Thursday, January 30, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 30th January 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
Spare a thought this week for the poor people in Somerset and many others who are still living with their homes flooded, relying on the emergency services to transport children to school and themselves to work and back. We are so lucky here to have escaped the worst that nature has to offer.

Many years of land mismanagement has caused much of the misery that people are living with now. We are told that flood defences are all about pouring concrete to defend buildings that should not have been built on a flood plain in the first place. No mention is made of the policies that have caused all the excess water to flood in the beginning.

The Common Agricultural policy (CAP) has encouraged farmers to dig out trees and hedges, dig more drains and put more and bigger sheep onto the land. The sheep’s hooves compact the land, allowing water to pour off rather than sinking in and there are no tree roots to conduct the water into the ground. Full reforestation could reduce flooding peaks downstream by up to 50% - really good news for the people living on the banks of the river Severn, for example, who suffer almost endless floods.

Locally, residents living near the new development at Sholden have already reported flooded gardens because the builders have not had adequate drainage plans in place. How terrible that the builders’ profits may be reduced if they have these plans in place! Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gleaning at Broadstairs this week ...

We have received the following request and so are passing it on in case you want to be involved. Apologies for the short notice.

Sat 1st Feb there is a "gleaning" day in Broadstairs where hopefully tonnes of brassicas will be picked, that would otherwise have been destroyed or wasted. All the food picked will be going to charities dealing with food poverty via FairShare in London.

If you want to get involved please contact  as soon as possible.

For further info:!/Feeding5K or

Thanks to Transition Whitstable for this .....

Sunday, January 26, 2014

EU Directive on seeds

Thank you very much for getting in touch with me about the EU Plant Reproductive Material Law and for your very useful comments.  As you are aware, the European Commission wants to replace the twelve Directives currently in force with a Regulation on seeds and cuttings. I believe this is a threat to biodiversity and food production, as well as to gardeners small breeders. It is designed for the benefit of the multinational seed industry.

This proposal was made in May and it was debated in the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of the European Parliament before Christmas – the lead committee on this issue. The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee also submitted an opinion on the proposal.
This is a brief update on developments. You will be pleased to hear that my parliamentary group, Greens/European Free Alliance (EFA),  have put in amendments calling for the following:

 -          narrowing the scope so it does not include farmers and gardeners who exchange seeds for non-commercial use;
-           for those varieties of seeds that have only a small market share to be exempt from any compulsory registration requirement. This would remove about 100 species from the regulation;
-           to change the Distinctness from other exiting varieties, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) criteria that govern the EU's common catalogue so that they are compatible with organic, open pollinated and locally grown seeds;
-           expand the 'Niche Market' exemption to include EU small farmers and small breeders;
-           to change the proposed regulation into a directive that would allow more flexibility at a national level.

Over 1,300 amendments have been tabled. There will be a vote in the Environment Committee on the 30th of January and in the Agriculture Committee on the 18th of February. The majority of political groups reject the proposal for different reasons and are  looking at the best way to proceed. The final votes will be in the full parliament plenary session in March or April.

Once again, I thank you for your comments and will keep you updated on developments. In the meantime you might want to sign the Global Citizens' Declaration for Seed Freedom and Food Democracy here -
Best wishes
Jill Evans MEP
Plaid Cymru

Friday, January 24, 2014

Calyx Films by the Sea

Calyx Films by the Sea

Our mission is to share knowledge about living more sustainable lives. We'd love for you to come and see the Pines Calyx - Europe's first zero-carbon event space and join us for an informal gathering to watch a film, eat some popcorn and perhaps have a chat and a drink afterwards.

Confirmed screenings for 2014:

7.30pm Thursday 20th March - Occupy Love

11am & 7.30pm Wednesday 9th April – Project Wild Thing

7.30pm Wednesday 7th May – Vanishing of the Bees

7.30pm Wednesday 8th October – No Impact Man

All screenings are FREE. Donations welcomed to cover license fees.

Licensed bar available. FREE popcorn.

Inside an incredible building in a stunning location. All films max. 90 mins.

Contact to reserve a seat

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Deal's Seedy Saturday 1st March - Landmark Community Garden

We have our first Seedy Saturday seed and plant swap at the Landmark Community Garden on Sat 1st March 11am-3pm (ish)

Please bring your seeds, half opened packets, cuttings ready to swap ... spring is on its way (honest)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Launching on Friday 7th March 2014, the Deal Community Farmers’ Market promises to be an exciting new market for Deal. Based in the Landmark Centre, on the first Friday of every month, from 9-1pm.

The aim is to help local people take ownership of their food and where it comes from. This will include fresh produce, high quality artisan food/drink and a small range of local crafts - all from local producers, in Deal and within a 30 mile radius.

The Landmark Centre provides an indoor High Street Location, enabling the market to operate all year, without rain dampening events! There is plenty of parking available in the main town car parks too. Refreshments will be available from the Spires Cafe with a comfy seating area for enjoying those fresh treats with a hot tea/coffee.

As we want to give something extra back to the local community, we will support a different local Charity every month and we will be running a raffle/tombola with donation tins dotted around the market. We are also looking for local groups who would be interested in offering children’s activities, like cake decorating and produce tasting.

Originally thought up by Christine Tonks, who runs the local pet treat business, Presents For Paws. “After attending a range of events last summer, I realised Deal was in true need of a large and varied Farmers’ Market to help the local residents choose high quality items from their local producers. I look forward to greeting you all at the grand opening, on Friday the 7th March, 9-1pm, with a fantastically diverse range of local produce and a few surprises along the way!"

The market has now gained new supporters who will volunteer their time both on the day and with all aspects of marketing and local awareness. This includes the full support of the Kent Farmers’ Market Association, who will be helping ensure the market is of a high standard and fits into the Deal town ethos, particularly since winning the Telegraphs “High Street Of The Year” Award.

For any stall-holder/charity enquiries, please contact the Market Manager at or call 07967 500 100.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Deal Community Farmers Market - 7th March Landmark

A new Community Farmer's Market is starting Deal on Friday 7th March at Landmark Community Centre between 9-1pm

First Friday of every month...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 16th January 2014

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

Well, it certainly has been a wild New Year! We have been so lucky in our little corner of Kent when compared with other areas and the terrible floods that people are experiencing. Although it has been a beautiful, cold and sunny day today the forecast tells us there is more stormy weather to come.

It seems that the Prime Minister is keen to blame the current bad weather on climate change, incurring disagreement from some of his fellow Tories and particularly from his Environment Secretary, Owen Patterson. There’s a surprise! Perhaps the PM would like to take action on climate change but is not supported by the rest of the party.

Experts are reluctant to lay the blame on climate change for the extremes of weather around the globe but many are coming to the conclusion that our continuing carbon emissions are exacerbating these effects.

We continue to use energy produced from the burning of fossil fuels with little attempt to reduce our use. I’m sure we have all seen lights burning in rooms and computers switched on when no-one is working. These are only the obvious tip of the iceberg where energy waste is concerned. Most waste occurs through badly built and badly insulated buildings, energy that could easily be saved and many jobs created.

Now the threat of fracking rears its head. Not only will it destroy our countryside but it will add to our carbon emissions when we burn the gas. Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Deal Station Garden - Planning meeting 9th Jan

We are looking to expand the Deal Station Garden this year plus we would like get at least one Community Garden project off the ground elsewhere in the town.

There will be a planning meeting on Sunday 9th January at 3pm at Sarah & Alan's - 117 London Road, Deal to discuss our plans for 2014.

If you cannot make the meeting  but want to be involved at either of  Community Garden projects at the Station or the Landmark please email or ring 01304 372673

Big Garden Birdwatch 2014

Count the wildlife that's counting on you.

Bird populations are a great indicator of the health of the countryside. That's why it's so important to take part in surveys like the Big Garden Birdwatch to keep an eye on the ups and downs of the wildlife where we live.

All you need to do is spend an hour over the weekend of 25-26 January counting the birds in your garden. It's that simple!

The more people involved, the more we can learn. So, grab a cuppa and together we can all help to give nature a home.

For more info and to register, please visit

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gleaning Coordinator needed for Kent ...

Dear Kent friends and networks,

We have an exciting new position for a Kent gleaning coordinator. Please spread the word - thanks! Do let me know if you've shared.

The Gleaning Network are recruiting!

We need your help to grow gleaning into a strong national movement, saving literally tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables from going to waste on UK farms, and donating this fresh nutritious food to local food redistribution charities like FareShare.

We're looking for three new regional Gleaning Coordinators to join our growing team, and propel gleaning forward in 2014! The roles are in Kent, Manchester and Cambridge. Help save tonnes of food from going to waste on UK farms for charity, and be a pioneer in this new national movement! You’ll be masterminding behind the scenes logistics, dealing with media, and getting your hands dirty in the fields, helping harvest that tasty produce.

For more details about the voluntary roles, and on how to apply, see our job ads here:

DEADLINE: 20th January

Please spread the word far and wide, and help us find our dream gleaner! Perhaps it could be you?
2014 looks like it's going to be a massive year for gleaning - we'll keep you all posted when a gleaning day comes up near you!

Viva la Glean Revolution!

All the best,

What is Gleaning?
Gleaning Network UK, recently featured on River Cottage, the Guardian, BBC Radio 4's Food Programme and Al Jazeera, and organised by Tristram Stuart and Feeding the 5,000, is an exciting new initiative to save the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year. Farmers across the country often have no choice but to leave tonnes of their crops unharvested and get ploughed back in the soil. These crops often cannot reach the market either because they fail to meet the retail strict cosmetic standards or because of overproduction.
We coordinate teams of volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage this fresh, nutritious food and direct it to those that need it most, such as homeless hostels and charities. To date, we have salvaged numerous  tonnes of excellent unmarketable British produce, including apples, cabbages, cauliflowers, spring greens and kale, and redistributed them to charities such as FareShare and the Best Before Project. Here's some more info, our video, and pictures of our last gleaning day.

The massive potential for gleaning in the UK is illustrated by the US; for example, the Society of St Andrews has saved more than 164 million pounds of food for America's hungry since its inception in 1988, saved by over 400,000 volunteers. The UK movement is gathering pace, and we're rapidly expanding into a national network.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Transition 2 Film now free online...

The Transition Movement have just made available free to view online their second film, In Transition 2.0.

This film is an inspirational immersion in the Transition movement, gathering stories from around the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. There are stories of communities printing their own money, growing food, localising their economies and setting up community power stations.

Transition is an idea that has gone viral, a social experiment that is about responding to uncertain times with solutions and optimism. In a world of increasing uncertainty, here is a story of hope, ingenuity and the power of growing vegetables in unexpected places.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Deal High Street tops poll

Deal High Street has won the Daily Telegraph's 'High Street of Year' award. 

Deal has been chosen over 500 other entrants. A great testament to the work of the Town Team and all those shopkeepers on the High Street who have struggled to make a livelihood since the recession started

Deal With It is especially glad that the town's work has been acknowledged. Our Community Garden project at the Landmark is now in its second year has had great support from Maxton's on the high street.

We greatly appreciate the generously of Deal's independent shops & Cafes on the high street who take our posters for our events.

full details at

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd January 2014

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

We continue to hear about the amount of food that is wasted in our modern world. We also continue to hear about the growth of Food Banks around the country and it is difficult to accept that so much food is thrown away when so many people don’t have any.

Of course, it is not only here that food is wasted; several studies have shown that between one third and one half of all food produced in the world is thrown away and it has been estimated that this amounts to 1.2 – 2 billion tonnes each year.

We all know that that there are many people worldwide who are malnourished but still food is wasted. Not only is this a scandal but the global carbon footprint of food waste is 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. It is now imperative that we lower our carbon emissions if we are to have any chance to slow down the climate change that is already happening. It has taken a long time for governments and organisations to realise how serious the problem is but at last action is being taken in Europe and around the world.

It is very strange but there is a majority of people in all walks that think food packaging waste is a greater danger than food waste itself. After all, the packaging has served its purpose, preserved the food and is mostly recycled but perfectly good food, produced at great cost, is just thrown away.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.