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News from Tracy Worcester

Local residents and campaigners have written to Derbyshire County Council to urge councillors to reject the Foston ‘factory farm’ which would house 2,500 sows, producing 1,000 pigs a week. In September the Derby Telegraph reported that there were 38,000 objections. The planning decision, scheduled for October, still has not been taken.

tracy 1Tracy, who is director of the “Farms not Factories” campaign group, said she hoped the sheer number of objections would lead to the plans being thrown out:

“Opposition to the development by local residents is almost unanimous. They have not been persuaded that the development will not poison them with toxic emissions, pollute local waterways, increase the risk of flooding and disturb the amenity of the area with vastly-increased heavy vehicle traffic.

planning pig farm notice

Relevant postscript . . .

meat benign extravance coverIn 2010 George Monbiot agreed that if pigs are fed on residues and waste, and cattle on straw and grass from fallows and rangelands – food for which humans don’t compete – meat becomes a very efficient means of food production.

But this week, though agreeing with Tracy and Simon about the evils of raising broiler chickens, stalled pigs and feedlot cattle: “sustaining unhealthy animals in crowded sheds” – and referring to a recent parliamentary report – he rescinds his acceptance of Simon Fairlie’s position in Meat: a benign extravagance, in his quest to recover hill and forest habitats for imported wild predator animals and birds.

In a second message Tracy refers to another new report, ‘The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance’, which illustrates the economic and health impacts of antibiotic resistance. She adds that this report only focuses on public health, not their effects on intensively reared animals (Veterinary Times, 8 December 2014).

Fairlie has pointed out that around half the current global meat supply causes no loss to human nutrition and in fact delivers a net gain, as it comes from animals eating grass and crop residues that people can’t consume. It is  low energy, low waste, just, diverse and small-scale.

We add to his recommendation,Tracy’s reminder of the importance of conserving our native and rare breed pigs, keeping diversity within the pig species through sustainable mixed farming methods – and all native animal and bird breeds and seeds.


News from FEASTA, co-founded by our colleague, the late Richard Douthwaite

feasta header

Extracts from an article by FEASTA’s director Mark Garavan (below)

Hovering above all of this economic and social disorder ecological crisis grows. The term Climate Change may suggest that only the weather is in question but climate is everything – food, water, temperature, nature itself. Half of all vertebrate life-forms have become extinct in the last forty years.

mark garavan feastaAs Feasta has predicted and argued since its foundation, the system itself is disintegrating. That this is happening is a tragedy. There is no comfort in having anticipated what is now occurring. We are now living through this time. It is no surprise that as the system decays we suffer stress and anxiety at a personal level.

It is in this context that Feasta needs to address where it stands today and what it can do at this time. We have produced detailed analyses and proposals over many years. All of these remain serviceable and valuable. But as a small organisation, desperately trying to argue for fundamental change at a systemic level, a high toll is exacted at the human level. Organisations often do not talk enough about this element. Burn-out, inter-personal frustrations, sheer exhaustion can dissipate even the most committed.

Often, advocates for change necessarily end up in the role of the critic, of the one in opposition, of the one who points out what is wrong, of the nay-sayer, of the doom-mongerer. We seem to come from a place of negation. We can appear experts in what is wrong, in what we oppose, in what we hate.

At this time of grave and genuine crisis, we desperately need to evoke what we love. We need to restore to our public discourse the capacity to dream of a world of inclusion, economic sufficiency, democratic participation and of psychological wholeness and well-being where care and compassion ground our fragile existence. The widespread alienation characteristic of our failing system may channel itself into anger, hatred and fear unless a project of hope and inspiration can be offered.

At a minimum all we in Feasta can do is not collude with the contemporary illusions.

We can speak with utter honesty about ourselves as struggling human beings, about our collapsing system, about our fears, distresses and vulnerabilities and about our hopes of a world that might be good enough for a holistically sustainable human life. Sustainability must include the social, political, economic and ecological and also the psychological. The new language and praxis of a sustainable politics must include care and well-being – focusing on the welfare of all of us.

Read the article in full here:

But today the link is not working –  message:

feasta link


News from Geoff Tansey

Geoff writes: “I’m delighted to invite you to use this new, open education resource to transform our food systems: The Food Systems Academy

geoff tansey 3He adds: “You might like to use the talks to provide guest speakers for educational courses or citizens groups to kick off a discussion.

“It would be very helpful if you could inform your networks about this. I have attached a flyer, which we would love people to print out and put up on notice boards.

Please also share this flyer with any colleagues for whom this new resource may be useful.

1food systems academy2food systems academy

If you are on Twitter it would be great if you could both follow the Food Systems Academy and tweet about it. Here are a few tweets you could use:

Introducing the new @FoodSystemsAcad, an open education resource to transform our #foodsystems. Curated @GeoffTansey

The new @FoodSystemsAcad is a free library of talks giving a succinct overview of food in our world today #foodsystem

How do we face the challenges of our #foodsystems? Explore the answers through @foodsystemsacad #video archive:


News from Sabine McNeill

Sabine, who supports victims of the financial, legal and judiciary system by grouping cases in order to press for legal redress, or even changes in the law, has written about her plan to spend the first week of December lobbying in Brussels. The following graphic shows half of her flyer:

sabine graphic

She will be there from Dec 1 to 5th, “SEVEN guys from the Commission want to meet me, while the Vice-President will meet the Chair of the Petitions Committee about our issue!… “

This follows her initial successes. Here is the official recording of her earlier presentation in Brussels and the subsequent comments by MEPs, members of the Petitions Committee, who made very relevant points which may be read by following the link. Sabine in action:


Following that presentation and discussion until 16:43, a Dutch father of Russian Jewish origin, a Polish mother and the sister of this Lithuanian mother presented their petitions. The Polish mother said, “I am here on behalf of defenceless children and intimidated parents”.

Lydia Smith, in the International Business Times, reminds us that apart from Croatia, Britain is the only EU member state that practices forced adoption and for some, it is seen as a secretive system that allows social workers to separate children from loving families without proper justification and with little concern for their interests.


The GenerationNext making waves, Molly Scott Cato and Karen Leach

molly scott cato 4Molly, now the Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar, was given an opportunity to use experiences learned from last winter’s floods in the South West to give the European Parliament a Green perspective on tackling flood alleviation and flood prevention.

In her address she said that Greens call for three elements of a responsible flood policy:

  • making adequate investment in the infrastructure that prevents flooding, not allowing austerity cuts to increase the risk as our communities become inundated;
  • using a whole-catchment approach, considering how our farming practices have reduced the land’s ability to absorb rainfall for longer before it drains into the river, prioritising, in the CAP subsidiary scheme, the adoption of land management practices involving maintaining hedges and trees; using organic methods that reduce soil run-off, making explicit the link between flooding and climate change;
  • constantly remembering the flooding incidents across Europe which underline the urgent need to agree meaningful carbon-dioxide reductions at the COP 21 negotiations in Paris next year.


Karen Leach was given the 2014 Attwood Award for working to strengthen the region’s economy.

katen award 2

City architect Joe Holyoak (last year’s awardee) presented the award. Other local recipients of the award include the Aston Reinvestment Trust, Kirsty Davies of Professional Polishing Services and the Green New Deal designers.

karen awardLocalise West Midlands’ chairman, Jon Morris, spoke about Karen’s work inspiring others to take action by her commitment, her logic, her actions, her integrity and her persistence.

For ten years Karen has been the organisation’s cornerstone. Jon thought that one of the achievements that most typifies Karen is the Alliance for a Better Economy. Read more here.There is a range of groups across the country working for a fairer and better local economy and which see localisation as at least an element in this.Though they all have different approaches and at times compete for resources and attention, Karen believed they could be more effective by working together to create and promote a common voice for a common aim. Read on here.



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The GenerationNext making waves, Ben Dyson & Rianne ten Veen

ben dyson News from Ben Dyson: Positive Money recently hosted a groundbreaking talk by Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator and associate editor of the Financial Times.

Martin was talking about proposals to “strip banks of their power to create money”, and was cautiously supportive of the “radical” reform ideas of Positive Money. There was a packed house at the Great Hall of the Institute for Chartered Accountants on 9th September 2014.

The event entitled ‘Does Money Grow on Trees?’ attracted an audience of professors of economics, politicians, economists, city professionals, accountants, and representatives from civil society organisations including unions, NGOs, and think tanks, and even a couple of employees from the Bank of England. Martin Wolf gave an insightful commentary about ending private sector money creation. He opened by saying: ‘I am grateful to Positive Money, they have done some very very interesting work, and I think it’s admirable and important that we have this debate on the future of the monetary and financial system.’

Martin Wolf and Positive Money’s Ben Dyson spoke recently on national Dutch television about the need to reform the monetary system - watch here.

Positive Money events have been held in several parts of the country:

Positive Money Meetup – Oxford, October 15
Reading Modernising Money – Birmingham, October 15
Positive Money Quiz – Godalming, October 17
Hackney Housing Debate – London – Hackney, October 19
Positive Money Informal Meetup – Edinburgh, October 21
Positive Money Meetup – London – Hammersmith, October 22
Debunking Banking – Sheffield, October 27
Money: Master or Servant?London – St.Paul’s Institute, October 28


rianne 4Rianne ten Veen is an Open University tutor and her courses include: Introduction to Ecosystems , Muslims in Britain: changes and challenges, The secret power of brands, Introduction to Ecosystems, Fairness and nature: when worlds collide, Cooperation in the Contemporary World: Unlocking International Politics, Starting a business: realise your vision,

After a decade at Islamic Relief Worldwide, from January 2013 she has focussed on working as head of research with Osman Consulting Ltd, a company with a humanitarian heart focussing on its core work, spending no time on fundraising and accepting no donations. She contributed to the widely reviewed Study of the Impact of Donor Counter Terrorism Measures on Principled Humanitarian Action. The link no longer works but may be viewed by cutting and pasting the title into a search engine. Rianne was invited to speak on this at invitation-only event at Durham University.

One of her many voluntary interests is Tree Aid.

tree aid logo7.2 million trees have been planted across Africa. Hundreds of thousands more trees have naturally regenerated through improvements in natural resource management. Over 450,000 villagers have benefitted from improved incomes from tree products meaning better health, education and life chances. Over 1,000,000 people have benefitted from improvements in soil and water conservation.

Increasing crop yields and establishing an additional food supply from tree fruits is helping poor communities to produce more food, reducing hunger and malnutrition and increasing resilience in times of drought. Income sources are being developed from the sale of non-wood tree products provides cash to spend on immediate needs and invest in the family’s future

Full profile:


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