. We have so little agricultural land left we can't afford to loose any more. Especially near our capital city. Read more and sign the petition of support here

Julian Holbrook, Damhead and District Community Councillor called for action to maintain and encourage local and sustainable food systems that provide livelihoods and jobs linked to the land and community. “This is about land, food and people. What we need to see is a collective action to establish the Edinburgh Food Belt that links farmers, community, consumers and the food and drinks sector. However, it is essential to protect the foundation of existing good quality farmland and existing farmers to see this ambitious and exciting idea established.”

Groundswell Rising Film Screening in Falkirk

Falkirk Screeing Sunday 6 March at Trinity Church, central Falkirk, 6-9.30 see all the tour dates at www.groundswellscotland.com see details of the film and the trailer for the film here


Fossil Free Scotland Event

Creating a Fossil Free Scotland: Activist Gathering
10:00-18:00, Saturday 6 February
Methodist Church, Nicholson Square, Edinburgh

No Fracking Way Gathering Falkirk- Don't make the Kelpies cry

As part of national No Fracking Way events across the UK there was a gathering at Falkirk Steeple this Sunday, 31 January at 10am. Organised by Scotland Against Fracking from Falkirk.  Facebook page at: No Fracking Way Gathering Scotland Falkirk


New Year Garden Make Over

On the second weekend of the Year Fiona and Norman treated the Friends of the Earth Falkirk Bean Row Garden to a well needed tidy up. With last years crops harvested and most of the plants passed their best we composting the old greenery and weeded the veg plots. 

While tidying the beds we were surprised by how may potatoes were still in the ground after the Autumn harvest. Although a little misshapen they were still potatoes and we gleamed what was left. Fiona took the ones that looked like potatoes and Norman took the alien looking ones to make Random Tattie Soup. 

As usual while working in the garden we had some lovely conversations with people walking past the garden. One of the most rewarding aspects of community gardening is the community showing their appreciation for the work that we carry out. One of the conversations was with Susan, the owner of the newly opened Bean Row Pottery across from the garden. Susan offered us a cup of tea and explained her plans for a garden in the courtyard of her shop.
Now that the garden is looking presentable we will look at a more permanent way to try and stop the local dogs pooping in the garden. Despite the three dog waste posters on our fence we still have a poop problem. Perhaps the dogs can't read but we were hoping their owners might have taken more responsibility.
In Spring we will dig over the plot and plant the crops required for our annual Soup and Stovies Day in August. 

Friends of the Earth Falkirk - Rooted in Falkirk   


Video from the Streets of Paris

Friends of the Earth Falkirk was represented on the streets of Paris when Norman joined the FoE Scotland coach from Edinburgh to Paris to take part in events on the last weekend of the UN Climate Change Talks.
Take a look at a video from the streets of Paris  on YouTube: