HJ Fantaskis | 20.02.13
Last night hundreds of environment ministers, diplomats and UN delegates from around the world sat down to a five-course dinner prepared with fruit and vegetables rejected by UK and European supermarkets, that would have otherwise have been wasted, at a landmark meeting of the UN Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya.
Greenhouse provided PR support to Tristram Stuart, Food Waste Campaigner and Founder of Feeding the 5000, to help expose the scandal and bring world media attention to the need for global action against food waste.
The UN Environment Programme dinner in Nairobi, was designed to highlight the scandal of perfectly good food that is rejected by supermarkets because it is judged to be “misshapen” or because orders are changed at the last minute after the food is harvested.
Feeding the 5000, an influential campaign, sourced the food for the dinner, and Greenhouse PR helped it gain international attention for the event by embarking on an intensive media campaign to reach the world’s broadcast, print and online media. A BBC film crew covered the dinner, and interviewed Tristram Stuart. Reuters, Agence France Presse and the Press Association, also covered the story ensuring it made international headlines.
Feeding the 5000 sourced over a tonne of fruit and vegetables from Kenyan farms and packhouses destined for the UK and other export markets but rejected for being “misshapen”. Although some unwanted produce is sold locally or donated, the quantities are so large that local markets cannot handle the volume that so much of it is either left to rot or fed to livestock. The project exposed first hand the stories of local producers who are obliged to bear the costs of the rejected food.
“It’s a scandal that so much food is wasted in a country where millions of people go hungry. We found one grower supplying a UK supermarket who is forced to waste up to 40 tonnes of vegetables every week, which is 40 per cent of what he grows,” said Tristram Stuart. "The waste of perfectly edible ‘ugly’ vegetables is endemic in our food production systems and symbolises our negligence.”
“This shocking waste also presents us with a huge opportunity. By raising this as an issue with global Environment Ministers - by persuading supermarkets to change their standards, and by developing processing and other ways of marketing this produce - we can help to increase on-farm incomes and food availability where it is needed most.”
Chef Ray Cournede, from Nairobi’s prestigious Windsor Hotel, used the waste food to cook a five-course meal that included such delights as Grilled Sweet Corn Tamales, Yellow Lentil Dal with Tamarind and Mangomisu – Tiramisu with a tropical twist. Mr Cournede also prepared mango chutney and candied fruit peels, which show ways to preserve and use fruits when in season.
The dinner, which was took place during a landmark meeting of the first UNEP Governing Council under universal membership, was in support of the Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Footprint campaign, which aims to highlight actions food retailers and consumers can take to slash the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year. Feeding the 5000 is partnering with UNEP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation on the campaign.
“This dinner, and the many Feeding the 5000 events we run, aimed to change attitudes, and highlight best practices, by showing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this food we so casually throw away," says Tristram Stuart.
Here are some of the media highlights:
BBC World Service – A banquet for diplomats and ministers, made of food waste
Reuters (UK) – UN offers banquet of blemished food to highlight waste
Press Association – Ministers to dine on ‘ugly’ produce
BusinessGreen – UN leaders chow down on ugly fruit in bid to banish food waste
“It was such a pleasure working with Anna and the team at Greenhouse PR for Feeding the 5000.
They were enthusiastic and imaginative and quickly grasped all the aspects of our campaign and worked tirelessly to secure amazing media coverage for the event. They’re brilliant!”
Tristram Stuart, Organiser of the Feeding the 5000 Event
Award-winning campaigner and author of Waste
More than a third of the world’s entire food production is currently wasted, contributing to rising food prices, resource over-use and global warming. Nearly one billion people in the world are hungry – these people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is currently wasted in homes, shops and restaurants in the US, UK and Europe.
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of unwanted food that could legally be fed to livestock are currently wasted. Diverting food that is unfit for human consumption and using it as livestock feed would reduce Europe’s dependence on the 40 million tonnes of soya imported each year from South America where its cultivation contributes to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Production of soya has doubled since 1990, with 80% of global soya production now being used to feed livestock.
Feeding the 5000 aims to promote actions by consumers and food retailers to dramatically cut the 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost or wasted each year – which aside from the cost implications and environmental impacts increases pressure on the already straining global food system – to help shape a sustainable future.
Tristram Stuart is the author of Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal and is campaigning won him the international environmental award The Sophie Prize in 2011. Feeding the 5000 is one of six finalists vying for Nesta’s £50,000 Waste Reduction Challenge Prize.
HJ Fantaskis | 17.12.12
Divine Chocolate's gift sets make the most delicious treats for your loved ones this Christmas.
The innovative farmer-owned business model of Divine Chocolate makes the company an industry pioneer. With an impressive list of environmental and social responsibility credentials it's the case study for excellent ethics - without compromising on the product. Let us be clear: they make the MOST delicious chocolate. In the Guyer household, the mint chocolate bar is a firm favourite (with both big and small people).
The Baking Collection comes with cocoa powder, 4 bars of chocolate and their fabulous Divine recipe book - and the perfect price at £30.50 (including delivery).
The Family Favourites is ideal for young families; plenty of milk and white chocolate for small people palettes! (And, ideal if you're stuck for an emergency gift…)
And, the Divine Christmas Essentials, plenty of treats for the children, but plenty for after bedtime, and you're finishing the bottle of red from dinner.
Which is your favourite? Let us know on Twitter!
HJ Fantaskis | 14.12.12
'Tis the season to be merry!
Taking that literally, here's our selection of the best from our favourite British wineries and vineyards, for your table this Christmas.
We spoke to our friend Elinor Zuke (journalist at The Grocer), who shared with us her preferred sparkly toast.
British winery Breaky Bottom lies in a fold in the South Downs; about 5 miles from Lewes in East Sussex.
If you enjoy a spot of grande dégustation de grande-Bretagne over the holidays, then English vineyard Nutbourne (over in West Sussex) who sell in bulk and online. Delicious.
For organic wines, the wonderful Vintage Roots is high on our list of recommended wineries. In particular, this gorgeous sparkling Prosecco Frizzante is on sale (and, ahem, even cheaper if you buy in bulk.)
HJ Fantaskis | 25.10.12
On Tuesday evening, our blogger headed to the Houses of Parliament for a discussion on Food Security, part of the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy's 2030 Series.
It was an interesting debate and, in this blogpost, we'll summarise the key points that came out in the panel members' discussion.
Food is at the very centre of cultural wellbeing. It directly connects us to the natural world and completely relies on eco-systems and -services.
The supermarkets have engineered a business structure around the availability of 'cheap' food. The current model, in which our food procurement and distribution is managed, is exceptionally vulnerable to price hikes and spikes. These increases in costs almost always immediately passed on to the customer.
We are not feeding the world sustainably. In Kenya, children in the larger, more urbanised cities are suffering from diabetes and obesity. This suggests we are spreading the calories around the world, but nutrition per capita is still largely uneven.
This broken and unsustainable system requires radical action from today's leaders. Steps need to be taken across the food supply chain, to reduce waste and increase 'eco-efficiency'. Women's empowerment and smallholder farms will be vital to feeding the world more sustainably.
Protecting biodiversity, and promoting various species of the plants we eat will help reduce vulnerability. For example, the banana is the most commonly eaten fruit around the world. However, because there is only one main variety of banana grown commercially, the global crop is exceptionally vulnerable to disease.
Business are very innovative, particularly when driven by direct consumer demand. Food businesses are realising (somewhat astonishingly) that their entire business depends on availability of food. They are being to understand that it is in their interests to protect and support biodiversity, local communities in which the food is grown, and reducing water waste, to create a more resilient food system.
Members of the panel included:
Laura Sandys MP, Vice Chair on the All Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development (APPG). (Laura has also been in headlines this week, after stepping down from the Commons Energy Committee, to be replaced by climate sceptic Peter Lilley.)
Mark Driscoll, Head of the One Planet Food Programme, WWF-UK
Dan Crossley, Lead on food systems at Forum for the Future
We spoke briefly to Dan Crossley from Forum to the Future after the event on the Western diet and consumption.
‘Our food system is broken, and diet is one of the areas that we need to rethink. We need to raise people’s awareness of how the food they eat is produced so they can make more sustainable choices. But it’s complex – a sustainable diet takes into consideration many issues from carbon, water, land use, animal welfare and biodiversity, for example. We need to find better ways of helping people make these active and informed choices – both in the West and in developing and emerging economies.’
Last Thursday, the Forum published an excellent article from Edward Hanrahan, founder and director of ClimateCare - Integrating climate and development goals makes business sense. We definitely recommend it, if you're interested in the issue of global food security.
HJ Fantaskis | 20.09.12
Joanna Blythman is an award-winning investigative journalist, the author of six landmark books on food issues, and one of the most authoritative, influential commentators on the British food chain.
In this guest post (republished from The Sustainable Food Trust), Joanna reveals ten key facts about genetically modified crops.
The biotech lobby makes swaggering claims, presenting genetic modification (GM) as a magic bullet that will feed the world, without any downside whatsoever. It assures us that GM is entirely safe, for both humans and animals. It promises that it will increase crop yields and reduce pesticide use. What’s not to like?
Fairy stories can be entrancing, but never confuse them with the truth. As an investigative food journalist and author, I have opposed the genetic modification of food for over 15 years. Why? GM is a relatively crude technique- think of cut and paste- that moves genetic material across species barriers. As such, it is unprecedented, capable of triggering unpredictable, and irreversible, changes in the DNA, proteins and biochemical composition of food.
It has long been clear that GM is substantively and radically different from traditional methods of improving plants and breeds. And the case against GM has only become more persuasive and authoritative since the 1990s when informed consumers first fought to keep food with GM ingredients off shelves in Europe. Mounting evidence shows that GM has not delivered on its bragging promises.
I remain implacably opposed to the genetic modification of our food, and here, in the simplest, briefest terms, is why.
1. GM doesn’t increase crop yields.
Instead, the pattern is initially good harvests that decline dramatically thereafter. Even the US department of Agriculture admits “GM crops do not increase yield potential”.
2. GM impoverishes farmers
In India, many states are cancelling licences for GM crops because they have proved a dismal failure, aggravating rural poverty and spurring suicides among farmers. Last month, Indian MPs visited so-called Monsanto model villages to meet the farmers’ widows and see for themselves the grim truth behind the big biotech companies’ marketing spin.
3. GM means more pesticide, not less
In the US, herbicide-tolerant GM cotton, soy and maize have encouraged growers to spray an estimated 174 million more kilos of herbicides. In 2007-08 alone, herbicide use on GM crops there rose by 31.4 per cent.
4. GM crops cause the emergence of devastating super-weeds
Over-use of glyphosate (Roundup), the herbicide used on GM crops, has caused the rapid spread of resistant weeds, such as pigweed, rye grass and mares tail. GM canola has been shown to pass on its herbicide tolerance genes to some wild plants, turning them into uncontrollable super-weeds.
5. GM crops kill off pollinating insects and encourage secondary pests
Swiss researchers have confirmed earlier findings that the Bt toxin used in GM maize increases mortality in ladybird larvae, a non-target species that was not supposed to be harmed by the GM maize.
In China, Bt toxin in GM cotton initially suppressed the target pest, boll weevil, but several secondary pests that are resistant to it soon took its place.
6. GM food has not been proven to be safe to eat
GM food has not been properly tested for safety because the big biotech companies lobbied regulators into accepting that it was “substantially equivalent’ to conventional food. But feeding studies on laboratory animals show that GM food can cause allergies and be toxic. For instance, rats fed GM tomatoes have developed stomach lesions. New research from New Zealand has just found that one GM wheat variety has the potential to cause liver disease.
7. Americans only eat GM foods because they are unlabelled
In Europe, we’re told that Americans have been eating GM foods with relish. In fact, they only do so because GM foods do not need to be labeled there, and so are indistinguishable from conventional food. Californian consumers are currently demanding labelling of GM food, and predictably, the GM companies are fighting this tooth and nail. Why? If foods were labelled GM, most people wouldn’t want to buy them.
8. GM won’t feed the world
The most comprehensive report to date looking at feeding the world, involving 400 international scientific experts (the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development) warned that continued reliance on simplistic technological fixes, such as GM, is an approach unlikely to address persistent hunger and poverty.
It said that there was little evidence to support the notion that GM is well suited to meeting the needs of small-scale and subsistence farmers.
9. We are improving crops without GM
Scientists are developing effective, cutting edge ways of improving crops, using marker assisted selection, gene mapping, and molecular markers, that don’t bring the same risks as GM.
In Wales, for instance, the Sarvari Trust has bred organic potato varieties, Sarpo Miro, with better blight resistance than any conventional potato. Using non-GM crop improvement methods, Italian scientists have bred a tomato with higher than usual levels of lycopene, a beneficial micronutrient.
10. GM crops contaminate conventional and organic crops
Experience shows, and scientific studies confirm, that GM crops inevitably cross-pollinate with non-GM crops, and contaminate them. In Canada, for example, contamination from GM oilseed rape has made it almost impossible for farmers to grow organic oilseed rape.
The bottom line is that GM increasingly looks like an old hat, bankrupt technology. The sooner we stop fixating on it, and start taking seriously alternative approaches that will actually take us forward, the better.
HJ Fantaskis | 19.09.12
The Sustainable Food Trust has released peer-reviewed research today that shows the results of the first animal feeding trial into the life-time exposure of Roundup tolerant GM corn and Roundup, the world’s best selling weed killer. The study, published online by the scientific journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, shows that levels currently considered safe could cause mammary tumours, kidney and liver damage.
The study was led by molecular biologist and endocrinologist, Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France and supported by the independent research organization, CRIIGEN. The researchers used 200 rats that were fed a diet containing the Roundup tolerant GM maize, NK603, or given water containing Roundup, at levels permitted in drinking water and GM crops in the US. It showed that these rats developed tumours faster and died earlier than rats fed on a standard diet.
For details of the full research findings please visit the microsite research.sustainablefoodtrust.com
The results are game-changing in the debate around genetically modified food as this is the first time any scientific research has shown a link between GM food crops and health. The research is also the first to show the impact of the weed killer, Roundup, over a two year period – the entire lifespan of a rat. All previous studies into GM and Roundup have stopped at 90 days whereas this research showed that the most serious health impacts only started to show at four months, with the majority of tumours developing from 18 months onwards.
In the UK and Europe, GM maize is not consumed directly by humans but it is widely included in animal feed. Hundreds of thousands of tons of GM corn is imported to the UK each year for use in the diets of chickens, pigs and dairy cows. Products from these animals are currently sold in British supermarkets without any requirement for GM labeling.
Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist and gene expert at Kings College, London and Scientific Advisor to the Sustainable Food Trust says, “This is the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats. It shows an extraordinary number of tumours developing earlier and more aggressively - particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.”
Patrick Holden, the CEO of the Sustainable Food Trust says, “Part of our core mission is to develop a body of informed public opinion about the links between farming practice and the impact on health. The SFT considers that research of this kind is fundamental to inform the dialogue around how we produce our food, and the SFT has a significant role to play in communicating such research in accessible, plain English, so that the general public feel able to engage with these issues.”
To help further communicate these results, the Sustainable Food Trust has commissioned a microsite: research.sustainablefoodtrust.com
The microsite breaks down all the research into key messages, videos and provides headlines that can be easily shared using social media.
The Sustainable Food Trust believes there is an urgent need for more research into both the wide spread use of pesticides and the consumption of GM food crops.
Patrick Holden says, “The research exposes a critical deficiency in the regulatory process which, due to the short-duration of the required feeding-trials, failed to identify the serious, long-term health consequences of consuming these crops."
Spread this vital research through your social media networks, visit: research.sustainablefoodtrust.com
Admin | 10.09.12
Greenhouse are excited about the momentum building around the launch of the Wonderwater Café in Shoreditch this Wednesday! On 2degrees, the 'How much water do you eat?' article is currently ranking as most read.
Hosted by Leila's Shop in Shoreditch (a local favourite), the café will explore issues surrounding the critical relationship between food and water, using delicious food and excellent design.
The Wonderwater café will be in London from 12th to 23rd September 2012 at Leila’s Shop, 17 Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch. Situated in the heart of the Shoreditch Design Triangle, the café's launch comes as London Design Festival 2012 begins, a festival bringing together the best and most innovative designers from around the world.
With creative, thought-provoking menus, designed especially for Wonderwater Café, guests will be offered another dimension to their meal decision: how much water do you eat? TreeHugger's How much water do you eat? The Wonderwater Café will tell you has been a very popular read.
Visitors to the Wonderwater Café at Leila’s Shop will be able to enjoy a mouth-watering selection of responsibly sourced food, while digesting information from the vibrant infographics, dynamic visual displays and raindrop-shaped blackboards, all of which convey mind-blowing facts and figures on the water footprint of its meals.
The displays will be integrated into the existing shop, with bespoke water footprint menus for the duration of the festival. Armed with this new information, consumers will leave the café more able to make informed and responsible choices in they way they buy and consume food.
If you're on Twitter, don't forget to follow us (@Greenhouse_Anna), to get the latest updates on the Wonderwater Café (and plenty of other green news!). If you pop along to the Café, join in the conversation by using the hashtags #wwcuk (Wonderwater Café) and #ldf12 (London Design Festival 12)!
Water facts you should know:
- Global fresh water availability is scarce at best - it represents a mere 3% of the Earth's water
- Food is one of the top contributors to UK consumers' daily water consumption (followed closely by paper and cotton clothing)
- More than 60% of the UK's water consumed through food is derived from outside the UK, according to the Water Footprint Network
- The average UK citizen consumes 4,645 litres per day, which has a significant impact on resourced in water-scare countries
Admin | 31.08.12
How much water do you eat?
Today is sees the end of this year's World Water Week (WWW) hosted in Stockholm.
One of the key issues that has come out of the panel sessions is the alarming quantity of water that is completely lost in food waste.
The figures are quite shocking. The UK alone wastes about 25% of all food produced (according to Feeding the 5000, featured in our blog earlier this week).
As the global population continues to grow, the demand for water increases. It puts unsustainable pressure on delicate eco systems.
We have compiled a list of the best of the WWW news coverage from the week at the bottom of this post.
Wonderwater Café announce their launch
Greenhouse is delighted to announce our partnership with not-for-profit Wonderwater Café team.
The fantastic pop-up café designed to highlight the water footprint of food is to be unveiled for the London Design Festival, from 12th-23rd September.
Hosted by local favourite Leila's Shop in the heart of the Shoreditch Design Triangle, the Wonderwater café is a concept thought up by founder Jane Withers, asking visitors to the café, 'how much water do you eat?', and raising awareness of the critical relationship between water and food.
This will be the first UK event for the Wonderwater Café as the London Design Festival kicks off, following rave reviews for their pop-up cafés in Helsinki and Beijing.
Visitors will be able to enjoy a mouth-watering selection of organic, responsibly-sourced food, choosing from a bespoke water footprint menu, which will convey mind-blowing facts and figures on the water footprint of their meal.
Jane Withers, campaigner, design lecturer and author says, 'we are harnessing the power of design to communicate complex environmental and water scarcity issues in a compelling way.'
The gorgeously designed visual displays and infographics will serve to educate consumers about how much water was used in the production of their meal, and where that water came from.
It is hoped that this event will empower and inspire each visitor, and trigger more informed, responsible purchasing choices.
Do let us know on Twitter if you'll be going to the Wonderwater Café - and don't forget to Check In on Foursquare!
World Water Week - the best articles
WWW blog: is corporate action on water security coming of age? - Guardian: Sustainable Business
WWW blog: is nexus thinking finally taking off? - Guardian: Sustainable Business
Water for Business guide promises to aid water-management efforts - Business Green
WWW kicks off with global call to reduce food waste - Huffington Post: Water
The importance of World Water Week [video] - Guardian Sustainable Business
Richard Lemmer | 04.07.12
In a fight between a polar bear and a fish, it‘s no real contest. And this applies whether the fight is for survival or just public attention. Polar bears are the mascots of climate change activists the world over. Cute, cuddly and close to becoming homeless thanks to CO2 emissions, they have become a ready emblem for our climate crisis.
Greenpeace’s latest video features a homeless polar bear wandering the streets of London, sniffing at plastic fish and car exhausts, whilst Thom Yorke of Radiohead sings and Jude Law narrates. The video has been live for two days and has over 15,000 views. Greenpeace’s video on sustainable fishing has been live for over a month and has 8,000 views. Polar bears shine on, while the fish swim out of sight.
But Greenpeace’s ‘Be A Fisherman’s Friend’ campaign has taken a dry subject (a little ironic given its place in the natural world) and given it a human face. The EU’s Maximum Sustainable Yield model of the Common Fisheries Policy may not sound like a day at the beach, but it has big implications for the fish & chip shops that line our sea sides. At the moment, large corporations can afford to discard fish, completely de-populate fish stocks and cut out sustainable fishermen. Small boats make up over 70% of the UK fishing fleet, but they are given just 4% of the allocated fishing quota.
Greenpeace knows this can’t go on, and its campaign rises to the challenge. We get to understand how important sustainable business is not just to the environment, but to the individuals who depend on the environment for a living. “It is the green way of fishing,“ one fisherman explains, but skewed economic policy means the next generation of fishermen are not able to sustain the tradition. To change this, members of the public can join the campaign by signing the petition, sharing the video and using social media to show their engagement. Greenpeace has even provided a campaign theme tune in the form of a sea shanty.
Whilst the polar bear may be the emblem of climate change, the small boat fisherman is a worthy emblem for sustainable business. They have to work within nature’s means to ensure the next generation have a livelihood. And as the Guardian has reported, this method can be much more profitable. So make sure you join the campaign.
Richard Lemmer | 04.06.12
We thought we'd share with you some exciting news. Our lovely pigs - reared completely organically and ethically - are off to meet their destiny today. Named Eeney, Meany Miney and Mo, we have put a lot of love and affection into giving our pigs good lives, and we are feeling a bit sad...but we also know they will be very tasty.
- Clean Energy
- Eco Commmunities
- Eco Heroes
- Eco Media
- Ethical Finance
- Green Living
- Green Technology & Design
- Guest Bloggers
- Morning News
- Social Media
- Weekly Greenhouse Updates
- Morning News - Tuesday 21st May 2013
- Morning News - Monday 20th May 2013
- Morning News - Friday 17th May 2013
- Morning News - Tuesday 14th May 2013
- Morning News - Monday 13th May 2013
- Morning News - Thursday 25th April 2013
- Exhibition showcases sustainability leaders’ wishes for the future
- Morning News - Tuesday 23rd April 2013
- Morning News - Monday 22nd April 2013
- National Trust commits to renewable energy
- Morning News - Tuesday 16th April 2013
- Morning News - Monday 15th April 2013
- Anna Shepard
- The Sustainable Business Lab
- The Soil Association
- Adam Vaughan
- Business Green
- Dot Earth
- Environment 360
- Environmental Graffiti
- George Monbiot
- Green Futures
- Green Inc.
- Green Thing
- Guardian Environment
- Huffington Post Green
- Jonathon Porritt
- Julia Hailes
- La Tierra
- Mother Nature Network
- Recycle This
- The Alternative Consumer
- The Daily Green
- The Oil Drum
- Transition Culture
- Zero Carbonista