Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Pig Idea Feast

Walking through Trafalgar Square today didn't seem the same without a friendly piglet to accompany me.  Last week I lent a hand at The Pig Idea Feast in Trafalgar Square, where I was tasked with enticing the public to join in the festivities with the help of Norris, one of the piglets pictured below.
Photo credit:Diana Jarvis & Karolina Webb
The Pig Idea team gave away over 5000 portions of porky delights at their feast on 21st November. All the pork served, from nose to tail, had been reared by the team at Stepney City Farm on a healthy diet of spent brewer's grains, whey, unsold fruit and veg and okara (a tofu byproduct), all collected locally - food that would have otherwise been wasted.

I'm sure all the food was delicious, but speaking from first hand experience, I can certainly testify to the deliciousness of the spicy pork tacos served by the Wahaca team.

After my leafleting trip round the local area with Norris the piglet I was tasked with gathering pledges in support of the Pig Idea.

As I chatted to people while they ate their lunch, enjoying the glorious winter sunshine, I was surprised how many people hadn't realised (or maybe hadn't remembered) that there has been a ban, for the last ten years, on feeding food waste to pigs.  Most people seemed appalled at the idea that pigs were often being fed on soya that had been grown half way round the world when there was so much they could have been fed on that was just going to waste.

Many times I was asked why, when we've been feeding our food waste to pigs for centuries, did we have to stop.

The ban was a response to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001.  As I understand it, all food whoever you are feeding it to, whether that's people or pigs, has to be treated in the correct way.  If we are cooking the food, we have to cook it properly, ensuring that it is cooked to the correct temperatures and for long enough.  We have to be careful when we reheat foods and we have to store them properly.

Here's some information from The Pig Idea that explains more.

'It was tentatively concluded that the FMD outbreak originated on a farm that was illegally feeding its pigs unprocessed restaurant waste. It was originally intended to be a temporary measure, but has remained in place ever since.

As a result of the ban, farmers have had to find alternative sources of pig feed, mostly from ‘virgin’ materials - crops like soya, maize and wheat.

A return to the practice of feeding waste food to pigs would have a number of major social, environmental and economic benefits:

*      Liberate food supplies, particularly cereal crops, so that these can be eaten by people instead of being fed to pigs;

*      Lower feed costs for pig farmers, and so help to protect the beleaguered British pig industry;

*      Avoid the economic and environmental costs of disposing of food waste, including dumping food waste in landfill sites and leaving it to rot which produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas;

*      Protect landscapes rich in biodiversity, such as the precious Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado grassland, that are under pressure to grow crops to feed pigs;

*      Create jobs and revenue in the new eco-feed industry that will be needed to collect, treat and distribute surplus food so that it can be fed to pigs.

Is it safe?

Cooking leftover food renders it safe for pigs, and also for chickens, killing pathogens such as Foot and Mouth Disease and Classical Swine Fever. Pigs and chickens are omnivorous animals, evolved to eat all the kinds of food that humans eat, and there is no evidence that feeding them properly treated food waste is unhealthy either to the animals, or to the humans that eat their meat.' 

You can still pledge your support on the Pig Idea Website:

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 8

The files are sorted out and slimmed down and I've added another 5994 grammes of paper to my recycling, giving me a total so far of 58,575 grammes.   I got a bit fed up with looking through each file, picking out what needed to be kept and then tearing off the bits giving personal details, to minimise the need for shredding, so I kept putting off the task, and thinking that as it was out of sight, it would remain out of mind.  But it was bothering me, so I scooped up the pile of files on Saturday evening, headed for the comfort of sofa and log fire and watched Strictly while I tore away at all the old insurance policies, more old bank statements, contracts of employment for past jobs and more. Now they are all gone, to be turned back into something useful.  And I feel cleansed!

My target was 58,823.5 grammes, so I have less than 250 grammes to go.  That should be no problem, as next week I plan to tackle these...

I have a drawer full of instructions for electrical appliances and their guarantees. The clue's in the photo! I'm not exactly gadget girl, I don't own an iPad or even an iPod and I confess to still owning a handful of video tapes and a whole box full of audio cassettes!  I've owned the same phone for nearly three years.  I've had only three others in my nineteen years of owning mobile phones, one of which I lost, one was stolen and the third broke after about 5 years. But with twenty years of living in the same house, even though I'm not one to rush out and swap my stuff for the latest model, I'm pretty sure there are a fair number of these manuals belonging to appliances that have long ago gone to the white goods graveyard at the local recycling centre or to the little pink box in Sainsbury's car park.

Next week's task should be a doodle then. Out will go the manuals for the appliances I no longer have! Anyone joining me?

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 7

The last couple of weeks have been great for tidying and making space and my office is a happier healthier place now with room for future development and inspiration.  But I've not been making much paper recycling to add to the grand total.

Last week I was typing up notes into a private blog and when I wrote the blog post about this I'd managed an overall total of 49.759kg.  By continuing to add notes to my blog to clear out my old notebooks, I managed another 288g of recycling to get me over the 50kg mark!

I haven't by any means finished going through all my old notebooks and handouts from the various meetings, events and training courses I've been on, but this will take time.  The rule from now on though, is to write them up into the blog as soon as I can.  Tagging each note with appropriate key words, means that it will be much easier to find the information as and when I need it.

This will most certainly be a huge saver of both paper and time.  My blog is already developing into a useful resource.

But onto this week's task.  And it's a big one...

This week I am going to go through my file of bills for house running costs.  I keep these bills so that I can look back through what electricity / oil / water etc that I'm consuming.  We have regular attempts at making reductions in what we use.  But like using a blog for my notes, this information can be kept in a spreadsheet rather than having to keep all the paper work.

I have set up my spreadsheet with a worksheet for each service: water / oil / electricity / council tax etc.

I record units used, unit price and total amount paid and any other information I feel is useful.  Then the piece of paper can go to the recycling.  I tear off the part with address and account number for shredding, which is much quicker than shredding the whole document.

Having dealt with the house running costs, I had a quick look through some of the other files and found plenty of paperwork that I just don't need to keep any more.  Once you start to really think about what you do and don't need, it is fairly easy to kick the hoarding habit.  I think it helps that I've started to see all this paper as a valuable resource as it can be turned back into paper.

I've added a further 2534 grammes bringing the total to 52.581kg and have freed up more space in the crammed full drawers of my filing cabinet.  But I can now see the bulging files in between the down-sized ones so... week's task is to go through these!

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 6

Half way through my challenge, but already nearly there in terms of recycling my tree's worth of paper and card.

My filing cabinet has plenty of space, my desk is looking a whole lot better.

From the rest of the paperwork on my desk I recycled another 180 grammes.  But I'm still left with a pile of notes about either the process of writing or the research I'm working on that I want to keep for the future.

The problem with filing things away is that you need some kind of retrieval system.  So, I decided the best way to keep them was to resurrect an old blog I used to use when I did my Masters Degree.

A blog is a good way to keep notes, because you can tag each note with multiple key words so that you will be able to quickly find the relevant information in the future. Blogs don't have to be public.  My notes blog is private.  No-one but me can see it.  So the notes can be as messy as they are on the pieces of paper on my desk.  As I type them up I might be tempted to tidy them up or add to them, but I can do that any time.

So far I've typed up several notes out of notebooks and from scraps of paper and added another 400g grammes of paper to my recycling, bringing my total to 49.759kg so far.  I think by the time I've typed up a few more notes and extracted anything out of date or no longer relevant from my note books, I'll have crossed the 50kg line!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Vandana Shiva: Earth Democracy

Listen out for Vandana Shiva's views on big business versus youth in the issue of food security and food sovereignty.

Food for thought.