Green energy project could bring 10 jobs

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Up to ten jobs could be created through a project which aims to use green energy to set up a supply chain to establish an energy hub.

Coleraine Borough Council has been awarded over £70,000 from the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for the project called ‘Smart Grid’.

An additional £24,000 will be funded by Council.

The project will recruit around 40 local businesses to provide green energy that could be become part of a supply chain for a localised power grid.

Explaining more about the project, Maura Mann, Head of Development Services told last Tuesday night’s council meeting that the project was part of a ‘scoping exercise’ which would look at all types of renewable energy.

More information: colerainetimes.co.uk

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Pierre Rabhi : “L’écologie d’en bas prend déjà le relais”

France Silver metals on quality and food safety

Pionnier de l’agroécologie, Pierre Rabhi en est devenu, au fil du temps, le porte-voix. Il a accepté de commenter notre palmarès de l’écologie 2013, publié le 14 novembre dernier.

Que vous inspire notre 7e palmarès de la volonté écologique ? Notamment la première place de la Haute-Garonne, département où l’agriculture bio est devenue une véritable force grâce au puissant réseau des Amap.

Déjà, je voudrais saluer votre initiative. Établir chaque année ce classement en croisant les critères, c’est, je n’en doute pas, un gros travail. Mais un travail salutaire, propre à stimuler les énergies citoyennes positives. De celles qui aboutissent à la création « d’oasis en tous lieux ». J’ai créé ce concept en 1995 afin de mettre en route des expériences de nature à anticiper ce qu’il faut développer à grande échelle pour que nous continuions à vivre sur cette planète. Les Amap font, bien sûr, partie de ces réponses concrètes à la désertification sociale, économique et humaine. Je me réjouis donc que votre palmarès honore, d’une certaine manière, cette écologie « d’en bas », citoyenne, que je n’ai de cesse de promouvoir. Elle prend le relais d’une écologie « d’en haut » inopérante. Celle d’hommes politiques qui n’ont toujours pas pris la mesure de l’impasse dans laquelle nous sommes et qui s’obstinent à porter à bout de bras un système moribond, fondé sur la croissance.

Plus d’information: lavie.fr

Project: Connect Farmers’ Markets along the Border

local food madness

local food madness (Photo credit: Mike Gogulski)

The project aimed to re-activate cross-border trade of local agricultural products through joint marketing and the integration of traditional marketplaces on which local farmers from the border area in past times sold their own agricultural products.
The project was a great boost for local products in the the area. According to the lead LAG, the sound analysis of marketing possibilities and of the areas’ local characteristics contributed to the development of a common geographical name (Zelen Kras) and the sound planning of project activities. Promotional events and media coverage increased the recognition of the project, of the new regional brand and of the individual local food products

More info on the Project

Circuits #courts : une charte régionale en Pays de la Loire

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Le Conseil régional des Pays de la Loire vient de formaliser à travers une charte régionale la notion de « circuits alimentaires de proximité ». « Je souhaite que ce document de référence, fruit de la concertation entre la Région et les acteurs concernés, ouvre la voie à une dynamique nouvelle », a commenté Jacques Auxiette, président du Conseil régional des Pays de la Loire. Un référentiel régional a ainsi été élaboré pour que les produits alimentaires qualifiés de « proximité » dans cette région puissent le respecter. Les producteurs qui souhaitent mieux formaliser la notion de circuit courts de leurs produits en Pays de la Loire peuvent alors signer cette charte.

Source et plus d’informations: Campagnes et environnement

#LocalFood systems in Europe – Case studies from five countries and what they imply for policy and practice

This report summarises the main findings, which are based on qualitative empirical research of 10 case studies, two in each of the countries, and it includes recommendations about policy changes that would be necessary to strengthen Local Food Systems in future. These changes include: support for setting up cooperative networks and infrastructure; greater knowledge exchange; more local sourcing in public procurement; more appropriate funding; and the more flexible adaptation of over-burdensome legal regulations (e.g. distinguishing rules for products for different markets); and ensuring that the Leader programme maintains its bottom-up character, along with a territorial approach linking urban consumers with rural producers. By recognising and valuing LFS and for their societal opportunities and benefits, authorities could take responsibility for improving and linking relevant policies.

source : FAAN

Bretagne. Les filières alimentaires de #proximité se développent

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Le conseil régional de Bretagne a lancé en décembre dernier un appel à projet à destination des 21 pays bretons, dans le cadre de « La nouvelle alliance agricole ».
Une initiative du Pays Centre Ouest Bretagne
Le Pays COB qui est le plus grand des 21 Pays bretons, à cheval sur trois départements, sera accompagné dans son projet durant trois années.

Structurer les filières et faire naître des complémentarités
Le Pays COB est un territoire rural où l’agriculture est particulièrement importante pour l’économie, avec de plus en plus de producteurs qui se lancent dans la vente de proximité. Parallèlement, un certain nombre d’artisans alimentaires, de commerçants et de restaurateurs ont des difficultés à maintenir leurs activités. Le projet est un premier pas pour structurer les filières et ainsi faire naître des complémentarités entre les différents acteurs du territoire. Pour cela, il faut mettre en place de nouveaux débouchés agricoles et soutenir les commerces de proximité.

Trois grandes actions
La première concerne l’approvisionnement en produits locaux des restaurants collectifs du territoire avec la mise en place d’un territoire pilote qui permettra de servir d’exemple pour l’ensemble du Pays. La deuxième vise la vente de produits locaux dans les commerces de proximité, ainsi qu’une meilleure communication auprès du grand public. La troisième action consistera à aider et appuyer la structuration des producteurs par mutualisation ou encore regroupement afin qu’ils puissent s’organiser pour bénéficier de ces « nouveaux débouchés » qui nécessitent une adaptation à leur travail.

Une chargée de mission
Pour mettre en oeuvre le projet, le Pays a recruté une nouvelle chargée de mission à l’agriculture et à l’environnement, Anne-Laure Andreu, qui aura en charge l’animation et la réalisation du projet. Par ailleurs, le Pays va bénéficier de différents partenaires stratégiques (chambres consulaires, associations agricoles…) pour la réalisation des actions qui devraient débuter en septembre prochain.
source : ouest-france

Démarche individuelle ou collective, quel(s) choix pour les #CircuitsCourts ?

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En Aquitaine, 10 000 exploitants agricoles ont fait le choix des circuits courts en 2010. Une orientation commerciale dont le recensement agricole démontre les nombreux effets positifs : valorisation de la production, maintien de l’emploi, et pérennisation de l’exploitation en lui assurant un revenu. Dans sa dernière publication «Agreste Aquitaine», la Direction régionale de l’Alimentation, de l’Agriculture et de la Forêt fait le point sur ce mode de consommation tout en soulignant, face à l’augmentation de la demande, l’enjeu d’une approche collective de la démarche et non plus seulement individuelle.
En Aquitaine près d’une exploitation sur quatre pratique les circuits courts, contre une sur cinq au niveau national, que ce soit par le biais de la vente directe ou par le biais d’un intermédiaire unique. Un résultat qui selon la publication de la Draaf, place donc l’Aquitaine dans le quinté de tête de ce type de commercialisation. Quant au classement interne, c’est la Gironde, qui se place facilement au premier rang grâce au poids de la viticulture, particulièrement engagée dans les circuits courts (1 viticulteurs sur 2). Viennent derrière la Dordogne, les Pyrénées-Atlantiques, le Lot-et-Garonne et enfin les Landes.
Cela dit, au regard de la variété des productions aquitaines doublées, pour beaucoup d’entre elles, d’une valorisation sous signe de qualité et d’origine, l’Aquitaine a une véritable vocation à suivre la voie des circuits courts. Une commercialisation dans laquelle les producteurs privilégient la rencontre avec le consommateur, à travers la vente à la ferme, les marchés et enfin le commerce de détails. Avec un producteur sur deux engagés sur les circuits courts qui la pratique, la vente à la ferme arrive largement en tête. Un engouement qui s’explique d’une part par la facilité de la démarche (absence de transport notamment) mais aussi par le couplage de la vente des produits et la diversification des activités des exploitations à travers l’hébergement et la restauration. En bref, les producteurs s’engagent massivement dans des démarches individuelles particulièrement en phase avec les attentes sociétales et notamment ici la traçabilité. Pour autant, face à une demande qui s’accroit ces seules démarches individuelles ne pourront suffire longtemps…

source : aqui.fr

How to turn social and environmental #supply #chain risk into opportunity

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How leading companies manage sourcing risk and improve supplier resilience
Now in our 7th year, the Sustainable Supply Chain Summit brings together 200+ senior sustainability and procurement executives from large European brands to discuss proven best practice and innovative solutions.

This is the most well-respected and dynamic industry conference on such a critical area, and by attending, you’re guaranteed to get:

Proven techniques to minimise non-compliance and save money through effective collaboration with your suppliers
Best practice to integrate sustainable sourcing into procurement decisions for effective risk mitigation and better sustainability performance
Key steps to develop effective B2B and multi-stakeholder collaboration to streamline standards for suppliers and tackle the challenges you can’t overcome alone

France Silver metals on quality and food safety


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Safety is almost an asterisk in the Global Food Security Index, recently released by DuPont and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
In an overall assessment of the affordability, availability and quality of food, the United States emerges as No. 1 overall, but America was bested by Israel and France in the “quality” category, where food safety was part of the score.
No surprises that the U.S., with the largest economy and most productive agricultural sector, is the most food secure country on the planet. Losing the Gold and Silver metals on quality and food safety to Israel and France is a little harder to explain.
In the data set for food safety, the U.S. got 99.3 percent while Israel and France both earned a 100 percent score. The composite is supposed to measure “the enabling environment for food safety.”
The food safety composite was one of about 16 data sets used to create the Global Food Security Index, which covers 105 countries. The U.S., Denmark and Norway topped the overall rankings, in that order.

Commissioned by DuPont, a developer of genetically modified crops, and produced by the data-crunchers at the Economist Intelligence Unit, the new food security index offers a way to compare countries around the globe.

We’ve always known that what get measured, gets done,” said Ellen Kullman, DuPont’s chairman and chief executive officer.  

As we talked to governments, NGOs, and farmer organizations around the world, we’ve come to realize that while we share a common goal of food security, we do not share a common language,” she said.  “To truly address the root cause of hunger, we must have a common path forward to tackle such pressing issues as food affordability, availability, quality and safety“.

Literally billions are being invested to address food security, but until today, we had no comprehensive, global way to measure food security and the impact of investments and collaborations at the local level.

In less developed countries, people are falling short by about 100 calories a day of the recommended level of 2,300 calories a day, while in developed countries like the U.S. people are not getting enough micronutrients. France is the only exception.
National food supplies in developed counties, including the U.S., have “limited availability of vegetal iron,” according to the report.
One other area where the U.S, got marked down was for the “volatility” of its agricultural production.
France, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Finland and Germany round out the overall top ten countries.
African counties plus Cambodia and Haiti make up the bottom 25 on the list, including such fast-growing countries as Mozambique, Ethiopia and Rwanda.  
By some estimates, food prices in the past decade have run at about double the overall inflation date, pushing millions into poverty.
source : Food Safety

Slow food for fast kids

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by : Kristy Komadina

The other day my son said to me, “Mum, how come there are no peaches in the supermarket right now? I wish I could have a peach, but all there seems to be are apples and pears!”

I began to explain about seasonal foods. The questions kept flying and ten minutes into the conversation I realised firstly that I was really surprised at how interested my six-year-old son was about seasonal foods and secondly that perhaps I’d always just assumed that my children understood that not all food was available all the time.
A love of food and cooking fostered from a very young age sets children up with the skills and passion for good eating. Seasonal eating is the practice of using only the foods that are abundant and currently in crop, the benefits of which range from maximum nutritional value, to the best tasting food possible and of course the best value. The idea of seasonal eating is nothing new, in fact it’s an extremely traditional practice that existed before the times of cold storage and food imports. If a product wasn’t in season, it just wasn’t available.
The slow food movement really gets to the core of seasonal eating. Founded in 1986 by an Italian journalist Carlo Petrini, it was a direct reaction to the opening of Italy’s first McDondald’s restaurant in Rome. Petrini believed in using the senses to fully experience seasonal food. He was fighting a war against the homogenisation and globalisation of food by encouraging people to shop locally and cook seasonally.

It’s not really about slow cooking. ‘Slow food’ can be prepared quickly. In essence it’s about using principles that are the opposite of ‘fast food’.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel as though my kids are living in such a fast world where information is at their fingertips and gratification is often instantaneous. Anecdotally I feel as though their attention spans are shortening and children are losing the art of patience and perseverance. In some respects, talking to children about where food comes from and involving them from a grass roots level in food preparation is an attainable starting point for slowing down in other aspects of life too.

So where do you begin? How can you as a parent get your children involved in slow food?

Take them shopping.  

There is so much to see and learn at a fresh food market. Aim to shop locally only and point out the origins of food. Explain that some foods that are not in season in Australia are imported from countries far away and discuss the implications of food miles and ethical farming practices. It’s also a good time to explain that food that is in season generally costs less.

Try growing your own. 

Even if it’s just a couple of planter boxes filled with herbs, getting the children to grow some of the food they eat is possibly the best way for them to begin to understand that food takes time and effort. Lettuces, cucumbers and tomatoes are extremely easy to grow and you do not need a lot of space to grow a decent crop.

Offer a slow food lunch box. 

The simplest way to fill their school lunch boxes with slow food is to pack them with fresh fruit and vegetables. In lieu of pre-packaged supermarket snacks, get baking and make your own lunch box treats.

Make more things from scratch. 

There are so many every day foods that can easily be made from scratch and best still, the kids will love to get involved. In our household we have been baking bread and making yoghurt but there are lots of easy ‘from scratch’ foods to try such as tomato pasta sauce, biscuits, peanut butter, muesli, dips, jams and preserves etc. My oldest son has been particularly amazed at how yoghurt is made and my daughter loves getting her hands sticky kneading dough for bread. It’s great that they can see that these products don’t just come ready made on a supermarket shelf.

Get them cooking with you. 

It’s pretty obvious, but if you involve children in the preparation of their food, they are more likely to eat it. A love of food and cooking fostered from a very young age sets children up with the skills and passion for good eating.

As you can see it’s easy to take on board the principles of slow food in your every day life. The most effective way you can instill these ideas in your children is to be a living example to them. Practice what you preach – eat well, shop locally and in season. Cook from scratch where possible and avoid pre-packaged and over processed foods.

Kristy is a mother of three who loves feeding her family wholesome, nutritious and above all delicious food. She has her own food blog called The Life She Made where she posts family style recipes and talks about life as a stay at home mother.

Source : essentialkids