Food Issues

We have discussed the problems of food production, transport and projects we can promote a number of times.

Much commercially produced food is dependant on oil for cultivation, fertilizer, packaging and transportation. And it’s complex, because out of season produce in this country uses oil to heat greenhouses, which can exceed that used to bring fresh produce from the other hemisphere. The supermarkets  have encouraged a loss of consumer awareness of seasons – stuff is no longer ‘in-season’, it is on “special offer”, or “buy one get one free”.

Issues of land use in developing countries, and whether scarce water is used for ‘cash crops’ for the rich and export, rather than fair shares for farmers and consumers are important.

We need to promote

  • locally produced good food,
  • growing yourself (the least food miles of all),
  • including provision of allotments and community gardening,
  • promoting landshare, and skills sharing
  • collecting, storing, processing fruit that would go to waste
  • and eating seasonally.

Poole used to be surrounded by market gardens. Like most areas of the UK, these are now growing houses. The whole area of Tatnam was market garden before WWII, feeding the markets and shops of the whole Poole area.

This page summarises our current ideas.

Food Group (notes by Gary, updated by Andy)

Land/garden share – lots of interest with some concerns over risk possibilities – Action – Gary to research existing schemes, Helen to do the leg work, ie sound people out.

Food from small spaces – discussion around sustainability of this with differing views as to how much land is sufficient for self sufficiency-
recommended Michael Guerras “The Edible Container Garden” (available in libraries)

Mushrooms – difficult to save spores for continuous growing

Fruit, especially soft fruit – the easiest and most rewarding for new growers. Great projects around

  • planting fruit trees on public land. In Boscombe, trees were given to people to plant in their own gardens.
  • harvesting crops that would go to waste – people with big trees and no desire/ability/confidence to crop and store them.

Produce share vs landshare – comment on the amount of wasted/windfall fruit and how we could tap into this.

[Harriet found a good idea from Sheffield, organising harvest, collection and distribution of fruit going to waste:]. Cherry is keen to get this going as a project this year. Any interest ?

Local & Seasonal – a challenge whilst stuff so easily available in supermarkets – also challenging to get extended seasons. Skills sharing

  • traditional ways of storing and preserving food
  • information on seasonal recipies

Overall what is coming out is the need for skill sharing amongst the group. Aim to hook with Jamie to get some dates organised for the Autumn

Group felt advice on small scale fruit and veg growing would be the best way to encourage Poole people to start growing their own.  I’ve posted a link to a new Transition guide on this very subject.

As part of Dorset Food Week In its 9th year ran from Saturday 24th October to Sunday 1st November 2009.

Tat and Brendan co-ordinated a Transition Poole stall the Lighthouse event on the 25th October  – see the report on Bite the Lighthouse here

Notes from our June Meeting


  • Talked about landshare, lack of publicity, and accessibility, perhaps especially to older ‘donators of land’ via a website.
  • Buddying people – skills share
  • Advice on gardening – going to the individuals house
  • Garden working parties – especially for big jobs – like a barn raising, feed the people who come and share heavy work
  • Find ways to approach those on allotment waiting lists – perhaps just via adverts in local press (we have asked before, and Data Protection forbids getting the list of those waiting for space). Could we provide them leaflets instead ?

Where space is an issue

  • Encouraging vegetable windowboxes
  • Espallier trees on walls
  • Sound/visual screen – maintained by local householders

Buying surplus vegetables from neighbours

  • Collection/sales at hubs – school run/workplaces
  • Micromarkets – food swapping
  • Communal picnic on a Sunday

Agreed to do garden visits – view, advise, turn up to work
Strong candidates

  • Simon’s garden, needs to consider where to site a greenhouse. Has ducks, so looking for how to grow crops around them.
  • Gary’s Garden – lots of food growing already. greenhouse to reconstruct (Old Cedar one needs mending first)
  • Theresa’s garden – no car, lots of tarmac, wants to rip it up, lots of hardcore below.

Agreed Simon’s garden for a 1 hour look Mon 22nd June 6:45pm. Also to review progress on the ‘mapping’ exercise.

Buying pond-liner in bulk and encouraging/helping people to dig wildlife ponds

Bees – providing bee-hotels for solitary bees (bamboo or holes drilled into logs)
sugar water for exhausted bees.

Other ideas we have had or heard of ;

Hi All, here’s an idea ripe for duplication. Anyone want to take it up locally?

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