Traveling slow

A traditional recipe, a vegetable, or a livestock breed may carry a long history, and behind this history there is always a community. In 2000, we established the Slow Food Presidia to safeguard and recover artisanal food products and traditions at risk of becoming extinct, based on the understanding that losing them would entail the loss of values and knowledge accumulated over generations. At the beginning, the Presidia project highlighted the need for us all to be vigilant in the face of market mechanisms that push standardized, energy-rich, low-quality foods. After almost 20 years we can say that, all around the world, the Presidia projects have helped create communities, not just of producers but also cooks who work with their products, experts and academics who

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Wendell Berry remembers the traditional farming communities of America

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In this interview for BBC Front Row, American writer and farmer Wendell Berry talks about a traditional rural way of life that has almost disappeared from the world. Remembering his childhood community as one which was ‘intact and complete’ and centred around traditional farming work done by hand, he says the industrialisation

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Reflect Rethink Reboot: The future of food

Our attitudes to food consumption and food production are at odds with the impact they’re having on the environment. How can we make sure that we’re able to feed an ever-growing population in a world with a changing climate, shifting seasons and huge inequality?

In this podcast, TEDxBristol take a look at the issues we face, both as a planet and as a society and meet the change-makers in our community of Bristol and South West UK, who are pushing the boundaries and helping to create a more positive future.

Environmental campaigner Natalie Fee interviews Patrick Holden, about the impact that farming practices are having on the planet.

Patrick says, “We are living beyond the capacity of the earth’s resources to sustain us.” But citizens have the power to

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An everyday tale of the rural economy

Although the modern rural economy comprises many parts, food and farming remains one of the most significant sectors, accounting for around a fifth of rural businesses. While parts of the sector are increasingly dominated by wider markets, including supermarket supply chains and global trade, there is still a local food system characterised by short supply chains, benefitting both local food producers and the communities they serve. It is estimated that every £1 spent on locally produced food is worth at least £2 to the local economy.

Around 70% of UK farmland is grassland only suitable for grazing by livestock, so pasture-fed beef and lamb is an essential part of our local food system. Much of the meat sold within local

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What county farms can do for us

County farms, once considered a prized asset for UK local councils, are in danger of becoming extinct. A recent report revealed that the number of county farms has shrunk by half in the last 40 years. According to the most recent Defra figures, between March 2017 and March 2018 alone, councils across England sold off 2773 hectares of farmland. The legacy of privatisation and austerity measures that have taken place since the 1980s has led to some councils to make the decision to sell off these family jewels in a bid to sustain themselves financially in the face of increasingly restricted funding. The number of small farms is dramatically declining. This includes county farms which are usually under 100 hectares in

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New Report on Climate Crisis Tells Us to Change Our Diet – Now!

A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published today stresses once again the serious climate impact caused by land management.

Data available since 1961 show that global population growth and changes in per capita consumption of food, feed, fibre, timber and energy have caused unprecedented rates of land and freshwater use, with agriculture currently accounting for ca. 70% of global fresh-water use. The report notes in particular, that vegetable oils and meat supplies has more than doubled and food calories per capita has increased by about one third. In this context, currently, 25-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted.

Soil erosion from agricultural fields is estimated to be currently 10 to 100 times higher than the soil formation

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Farming business case studies

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This session at our recent conference ‘Farming and Climate Change: Towards Net Zero Carbon Emissions‘, features a selection of farm business case studies which integrate emissions reduction with the production of high quality food and the maintenance of natural capital. Chaired by Susan Twining of the CLA, session speakers include Henry Edmunds of the Cholderton Estate; Rancher and author Nicolette Hahn Niman; Richard Williamson of Beeswax Dyson and Simon Fairlie, farmer and author.

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Making sustainable farming pay

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“How could a combination of policy change, financial investment and market mechanisms create the conditions for sustainable farming to become mainstream?” This was the question asked during our session on ‘Making sustainable farming pay’ at the recent Farming and Climate Change conference. Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper discussed how we refine and measure biodiversity and carbon. Robert Appleby of ADM Capital stressed the importance of profitability in sustainability, as well as the need to

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New report recognises positive role of livestock in climate change mitigation

The Sustainable Food Trust [1] welcomes a new report [2], released today by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which recognises the importance of diverse farming systems, including sustainably managed pasture and livestock, as a key means of mitigating climate change.

Contrary to some of today’s headlines that are calling for a shift to exclusively plant-based diets, the conclusions of the report actually find that balanced diets should include animal-sourced food produced in resilient, sustainable and low-greenhouse gas emission systems, and that these present major opportunities for climate adaptation and mitigation while generating significant co-benefits in terms of human health.

While agriculture is one of the greatest contributors to climate change, this also means it has the greatest

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Living seed bank: One man’s dream, and a means to safeguard Nepal’s food future

‘If you have a seed, but you don’t know how to grow it, what’s the point?’. It’s a fair question. And it’s one that Yam Malla is determined to answer.

‘We have everything here,’ he says, bending down in his garden to show me the bud of a black sesame plant. ‘We just need to protect it.’

Yam is a renowned permaculture, agroforestry, biodynamic, and biointensive farming expert from Nepal. He is also a man with a plan. A plan for how to safeguard Nepal’s food future: by establishing a seed bank to preserve the incredible diversity of the country’s culinary heritage. 

But it won’t be a cold-store seed vault, to be opened only on a rainy, apocalyptic day. Instead, Yam believes that we

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We can still help save our BC fishing communities!

“West Coast fisheries licensing policies are failing local fish harvesters, First Nations, coastal fishing communities, and Canadians. This is a fundamentally broken system and it must be fixed.”

The sea is an open space that, beyond coastal waters, does not belong to any particular nation or group. People have been harvesting food directly from the sea since time immemorial and the oceans are a resource that belongs to all humanity. Unfortunately, in the age of globalization, the management of this shared heritage of limited resources is based on legal frameworks that undermine small-scale fishers and community management systems while reinforcing the disproportionate power of corporations and other private actors. One of these “legal” mechanisms involves reallocating access to fishing rights and quotas to increase economic

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The Dark Side of Your Avocado Toast

As we want to discourage the provoking over-consumption of avocado in these days of distorted media output, we thought it opportune to share and hear the stories that are still possible to tell. Why more stories? Because one thing has always remained clear to us: our choices make a difference and a small sacrifice from a multitude of people can turn into a real solution for individuals facing dangerously difficult situations.

More than once we have heard about infamous supply chain of the avocados, and more than once we have used it to underline the problems that obsessive, careless behaviors are causing to the world. For years, in the province of Petorca in Chile, the human right to water has been compromised to favor high-yielding

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Slow Food Netherlands launches a Calendarium Culinarium to support the consumption of local & seasonal produce

Inspired by the successful project of Slow Food Switzerland and Slow Food Youth Network Switzerland, Slow Food Netherlands developed a calendarium culinarium (culinairy calendar), to support consumers to buy, cook and eat locally sourced and in-season fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy.

The calendar showcases over forty detailed and hand drawn illustrations, and contains a dozen of tasty cooking tips for both chefs as well as for home cooks.

Promoting the richness of Dutch produce
The unique calendar supports consumers to discover the richness of Dutch produce. It shows produce of the Ark of Taste, such as, among others, the ‘Brabant Bellefleur’ (apple), the ‘Stellendamse garnaal’ (shrimp), the ‘Rhubarb Red Champagne’ (rhurarb), and ‘Boeren Leiden Traditioneel’ (raw milk cheese). Besides, detailed

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Why Isn’t Earth Overshoot Day Bigger News?

Earth Overshoot Day has come early this year, and just to make things worse it’s a Monday.

We are officially living off of a planet that does not exist. As of today, Monday July 29, we have already consumed all of the renewable resources that could have been regenerated in 2019. We are exploiting nature at a rate that is 1.7 times faster than the capacity of ecosystems to recover, and this doesn’t even take into account that we are not the planet’s only inhabitants.

The announcement comes from the Global Footprint Network, an organization that wants us to think about the unscrupulous way we are exploiting the Earth. Active since 2003, it has calculated humanity’s footprint since 1961 and has discovered that we

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African Swine Flu: A crisis or an opportunity?

One morning a farmer might notice that one of his animals isn’t acting quite the same as the day before. The next day, it’s a few more animals. A week later, the whole herd has gone down with a disease that appeared out of nowhere. Farmers who have lived through BSE or foot-and-mouth understand the devastating and sudden impact that a disease outbreak can have.

African Swine Flu (ASF) is the next big threat. ASF (named after its discovery in Kenya, a century ago) is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads quickly through pigs and hogs. The virus causes high fever, lameness, vomiting and internal bleeding, resulting in death within ten days. It is spread when a pig is

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Agricultural emissions and climate change: The science

Agricultural emissions and climate change: The science – Sustainable Food Trust – Sustainable Food TrustVector Smart ObjectmenuVector Smart ObjectSustainable Food Trust Logo

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One of the sessions at the Farming and Climate Change conference looked closely at the science of agricultural emissions and their impact on climate change. The panel exploring this, with Professor’s Michael Lee, Myles Allen and Dieter Helm, takes apart the figures and looks at them in radically new ways, ultimately making a solid case for

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Regenerative farming in Australia with Charles Massy

At our recent conference, Farming and Climate Change: Towards Net Zero Carbon Emissions, regenerative farmer and author of the book ‘Call of the Reed Warbler’ (2017), Charles Massy provided an eve of conference address, looking at, amongst other things, the critical role that ruminants play in landscape preservation and restoration.

Charles Massy is a seminal voice in regenerative agriculture, which foregrounds ‘ecological literacy’ as a key tool. It looks to nature as a guide, seeking always to support and regenerate ecosystems. Massy is uncompromising in his conviction that healthy food comes from healthy landscapes and that modern industrial agriculture has damaged this. Instead, he sees regenerative practices as the way forward.

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Photographs: Chloe Edwards Photography

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‘Any Questions’ panel with Jonathan Dimbleby

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At our recent conference, Farming and Climate Change: Towards Net Zero Emissions, a lively session of ‘Any Questions’, with a farming slant, was led by Jonathan Dimbleby, addressing an array of queries put to a panel with Minette Batters, Richard Benyon MP, Professor Michael Lee, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson and Patrick Holden.

Audience questions

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Net zero carbon: How to make sustainable farming pay

“Money drives change…you can’t be in the red if you want to be green.” This was the short and simple message of investor and philanthropist Robert Appleby from ADM Capital, delivered in the closing session of the Sustainable Food Trust’s conference Farming and Climate Change: Towards Net Zero Emissions. The need for change in agriculture is obvious: the carbon footprint of industrial agriculture is huge because it is dependent on fossil fuels – from fertiliser production to running big machinery. Because the UK government has set a legally binding target of net zero carbon by 2050 a lot of changes will have to be implemented. Climate-adapted farming and agroecological agriculture are definitely part of the solution – the question is:

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First “Zero Food Miles” School Canteen in Galicia

On July 4, we welcomed Galicia’s first school canteen designated as “Km 0,” or zero food miles, to the Slow Food community. Of all the restaurant projects we work with, this has been one of the most exciting. It is located in a small school, Xacinto Amigo Lera, in the parish of Portomouro, Val do Dubra, a rural municipality with a population of just 5,000.

The school administration sees this rural setting as an advantage for the children’s development and strives to integrate the surrounding environment into their education. This is rare: Often the management of school canteens is outsourced to catering services, with food travelling hundreds of miles before being prepared for consumption. With the best will in the world, this still usually leads

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