‘Press releases’ Category

  1. Grow CSA farms this summer

    July 12, 2017 by Elisabeth

    Summer 2017: CSA Network UK celebrates its last two years growing the community supported agriculture (CSA) movement in the UK. CSA farms reconnect the public with local food and support ecological farmers.

    Maresa Bossano, CSA Network UK co-ordinator says: “The growth in the number of CSAs setting up over the last two years, as well the number of those contacting the CSA Network UK for advice, shows the public appetite for fresh, local food, as well as the dedication of small farmers producing sustainable food.”

    CSA Network UK is reaching out to new supporters this summer.

    Maresa Bossano continues: “With its abundance of fresh produce, summer is a great time to encourage supporters to join. The CSA Network UK is open to anyone who supports a fairer local food system. Supporters get discounts as well as the knowledge they are supporting the real food revolution.”

    Achievements 2015 – 2017:

    • At least 15 new CSAs have started up
    • Nearly 100 CSA farms listed on the CSA Network UK map
    • Annual national CSA events raise awareness of Community Supported Agriculture
    • Mentoring programme provides one-to-one advice to new and existing CSAs
    • Training and networking events held at CSAs nationwide.

    What is a CSA?

    The CSA movement began in the UK in the late-1990s to counter the negative effects of industrial agriculture by reconnecting people with fresh local food produced with ecological farming methods.

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) comes in many shapes and sizes including one-acre shared fields, subscription veg box schemes, pig shares, and community-owned farms.

    The CSA model connects people to an ecological farm though a membership scheme which supports the farmer both with finance and community involvement. In return, members receive weekly fresh produce, and opportunities for volunteering, training, children’s activities, and celebratory events to mark the seasons.

    For case studies, images, quotes, interviews and a PDF of 2015-2017 achievements, please contact Elisabeth (0777 399 8642) or Maresa (07975 829706).

    Notes to Editors

    Inspired by examples from France, Japan and the US, the number of community-supported farms in England grew from a handful to around 80 with support of the Making Local Food Work programme 2007 – 2012.

    Making Local Food Work was a five-year Big Lottery-funded project, co-supported by the Soil Association, Sustain and other ecological farming organisations. Post-funding, the Soil Association and others carried on to develop the network.

    CSA Network UK launched in Stroud in December 2013 as a new organisation, to promote community supported agriculture and support CSA schemes. It has been operating independently of the Soil Association since April 2015.

    CSA Network UK has three core values: people care, earth care and fair share. CSA Network UK is one of over 80 food and farming organisations supporting A People’s Food Policy, launched 26 June 2017 in response to the start of Brexit negotiations.

    Individual supporters pay annual membership of £25 receive discounts on LandBase courses, polytunnels and books including from Green Books and books and courses by Charles Dowding.

    Is there a CSA farm near you? Find your nearest community supported agriculture farm.

    @CSANetwork on Twitter and CSA Network UK on Facebook.

     


  2. Environmental law conference – Sustainable Cities, Trump and Brexit

    June 28, 2017 by Elisabeth

    7 – 9 July 2017, University of Nottingham: International experts join the 2017 UKELA (UK Environmental Law Association) annual conference to raise awareness of legal challenges and opportunities for protecting the environment.

    The month after the US drew out of the Paris Accord on climate change, the conference will hear from Seth Davis, Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources.

    Seth Davis says: “Where the federal government shrinks from enforcement, state and local governments and the public itself must be prepared to step into the breach. We must defend absolutely the rule of law. This responsibility is both individual and collective.”

    The conference is organised by UKELA (UK Environmental Law Association), the charity which aims to improve understanding of environmental law for the sake of a better environment.

    “The conference is a must for anyone interested in environmental law,” says UKELA Director, Linda Farrow. “We are delighted that top legal minds are joining us to share their expertise. By improving understanding, we can make the law work for a better environment.”

    The charity’s president is leading environmental lawyer, and Supreme Court Justice, Lord Carnwath. One of the eleven judges in the Miller vs  Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union case, Lord Carnwarth will chair a report from the charity’s Brexit Task Force examining how leaving the EU offers both challenge and scope to use UK law to improve the environment.

    The conference’s three plenaries will focus on sustainable cities and the law. With over half the global population living in urban areas, legal practitioners need to understand how environmental laws can improve a city’s health and sustainability.

    The keynote speaker is Dr Alfonso Vegara – world-renowned for his work on the evolution of cities. Experts including the legislation leader from UN-Habitat (mandated by UN to promote sustainable towns) will share their learning, while delegates will gain the tools – best practice, and legal and regulatory mechanisms – for making UK cities more sustainable.

    Delegates will be able to gain 7.5 of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for one year by attending the three plenaries which address 1) the global role of cities and city governance particularly in relation to climate change 2) UK-based legal and regulatory mechanisms for sustainable cities and 3) environmental issues in cities, with emphasis on air quality, water management and biodiversity.

    There will be networking opportunities including a quiz, music, wine tour, gala dinner and a guided walk in the Attenborough Nature Reserve.

    Media passes and speaker interviews may be arranged on request to elisabeth.winkler @ yahoo.co.uk

     

    Notes to editors

    1. UKELA  (UK Environmental Law Association) is the UK charity which aims to make the law work for a better environment and to improve understanding and awareness of environmental law. Membership is open for anyone interested in environmental law. UKELA also supports the Environmental Law website for the public in Plain English.
    2. The full UKELA conference programme is available here.
    3. Shortly after Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Accord, “the governors of California, New York, and Washington founded the United States Climate Alliance to continue to advance the objectives of the Paris Agreement despite the withdrawal; similar sentiment has also been expressed by other state governors, mayors, and businesses,” according to Wikipedia
    4. Friday morning pre-conference walk from the Attenborough Nature Reserve is free but booking is required
    5. Conference proceedings will be published after the event by Law Text in a special edition of Environmental Law and Management (ELM). This is free to delegates.

  3. Our broken food system needs Food Citizenship

    June 27, 2017 by Elisabeth

    Hands waving in protest and food celebration

    PRESS RELEASE / MEDIA INVITE
    Press contact elisabeth.winkler  @ yahoo.co.uk

    Citizens not consumers

    How thinking of ourselves differently can build a better food system

    Food Citizenship report launch

     

    Borough Market, SE1 1TL London, Wednesday 28 June 2017 08:30 – 10:00

    Breakfast supplied by Borough Market traders.

     

    The result of a ten-month inquiry with six organisations including the RSPB and Co-op to explore a Citizen food system, the Food Citizenship Report explores the false and limiting idea of ‘the consumer’. The report includes a review of international and UK food citizenship projects, and a Food Citizen’s Toolkit.


    The
    Food Citizenship Report is available for download at 9am on 28 June – please subscribe. Advance copies are available for all registered attendees 48 hours prior to the launch event. Advance press copies of the report are available on request.
    The report launch on 28 June is an opportunity to hear from the six organisations about their progress towards a citizen food system, and the new approaches they are taking in communication, strategy and policy development as a result of their participation in the project.
    The six Food Citizenship partner organisations are:

    •    Cook – Frozen food manufacturer and high street retailer
    •    FAI Farms – Food producer and sustainable production consultant to others, e.g McDonald’s
    •    The National Trust’s Wimpole Estate and Farm – An open farm and visitor attraction and food retailer
    •    RSPB – Nature conservation NGO, working on agriculture policy and wildlife-friendly farming
    •    Food Standards Agency – A non-ministerial government department responsible for protecting public health in relation to food
    •    Co-op supermarket- A member-owned co-operative and food retailer with over 2,500 stores across the UK.

    The Food Citizenship report is by the New Citizenship Project, a certified B-Corporation business with purpose, working with organisations on innovation projects which involve people as citizens not consumers. It demonstrates that by changing our mindset from consumer to citizen, we can create a genuinely participatory society.

    Director and co-founder of the New Citizenship Project, Jon Alexander, explains how this shift can tackle problems in the food system:

    “We allow sugar content to remain high, compromise on wage levels and environmental impact for price, focus our best innovation brains narrowly on convenience, and all because that’s what “the consumer” wants. But what if people are not consumers? What if brands sought our involvement, not just our spend? Imagine if we thought of ourselves and each other as active participants in shaping our society beyond our individual consumption. This shift in mindset reframes the task of creating a better food system. It is a future waiting to happen. And it starts with a single word: citizens.”

    Jon Alexander continues: “We have applied the insights from our process and the work of our participant organisations to create a toolkit for others working in the food system, helping them to see how they as individuals and their organisations can be Food Citizens. This toolkit is an exciting opportunity for us to break out of consumer conventions and work towards a new food system which is fairer, more equitable and has a healthier future.”

     

    The report was advised by the Food Ethics Council, an independent advisory body working for a fair and healthy food system.

    Food Ethics Council director, Dan Crossley says: “By most indicators, the challenges faced by the food system are getting worse, not better. If we want a systemic change in the food sector – and beyond! – one of the issues that needs to be addressed is the language used when communicating with others. We need to move beyond the consumer and into the new era of the citizen.”
    Food Citizenship report partner-organisations have their say

    Cathryn Higgs, Co-op Head of Food Policy says:

    “Co-op is already in the Citizen mind-set in many ways – we exist to serve our four million active members, who own and have a say in how we are run. We were drawn to the New Citizenship Project as it promised to challenge us to use this structure to be bolder with our leadership campaigns and consider how to make the most of the passion and influence our active members hold. The New Citizenship Project did just this – it has pushed us out of our comfort zones and stretched us to think differently about the way we talk to our members and shoppers in order to ignite their citizen mindset, and our own. Ultimately, our vision is to make people shopping with us feel like they are buying into a movement, not just another shop and the New Citizenship team has provided us with tools to start this journey – something we’re extremely excited about.”

    Stephanie Landymore, Senior Campaigning Communications Officer at RSPB says:

    “This project has provided a huge amount of stimulus for the development of our campaigning on food and farming, complementing a shift in approach we already wanted to make. Recognising the limitations of a Consumer Mindset and changing our language as individuals has started different conversations internally; we are actively starting to build new alliances and we’re looking forward to involving our supporters in our work as we embed these ideas”.

    James Rutter, Brand Director at Cook Foods, says:

    “In some respects, at COOK we’ve shown it’s possible to operate and succeed outside the conventions of the food system and its prevailing consumer mindset. That said, we also succumb to consumer thinking because it can seem the only real option for driving business success. We are now more confident than ever that there is another way – one which can benefit both our business and society. We have started to see much more potential in this language shift, particularly with regards to communication of our brand to our customers”.
    Oistein Thorsen, Director of FAI Farms, says:

    “We see part of our role as advisors to some of the world’s largest food brands, to help them create meaningful platforms of engagement that goes beyond the transactional to make food producers a visible and valued partner in solving our time’s biggest food challenges. We have begun formalising this process by developing a guide for food brands; “Engaging Food Producers as Citizens”. The purpose is to begin to transform the dominant conversation in supply chains towards genuine strategic alliances. Much of the content builds directly on the ideas developed in this process.

    Notes to editors

    1. The public is invited. Tickets are available price £24.00 – proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Borough Market trader support fund following the terrorist attack.
    2. The New Citizenship Project is an innovation company founded by brand purpose experts, Jon Alexander and Irenie Ekkeshis,  to work with organisations on strategic, creative and innovation projects designed to involve customers/members or audiences as citizens rather than consumers. Both Jon and Irenie have a background in brand and marketing communications, and New Citizenship Project are considered thought-leaders in the field of citizen involvement and participation. Their publication This is the #Citizenshift received significant acclaim across the commercial, non-profit and civil society sectors. They have also been responsible for a number of innovative and creative participatory projects, including MyFarm, where the National Trust handed over decision-making on a real working farm to the public via online vote and debate. View Jon Alexander’s blog on Food Citizenship.
    1. The Food Ethics Council is an independent advisory body that believes we can have a food system that is healthy and fair for people and the environment. It works with businesses, government and civil society to help find a way through the contentious issues surrounding food and farming.
    1.  First created in US law in Maryland in 2010, the Benefit Corporation is a new legal status of incorporation that requires organisations both to make profit and to serve a greater societal purpose. Crucially, they have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders on both counts, not just on profit, and so must state and report against a measurable public benefit. The associated voluntary certification system, the B Corporation movement, arrived in the UK in 2015, with Food Citizenship project participant COOK among the first wave of businesses to certify.
    1. Shareholder activism from ShareAction is another example of food citizenship. Having made a huge impact through fossil fuel divestment, UK-based ShareAction are turning their attention to issues like factory farming, powered by an influx of ordinary citizens who want to know that their pensions aren’t financing approaches to food production they don’t agree with.
    2. Online

    Food Citizenship report findings – download report after 9am 28 June 2017

    New Citizenship Project @NewCitProj @jonjalex

    The Food Ethics Council  @FoodEthicsNews

    Wimpole Farm Estate @WimpoleEstateNT

    FAI Farms  @FAIfarmsRSPB

    RSPB @/RSPBNews

    Food Standards Agency @foodgov

    The Coop @coopukfood

    B Corporation UK: the growing movement to use business as a force for good @BCorpUK


  4. Press release: Quality houmous rebrands as The Precious Pod

    January 31, 2017 by Elisabeth

    Sleeve design of new rebrand for organic houmous makers, The Precious Pod
    31 January 2017: An ethical and award-winning houmous company is rebranding as The Precious Pod to announce its unique quality.

    The Precious Pod rebrand includes a name change (from Natural Vitality), new packaging, and a new website

    The rebrand also includes an ingredient upgrade, as the Precious Pod – certified organic by the Soil Association – switches from organic sunflower oil to organic extra virgin olive oil which has the additional health benefits of being anti-inflammatory with high levels of antioxidants. 

    The new sleeve design by brand design agency, The Collaborators, reflects the extra virgin olive oil upgrade with gold lettering, and introduces deep, bright colours for each of the six houmous flavours: Organic Classic, Organic Smoked, Organic Turmeric, Organic Red Pepper, Organic Kalamata andOrganic Rose Harissa.

    In addition, the designers have created a bespoke, handwritten typeface for the brand name as well as a cut-out of the protein-packed chickpea – which grow one or two per pod hence precious – on the sleeve.

    After a soft launch in December 2016, co-owners Ayleen Driver and Mark Rawson are already seeing positive results.

    Ayleen Driver says:

    “Sales of Organic Rose Harissa doubled in a week. We are offering an authentically-made houmous that is as good as homemade. We cook the chickpeas from scratch and pack more in the pot, about 65%, than most other houmous makers. So our houmous is more than just a dip, it is a nourishing dish. We don’t claim to make the cheapest houmous, there are plenty of people offering bland and boring houmous. Instead, we want to heighten your tasting pleasure. The Precious Pod rebrand makes our houmous stand out from the crowd and announces its unique taste, and outstanding quality.”

    The Precious Pod retails in all good food stores including Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended and other wholefood stores and delis in London. The Precious Pod also sells online at Planet Organic

    The Precious Pod on Twitter

    The Precious Pod on Facebook

    The Precious Pod on Instagram


    For interviews, high-resolution images, orders and samples
    Tel 01761 479 555 email mark @ thepreciouspod. com

    Chick pea pod with green leaf and The Precious Pod in lettering
    Ends


  5. Duotone and Larkhall unite for Bristol gig

    September 26, 2016 by Elisabeth

     For immediate release

    Duotone and Larkhall unite for Bristol gig

    Press contact Elisabeth Winkler 0777 399 8642

    Sunday 6 November 2016 @ The Folk House, Bristol, UK 

    Enter a melodic soundscape with two singer-songwriters who push sonic boundaries while delivering damn good story-telling songs.

    Barney Morse-Brown, shot in East London by Tom Oldham

    Duotone, aka Barney Morse-Brown (cellist with triple-platinum artist Birdy) is a singer-songwriter creating evocative folk songs fusing electronica with crystal-clear vocals, guitar and cello, distilled with classical grace.

    “A hidden gem.”

    — Observer

    “[The] sound is light but cleverly layered, the songs minimal but resonant.”

    — Guardian/Observer

    Charlie Williams, pianist and singer, aka Larkhall

    Larkhall is Chicago-born Charlie Williams, a pianist who brings an indie-classical sensibility to his anthemic, melodic songs. Entrancing lyrics are raised up by the rise and swell of lyrical, heart-opening piano and strings. Expect unconventional add-ons including Blu Tack, one-handed drumming and metronome-as-percussion.

    “…Spoke directly to the Nils Frahm fan in me… glorious, heartfelt melody.”

    — Fresh on the Net

    “Exceptional, powerful… something you need to experience.”

    — No More Division

    Why Bristol? Larkhall’s singer and pianist, Charlie Williams, says: “Barney is based in Oxford, I’m in Bath, so it makes perfect sense for us to play in Bristol, with its thriving scene of indie musical creativity.”

    Venue The Folk House, 40a Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JG

    Date and time Sunday 6 November 2016, doors @7:30.

    Tickets £8.50 adv: 0117 926 2987 / £10 door

    Songs by Duotone and Larkhall

    Twitter @Duotonemusic
    @Larkhallmusic

    Duotone and Larkhall on Facebook

    For high-res images, interviews and press passes, contact Elisabeth Winkler 

    | elisabeth. winkler @ yahoo.co uk | 0777 399 8642


  6. UK’s first straw bale housing is answer to housing crisis says eco-developer

    March 5, 2015 by Elisabeth

    The seven straw bale homes, Shirehampton, Bristol, under construction
    Image http://www.ianusher.co.uk/

    In the week the Conservatives promise 200,000 new homes, a Bristol developer calls for more homes to be made sustainably, durably and affordably – from straw.

    “We have proven there is a huge demand for housing that does not cost the earth – financially or environmentally,” says Martin Connolly, the eco-developer at the heart of the straw bale housing in Shirehampton, Bristol, the first commercially-available UK straw bale homes.

    “Our homes help people out of fuel poverty because they are insulated so efficiently they need little heating, and are made of natural non-toxic materials.”

    Made to an unique design by Bristol-based designers, ModCell, they are the first UK straw bale homes to be mortgageable, having received BM Trada’s Q mark certification.

    Since the houses were advertised for sale last month, Martin Connolly has been inundated by requests from all over the world to build more straw bale homes.

    Martin Connolly, Bristol green developer and builder

    Martin Connolly’s family company, Connolly and Callaghan, won the 2009 Environmental/Conservation Development of the Year for its solid wooden blocks of flat at Pennywell Green, Bristol. He is also the landlord and sponsor of Hamilton House, a community hub that is helping regenerate the Stokes Croft inner-city area of Bristol.

    Following these successes, Martin scoured the news worldwide for a new green building enterprise to develop.

    He found it on his doorstep – after seeing ModCell featured on TV’s Grand Designs.

    Martin Connolly says: “We were especially impressed that ModCell was the first design we had come across that did not use plaster board which is horribly toxic, but compressed straw instead.”

    Martin Connolly relied on his 30 years experience in building houses to help make the designs more affordable and practical. “We especially wanted to make sure the design would get all the certification necessary to be mortgageable.”

    Benefits of straw bale housing

    The straw bale housing development of seven homes was erected on site in only nine days, thanks to their precision factory-made panels which slot together perfectly. Fitting-out the interior takes a further few months.

    Storm-proof, the homes are so well insulated they need little heating even in winter. The quickness of the build adds to their affordability. And, although as strong as a brick house, unlike brick, straw bale houses have a carbon-negative footprint.

    Grown in fields with the power of the sun, straw absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows and needs very little processing to be turned into bales for building. The compressed straw is fitted between sturdy wood panels.

    Alleviating housing crisis and climate change

    As a social landlord committed to helping homeless people since the 1980s, Martin Connolly is delighted the new straw bale technology will mean future housing can be affordable.

    Connolly & Callaghan has been building and running social housing for nearly thirty years, and provides emergency accommodation and food for homeless people every night of the year in premises in and around Bristol

    “We got into straw bale housing to explore how we could make housing more affordable,” says Martin Connolly. “What was behind it was concern about homelessness and the environment.”

    Martin Connolly says: “In the first instance, we wanted to achieve natural non-toxic house building which sequesters carbon. Hugely insulated and air-tight, the homes produce virtually all the energy they need to run. We are installing rain water harvesting to cut down water and sewage bills, and LED lights, solar panels and an air-source heat pump to reduce light and heating costs. Bath University research shows the running costs can be reduced by as much as 90%. And, as volume of sales increase, we can strive to make the house purchase price even more affordable.”

    Scientifically proven

    The ModCell design benefitted from a partnership with Bath University researchers, government-funded by Innovate UK, which has scientifically proven straw bale as an eco-friendly and robust building material.

    Director of ModCell, Craig White, and director of White Design, the scheme’s architects, says:

    “Working with an enlightened developer like Martin Connolly – whose mission is to deliver triple-bottom line in sustainability – has helped catalyse the means by which we can help deliver sustainable living in low-carbon affordable homes for more people than ever before.”

    Craig White adds: “Personally I think Martin is an extraordinary man – he is a natural social entrepreneur, even before the phrase was coined.”

    Yesterday (4 March 2015), it was announced ModCell had been awarded the prestigious Passive House Component Certification for its latest straw bale building system.

    PassivHaus is the the most rigorous energy standard in the world, reducing the need for heating or cooling to an absolute minimum.

    Because ModCell is made from the carbon capturing, renewable materials timber and straw, the homes actually bank more carbon than is emitted in making them, so it’s good for the planet.

    This new system will be used on Martin’s next developments.

    Next phase – community development

    Planned for June, the next development will build 49 homes in Shirehampton. These will be geared towards a community-led development.

    Benefitting from the Coalition’s localism agenda, new regulations now enable local people to deliver community-led developments.

    This trend is underlined by the Conservative Party’s housing policy which proposes to force councils to free up plots for people who want to build houses.

    One of the reasons houses are so expensive is that developers sell houses at the highest market price they can command.

    Martin Connolly has a radically different approach:

    “Our aim is to support communities to create housing at affordable prices in line with local wages, as ModCell has done for the successful Lilac housing cooperative in Yorkshire.”

    Martin is now looking for landowners and would-be community developers sympathetic to his ethical goals.

    “We want to work with local authorities or landowners in a more co-operative way to deliver affordable housing,” says Martin Connolly.

    Press contact: 0777 399 8642  Connolly and Callaghan  0117 942 0100

    Watch video by Plastic Buddha Productions: First glimpse


  7. Press release

    August 16, 2012 by Elisabeth

    Having been an editor for eight years, I know the frustration of an in-box clogged with dross.

    I write intelligent, timely, news-worthy and evidence-based press releases.

    My press release provides meaty content worthy to be published

    and helps builds a relationship with editors.

    Here are my Dos and Dont’s of writing a press release.

    And an example of one of my press releases.