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

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

Grâce à l’entraide, les entreprises peuvent franchir les frontières

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L’union fait la force. En temps de crise, l’expression prend toute sa dimension, notamment, pour les entreprises. Mari Jose Aranguren, professeur à l’université de Deusto et directrice de recherche à l’institut Orkestra, défend ce mode d’organisation des secteurs économiques pour son efficacité dans la création de richesse et de travail.

Créé en 2006, l’institut basque de compétitivité Orkestra a pour objectif de mettre la recherche au service des besoins de la société. Les clusters constituent un champ de recherche parmi d’autres.

Les clusters sont apparus au début des années 1990 au Pays Basque. Quelle est leur origine ?

À cette époque nous vivions une grosse crise économique. La demande avait fortement chuté et le taux de chômage était élevé. Nous essayions de rivaliser sur d’autres marchés en vendant nos produits moins cher. Mais nous voyions que si nous voulions maintenir notre niveau de vie sur le long terme, nous devions mener une réflexion sérieuse pour devenir compétitifs.

Ainsi, tous les secteurs avaient participé à cette analyse pour définir la direction que devait prendre notre économie. Une des conclusions avait été la nécessité du travail en commun. La coopération est la base même des clusters. On avait alors importé le concept de Michael Porter, professeur à la Harvard Business School.

Le concept de cluster vient donc des États-Unis d’Amérique ?

Pas vraiment, les Britanniques avaient créé des “districts industriels” auparavant. En Italie aussi. Mais M. Porter avait simplifié tout cela en employant le concept de “cluster”.

Source: lejpb.com

Forth Valley Food Links

English: Fish frying at a local food joint.

English: Fish frying at a local food joint. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forth Valley Food Links came into being in June 2002 with its mission to help develop the local food sector in Forth Valley and realise the concept of local food for local people.
Of particular concern is increasing the availability of locally grown produce, but until the longer-term (but on-going) efforts to encourage more local growing and supply ‘bear fruit’, the project must supplement the currently limited local production with produce from farm shops and wholesalers in the area. However the project continues to encourage farmers to look at ways of supplying more of their existing meat, fish, eggs, dairy and processed farm products to markets and outlets within Forth Valley rather than further afield.
In partnership with a variety of local food producers, suppliers, retailers, community groups, agencies and other organisations throughout Forth Valley the project aims to develop sustainable, community-oriented food growing, distribution and consumption.
The emphasis is on increasing the availability of locally-grown fruit, vegetables, meats and other fresh produce, by encouraging greater diversity of production and seeking ways of channelling more of it directly to local markets and outlets.
A Key part of Forth Valley Food Links work concerns the concept of sustainable food production, distribution and consumption. The remit includes a commitment to try to reduce ‘food miles’ through the projects’ activities.

For more information, please visit FOOD VISION

What is food mapping?

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...

Food for Life distributes food on an international basis produced solely from vegan and lacto-vegetarian ingredients. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food mapping is an opportunity for policy makers at local and national levels to work with others to develop an evidence base for assessing need, developing action plans and monitoring progress. In doing so, food mapping could help bring about positive change and effectively tackle the interlinking barriers to healthy food access. Food mapping can help inform an appropriate, joined-up and supportive policy framework for improving food access over time” Community Food and Health (Scotland).
Food mapping has been defined as the process of finding out where people can buy and eat food, and what the food needs of local people are. It is a type of needs assessment that aims to identify the geographical areas or communities that have the greatest needs in terms of access to food. This generally relates to access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods, however, food mapping may also be used to identify the availability of other specific types of food e.g. local produce or ethnic foods. The area covered by a food mapping exercise could range from a small village or urban estate, to large city or a whole county. Food mapping is one of the first activities that should take place when you are thinking about setting up a food project, and even more so when planning to deliver a programme of different activities to increase access to healthy foods. This is so that you can identify what problems there are with accessing food in an area and then plan initiatives that aim to deal with these problems.

For more information and a toolkit, please visit FOOD VISION

Manchester Food Futures

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in products such as soy milk and low-fat yogurt, has been shown to reduce breast cancer incidence in rats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Manchester Food Futures is a partnership that embraces a wide range of individuals and organisations with an interest in improving food in the city.
Its ambitious goal is to create a culture of good food in the city, based on the belief that good food is enjoyable, safe, nutritious, environmentally sustainable, and produced ethically and fairly; and that everyone in Manchester has a right to good food – no-one should have this right denied because of where they live, their income or their background.
The link between diet and health is undisputed. It has been estimated that dietary factors account for up to a third of deaths from coronary heart disease and a quarter of cancer deaths. This equates to approximately 900 deaths in Manchester every year that could be attributable to diet related cancer and coronary heart disease. Dietary changes could prevent up to a third of all cancers from occurring in the first place. Within the city, only 23% of adults are eating the recommended minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Obesity is an increasing problem and recent statistics show approximately 15% of school children in Manchester are obese.
The Food Futures strategy embraces the whole food agenda for the city – from improving health, tackling health inequalities and reducing the environmental impact of food, to building sustainable communities and strengthening the local economy.

To know more, please visit FOOD VISION

Do Mobile Food Markets Increase Urban Food Access?

English: A montage of Kansas City

English: A montage of Kansas City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can expanding the value of SNAP assistance and implementing a mobile farmers market have an appreciable effect on urban inner city communities? Two metro areas are trying to find out. Camden, NJ and Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri have implemented programs to match the value of SNAP assistance as well as using mobile fresh food markets to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to inner city neighborhoods that otherwise are isolated in food deserts. Both locations have teamed up with foundations, nonprofits, and government agencies as well as a solid Food Access organization to create this opportunity. Is this a sustainabile model? Both cities depend on philanthropy and/or government funds for these pilot programs. A sustainable business model for community development may need to enter the equation to keep these programs going.

Camden, NJ
Camden is a highly impoverished and crime-ridden city located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, PA. Camden is a tough city, though it is filled with resilient people and a fast-changing demographic that is seeing neighborhoods shift from African-American to Hispanic. There is only one chain retail grocery store in Camden, located on the outer southern edge of the city. Inside the city there are corner stores, convenience marts, dollar stores, and CVS that provide food to the 75,000 people in the city, many of whom rely on public transit to get around. Across the river (5 minutes by subway) is downtown Philadelphia, home to the Reading Marketplace (a 7 day a week indoor vendor market with fresh foods), Whole Foods Store on South Street (a community partnership store), and the Italian Marketplace – with a 100+ years of fresh produce sales to the trade and to the public. Yet, Philadelphia may as well be on the moon as Camden residents do not travel there for food.
The latest response to bring fresh food to Camden is a mobile farmer market via the Greensgrow Farms. Greensgrow is a very successful social enterprise that has a nonprofit Philadelphia Project and a for-profit nursery and farm. Greensgrow serves the urban neighborhoods of Philadelphia with fresh food, SNAP benefits (matching funds to make food stamp dollars go farther), and sustainable growing practices for food and ornamentals that produce jobs. The Greensgrow Mobile Market started in summer 2011 with 4 stops in Camden, including the Rutgers University campus which sits in the center of Camden’s downtown waterfront neighborhood. Greensgrow is offering up a selection of traditional summer fruits and vegetables as well as produce familiar to Hispanic families such as Jicama and peppers.
The Greensgrow effort complements the existing summer farmer market program that has 3 locations in Camden, each open one day a week that have been supported by a Greensgrow partner – AHEC The Area Health Education Center. The state of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs provided a $100,000 grant to get the mobile market going.
Greensgrow is using this summer program as a pilot to determine if their brand of farming, growing, and business would be a good fit for Camden. Their farming strategy includes raised beds (perfect for the brownfield vacant lots in Camden) and encouraging local residents to embrace the farmed land and gardens as part of the community. Camden already has a wealth of experience with small neighborhood gardens and backyard gardens with hundreds created over the years thanks to a cultivation program organized by The Children’s Garden. The Greensgrow approach to urban farming may well be a good fit for Camden.
Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri
There are two places named Kansas City – one in Kansas is the smaller city, and the other in Missouri is the larger metro anchor. Each has its share of poverty and low income people in their inner-city neighborhoods. Cultivate KC – a strong, nonprofit, food access organization has teamed up with the Menorah Foundation and other philanthropic partners to create a SNAP benefit program for farmers markets as well as a mobile program to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to these neighborhoods. Beans & Greens is a pilot program that provides a 2:1 match for SNAP funds spent at one of their 6 participating partner farmer markets or in the 3 neighborhoods served by the mobile market. The mobile program gets to each neighborhood once per week. It includes fruits and vegetables that are of particular interest to Hispanic families. Upwards of 15-20% of the population in the main urban counties in the Kansas City metro on both sides of the state line is receiving SNAP assistance from the Federal government.
Beans & Greens also seeks to expand its impact by supporting community gardens in more urban neighborhoods and assist those neighborhoods in growing their way to fresh food access. The urban neighborhoods in Kansas City are considered urban food deserts. While there are supermarkets and chain grocery stores available in the urban core, they are often clustered at the edges of the core and few if any are found in the center which would be more accessible to residents, especially those dependent on public transit. Corner stores, convenience marts, CVS and Walgreens, and ethnic markets are available, but often have limited selection (if any) of fresh produce and costs are sometimes high.
The Beans & Greens SNAP match is an innovative way of creating a financial incentive for families to eat healthy foods.

Source: Sustainable Cities Collective

Developing Sustainable Food Chains Project

P Food

P Food (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around 1,000 food and drink supply chain businesses are getting involved with SWFD to make local produce more available in South West England’s major towns and cities.
The Project will create 20 new supply chains and develop seven toolkits to support future activity by SMEs by providing learning and information for local sustainable food and drink projects.
The Project is run for SW RDA, which is investing a total of £695,000 (£400,000 directly on delivery work and £295,000 on strategic added value, monitoring, evaluation & management and developing associated case studies, toolkits and replicable business models). The individual projects will collectively generate a further £1.7 million in direct, match and aligned funding.
The Project runs from August 2010 to December 2011 and is the culmination of the SW RDA’s framework programme of targeted intervention for the food and drink sector in South West England. Since 2008 the SW RDA has invested approximately £1.7 million in the food and drink sector.
To find out more and to get involved, click here

South West Food & Drink (SWFD)

An overcast day in Plymouth, south-west England

An overcast day in Plymouth, south-west England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The South West of England is at the forefront of the UK’s food and drink industry. Rooted in a rich and varied landscape, and drawing on its tradition and heritage, the sector is now one of the most advanced in the country, if not Europe.
South West Food & Drink (SWFD) works with the sector to help it do better business and in turn generate more jobs and build a stronger local economy.
We do this through:
•…developing new approaches to solving supply chain issues;
•…improving workforce skills, from leadership and management to the shop and factory floor; and
•…through helping businesses to promote their products to new markets.
We are here to add value to the sector, foster innovation and investment, help to create new jobs (and safeguard existing jobs), and help the sector achieve sustainability – all key policy threads of the coalition Government.
We are ideally placed to work with Local Enterprise Partnerships and provide specialist expertise to the food and drink sector; together we can support local economic development, generate new investment and improve employment.
As a direct result an extra 750 jobs have been created; and that figure could be as high as 1,900, according to research and evaluation undertaken by Ecotec.