Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Age of Stupid Screening

We are going to be holding the Darlington premier of the film 'The Age of Stupid' on the 1st of December. The screening will be for specially invited guests. There will be an opportunity to have discussion afterwards.
More Details will follow once everything is confirmed.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Thank you

We received this email from Richard Hines from Friends of the Earth.

Dear Food Chain Campaigner,
On behalf of all the food team I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who got involved with last month’s Food Chain Fortnight. We’ve now exceeded our target number of signatures for Early Day Motion 845 – we’re up to 257 – so you can all give yourselves a big pat on the back for a successful 6 months of campaigning.

On the subject of Early Day Motion 845, it will close on Wednesday 18th November – so if you’ve still got any signed postcards please send them to the Luton address on the back of the card as soon as possible. We’ll make sure that any sent on to MPs after the 18th will have an appropriate cover letter with them, but it would be best to get them out before then.

But back to the Food Chain Fortnight. We’ve set up a gallery of Food Chain Fortnight photos, featuring piƱata, postcards and much more. Take a look at And please remember to send us any more photos your own group has taken.

We’re also after local press coverage from the fortnight, and feedback forms. We need to hear what worked and what didn’t to help make sure that the plans for 2010 work for you. The feedback form is available here:

So what’s next for the Food Chain Campaign? This year has been a brilliant start, and we’ve gone from almost zero knowledge of the issue in Westminster to having a herd of supportive MPs behind us. But we’ve still got a long way to go before our solutions become law. We’re going to have to build support for actual legislation to fix the food chain – from both MPs and the political candidates waiting in the wings. We also want to do much more to get key community figures – particularly farmers – on board. And we’re putting lots of thought into how we could show people how they fit into the food chain themselves, and what that means for them and their families.

It’s going to be a very exciting 2010 for the Food Chain Campaign!

I’ll be in touch again soon with more campaign updates.

Best wishes


Richard Hines
Food Team - Friends of the Earth

Saturday, 17 October 2009

October Meeting

Items we talked about at our recent meeting.
Age of Stupid It is hoped the film will be shown in Middlesbrough, Redcar, Hartlepool, Stockton & Darlington. We are looking to put on a screening of this film in the last week of November.

Renewables Dawn is writing a report and when completed will send out to all. Dawn will pass on the original questions asked by the group to Steve to see if he can give us the answers.

Market Success Thanks to all who helped, we got a total of 151 Fix the Food Chain post cards, 50 signatures for the market on how they recycle, 20 Get Serious cards and book sales total £10.00. Mary, Kendra, Lou and James presented all the Food Chain cards to Alan Milburn. A photographer from the Northern Echo was there and it appeared in this week’s paper and can be seen on the Northern Echo blog.

Market Stall This Saturday 17th from 9.30 – 4.00 for the Get Serious campaign. Help is required to run the stall please can you contact Kendra to let her know if you can make it.

Allotment The day of the launch was very well attended and the mayor Jim Ruck planted a plum tree which had been donated by Robin Blair. After the successful launch of the site at Lingfield Point we had our first steering group meeting at the Dolphin centre which 7 of us attended. The charge for the site was set at £5 subscription and £1 per bag. We are continuing to look for local companies to come on board in support of the scheme.

Get Serious A letter that is being sent to Ada Burns, the letter explains why we are running the Get Serious campaign and how we make help the council reduce their CO2 emissions. Alan has also written 4 questions which we will ask at the next full council meeting.

Any Other Business We plan to have a revisit to the Wades recycling plant in the New Year to see how they are doing now it is up and running. We now have a copy of Sustainable Energy Without Hot Air by David JC MacKay, if you wish to borrow the book please contact Mary.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Report of our meeting with Darlington MP Alan Milburn

On Thursday 8th October, members of Darlington Friends of the Earth led by group co-ordinator Kendra Ullyart met with the town’s MP Alan Milburn to get his support for the Fix the Food-chain campaign. Like many people we have spoken to during this campaign, Mr Milburn was struck by the statistic from the UN Food and Agriculture Association that “the meat and dairy industry produces more climate-changing emissions than every plane, train and car on the planet - 18% of the global total.” A photographer from the Northern Echo was present to capture the moment when postcards signed by Darlington residents were given to Mr Milburn, who expressed an interest in planet-friendly farming and ways of making the shift to a low-carbon economy. Friends of the Earth literature on the Get Serious on C02 campaign was also presented to Mr Milburn, who agreed to convey our message on planet-friendly farming to the Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Food festival Stall

On the stall at the Food Festival last weekend we managed to collect over 150 postcards for our Food Chain campaign and 16 postcards for the Get Serious campaign. A great achievement despite the weather and location in the indoor market. Thanks to all who helped out and of course those that signed our cards.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Darlington Food Festival

The group have got a stall at the market this weekend Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd October. The group is using the Food Chain campaign as the main focus for the stall. The Stall is located in the Indoor Market. There is also a comments sheet for Darlington Markets green credentials and asking people for any suggestions to improve their goals.

Allotment Group

An event at Lingfield Point was held on 19th September for people interested in the new Gro- Zone. The Mayor of Darlington planted a Plum tree to commemorate the start of this exciting project. People were able to sign up and were given the opportunity to join a steering group, which held its first meeting yesterday. The Allotments group have also secured some funding for the project which is fantastic. The project will encourage local community interaction and give people the opportunity to grow their own food.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

At the next meeting we have a guest speaker, Alastair Mackenzie from Sadberge Parish Council. He has led a campaign to get people to monitor their energy use – they achieve this by using a power monitor (supplied by Alastair) – his talk will explain the project and outline its success in terms of lower energy use/costs for those who took part.

Friday, 17 July 2009

June and July meetings

At the meeting in June we were joined by Rob from Middlesbrough FoE. We discussed renewable energy, in particular wind energy from wind turbines. A subgroup has been formed to get information about windfarms and wind energy.
The Allotment subgroup fed back to the main group about developments and a possible site for areas to grow vegetables in Darlington could be made available at the site of the former Patton and Baldwins site which could use the large grow bag idea. Some questionnaires have gone out to allotment holders and interested potential allotment holders.
The group had a stall at the community carnival in Stanhope park. The 'Get Serious' campaign was to be introduced and 100 postcards were signed for the 'Food Chain' Campaign. We also have some new recruits from the stall and we were joined by them at the July meeting.
In September we hope to hold a screening of the film 'Age of Stupid' and environmental film which has a very real and thought provoking story to tell about the way our planet is changing.
Jim has continued to raise our funds through the sale of secondhand books. These are on sale on our stalls.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Market Stall

On Saturday 23rd May we had a market stall in Darlington. We were working on the new national campaign - Food chain.
The meat and dairy industry produces more climate changing emissions than all the planes, cars and lorries on the planet. There is a hidden chain that links animals in British factory farms to rainforest destruction in south America. We are asking the government to change this for more planet friendly farming. We asked people to show their support and sign postcards that we would send to our local MP. Together we will help to fix the food chain.

Film screening of Age of Stupid

Kendra and Sue attended Middlesbrough FoE group screening of The Age of Stupid on Friday 22nd May. This was a simultaneous screening showing in various locations throughout the UK and there was also live web chat afterwards. The film was very thought provoking and showed a number of events that have happened on the planet to show that we are heading towards a climate crash and the tipping point where it will be too late to do anything about the damage that we humans have inflicted on the planet is becoming critically closer.
Our group hopes to have a screening of this important film very soon. A worldwide launch and simultaneous screening will be happening in September which is possibly when we will have ours. More information will be posted once available

Friday, 22 May 2009

Market Stall

We are having a market stall on 23rd of May in the town centre, 9-4pm. Please come along to support our stall and help out if you can. We will be focusing on the new FoE Food Chain campaign. More information can be found about this campaign on the FoE website, click on the link above.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

May Meeting

We discussed how well the green fair stall was, and it was a great success. Our very large grow bag got a lot of interest and 25-30 people signed up to say that they were interested in the idea. The grow bag went to a worthy cause after we had finished with it, the 'Speaking-Up in Darlington Group' which is for Adults with learning disabilities.

Our group have been invited to have a stall at the community carnival in Stanhope Park in Darlington in June, more details of dates etc to follow.

Kendra is attending the Northern Gathering in Manchester this weekend.

We are going to have a stall on Saturday 23rd of May in Darlington town centre market, any members who can spare some time on the day are asked to come along and help out, the stall will be from 9am - 4pm. We will have the food chain campaign to promote at the market as well as other foe related material.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The Green Fair

Here are some photos from our stall at the recent green fair in South Park, Darlington. The stall was a great success with food comparison shopping basket - locally bought vegetables from the indoor market compared with supermarket bought vegetables, the local basket had hardly any packaging (paper bag), was cheaper and had less food miles than that of the supermarket basket. We also highlighted growing food in large bags, the type that building materials come in. A lot of interest was generated in the possible scheme. We also had some photographs of bin bags out for collection and by explaining how people can minimises their waste this amount going to landfill can be reduced, a leaflet had been produced by the group to highlight waste minimisation tips and visitors were encouraged to leave us their tips and a prize was given to the most original idea. And we got some new members which was great.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

April Meeting

The green fair preparations were discussed.

Allotment group are having a meeting as part of an allotment steering group and a questionnaire is being drafted up to send out to people on the Darlington allotment waiting list.

Mary has created and printed a waste minimization leaflet which will be available for the green fair.

The Darlington FoE recruitment leaflet has been updated so that it includes our group of the year award and details of the blog and website.

We will have a market stall on Saturday 23rd of May.

The FoE Northern Gathering is in Manchester on 16th & 17th May, please let Kendra know if you would like to go.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Green Fair

Visit our stall ar the Green fair in South Park Darlington 12-4pm

Monday, 13 April 2009

Green Fair

Come along to visit our stall @ the Green Fair.
19th April 12-4pm
South Park

March Meeting

At the March meeting the group discussed a number of issues.

The new Friends of the Earth campaign that the group agreed that we would focus on is about the Food Chain. This campaign is aimed at protecting biodiversity and reducing Co2 emissions from the production of soy based feeds for UK livestock. The campaign will aim to persuade the government to change the way how livestock is fed. More information can be found on the Foe website.

The Green Fair which is being held in South Park, Darlington on April 19th 12-4pm. Our group has got a stall at the fair, we will be raising issues such as waste minimization - food and packaging, showing how much rubbish families throw away and raising awareness of current Foe campaigns.

Possible Darlington allotment sites were discussed. A group have formed who will be working with the council to promote and show the need for more sites to be made available, especially in the current credit crunch where people would like to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

Jim is continuing to sell books for our funds and has raised £57 so far.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

9th February Meeting

Areas that were discussed - Textile recycling from charity shops, Maggie has been doing some research into this area, she has also highlighted the plight of the Mayor's Charity shop which is earmarked for closure by the council in budget cuts.
We had a group discussion on waste minimisation - packaging and food waste, these ideas would be worked on to be used at the Green Fair on April 19th.
Peter has done research on allotments and land share schemes, a large number of people in Darlington are on a list for an allotment, we see an opportunity to work with the council to make sites available for people to grow their own food.
We spoke about the Foe national campaign on a Renewable Energy Revolution.

Next meeting will be expanding on the work carried out last meeting.

New members welcome.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Jims Book Sales

Jim has kindly offered to raise funds for our group by selling unwanted text books. He has been very successful and has so far managed to raise £51. The group is very grateful for all of his efforts. If any members have any books that may be of interest to jim please contact him via email.