Friday, August 31, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 29th Aug 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: It seems as if food shortages are the topic of the moment, if for very different reasons. We read about the impending world food crisis due to this year's drought and we read about the creation of food banks in our own country to provide emergency, short term aid for those in need.

It is difficult to equate these situations with modern society - this is 2012, after all, surely we have ways to avoid these crises? It seems not. The growth of biofuels will exacerbate the food crisis in Africa and the USA and, strange though it may seem, deregulation of the finance industry is to blame, in the long term, for creating a situation where people in the UK find themselves unable to feed their children.

A society has been created where greed is good, dishonesty is ignored and there is no payback for plunging your country into recession. Many hardworking people have found themselves suddenly, out of the blue, out of a job. Companies have gone into liquidation, factories have closed or worse - their owners have moved the factory overseas where wages are much lower and they can make much more profit.

Our government must share some of the blame. Instead of investment in new, green industries which would create many long term jobs, it continues with austerity measures which are clearly not working. Add to this, changes to the benefit system which seem to penalise those who need help the most and society suffers.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Chocolution has started....

Deal’s own local community chocolatier, ‘Chocolution’, is launching a real chocolate bar this week with one ‘Willie Wonka’ style Golden Ticket hidden amongst the limited first edition.

The ‘Golden Ticket’ for the lucky purchaser will get them free entry into the fabulous Smugglers Records’ Festival which starts this coming weekend.

Chocolution's founder Kieran Renihan is active supporter of Deal With It and has developed his social business by building on it ethical and sustainable foundations:

He has direct trade relationship with Cocao producers in Ecuador, sells direct to the consumer or thru local independent Deal shops, creates his wares in pop-up kitchens in churches and schools and does lots of educational work in schools on what real chocolate is and where it comes from.

Will from Smugglers with Kieran
Kieran also prides himself on the raw quality of his chocolate which means little added fat but retaining its healthy minerals.

He hopes later in the year to use his skills to inspire local unemployed people in the possibilities of a chocolate future.

The limited edition bars are available at Peppers, Allotment, Borough Wines, Astor and the Black Douglas

 For further information please see Chocolution’s website at

For more information on this week's Smugglers Records’ Festival see

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd Aug 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:We must all be aware of the famine that is imminent in west Africa. The lives of some 18 million people are being threatened by high food prices caused by poor harvests. The USA is suffering the worst drought in 50 years which will result in poor crop yields, leading to even greater price increases in the weeks to come.

Governments have been cautious in attributing the increasing frequency of drought to climate change but recent studies show that this is ever more likely. Unfortunately, in our quest to mitigate these effects, we have gone ahead with growing crops to use as biofuels. Here in the UK, in the European Union and in the USA, we have salved our consciences by filling our cars with fuel partly manufactured from crops. It is disastrous for small farmers in developing countries who are finding themselves dispossessed of their land by European companies anxious to grow so called ‘green fuels’ so that we can drive around.

Biofuels require land to be cleared and nitrogen fertilisers to be used and when these effects are taken into account, they produce more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels.

We should have been encouraging a move towards more fuel efficient vehicles, encouraging people to use public transport and promoting walking and cycling, both for health benefits and for the planet.

It is troubling to realise that sometimes a solution for one problem can be the cause of a much more regrettable one.

Friday, August 17, 2012

East Kent Transition Gathering 30th Sept

East Kent Transition Gathering

Local Transition Groups around East Kent are booming at the present with a revitalised group in Canterbury, Whitstable, Faversham, Hythe, Tenterten and Deal. Are joined with a buzz from colleagues in Folkestone and Thanet.

The East Kent gathering is there to harness and share the energy our groups are creating - all welcome whether you are involved in your local group or not,  thinking of setting a transition group up in your own community or just what to find out what its all about

Sunday 30th September 2pm to 6pm, Canterbury Christ Church University, in the Augustine House main hall, Canterbury

More info to come

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Permaculture at Rippledown

Places are still available on Rippledown's INTRODUCTION TO PERMACULTURE course 7-9th September and a full PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE taking place over four weekends this autumn and winter. 

Led by Steve Charter

Go to for more information and to book

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 16th August 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
 One of the most important things about living in a low-carbon economy will be the emphasis on localism. To cut down on carbon emissions we will need to produce as many items as possible as close to our towns and cities as possible.

An exciting example of how productive a small organic farm can be is at the foot of the Black Mountains in Wales and shows just how much can be achieved on 1½ acres. The farmer calls his system high biodiversity, low-carbon polyculture – working with nature, not trying to control it. A resilient system like this can survive peak oil and climate change.

Rotation of crops is very important. It helps to improve soil structure and fertility because each crop works the soil differently. It is vital to interfere with the soil as little as possible. A forest garden mimics natural woodland with different crops growing at different light levels within layers. Pests are dealt with by attracting predator insects and employing ducks to eat slugs.

Many fruits and vegetables are grown in this system – to the tune of £25,000 worth per year and most of it is sold within five miles of the farm.

We can start this now by buying our food from local producers as far as possible or, even better, growing our own. It may have become fashionable in recent years to bang on about growing your own food but it is the most satisfying experience to eat crops that you have grown yourself!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Walmer was buzzing ...

Elvin  & Dave from Major Bee Hives
It was good to see our colleagues from Dover Beekeepers on 'Picnic on the Green' in Walmer on Saturday.

They were doing a roaring trade with local honey and the live bees just fascinated folk.

Several people have asked us for more information on where they can get local honey on a regular basis and how to get started on Bee keeping.

Peppers have local Honey and HoneyComb from Deal/Kingsdown from Elvin.

The local Dover BeeKeepers Association runs courses for beginners see their website for details

Equipment can be sourced (as well as  honey)  from Major Bee Hives who are based in Sandwich
Address: Unit 5, Building 5, Sandwich Industrial Estate, CT13 9LY
Mobile: 07742 113169

The Deal With It stall was quite busy... but we were not buzzing :)

Thank you to Harold Wild at the Walmer Web for use of his photos

Friday, August 10, 2012

Walmer Picnic on the Green Sat 11th Aug

This year's Walmer Picnic on the Green this Saturday 11th August from 1pm looks likes being one of the greenest - As well Deal With It Stall, Deal Fairtarde, East Kent FOE we have our colleagues from Dover Beekeepers coming down.   Looks like being sweet afternoon...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd August 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury

During only four days in July this year, nearly the whole surface layer of ice over Greenland melted. This is faster than at any time since satellite data collection started. The most immediate effect of this melting is, of course, sea level rise which could be catastrophic for some countries. About one-fifth of the annual sea level rise can be attributed to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Further effects of the melting ice mean that there is more open water which absorbs more radiation so the oceans continue to get warmer.

There is a natural cycle of warming and cooling in the North Atlantic which is responsible for the varying amounts of Arctic ice and which repeats every 65 to 80 years. Since the 1970s it has been in a warming phase. Scientists have been able to attribute only 30% of the Arctic ice loss to this warming and the conclusion must be that the remaining 70% is due to man made climate change. This has been shown in a new study led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading.

The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is not only worrying for its own sake but for the fact that resource hungry nations are waiting to exploit its vast mineral deposits. This exploitation will go hand in hand with environmental degradation unless measures are taken to ensure that any mining is done in a sensitive and sustainable way