Thursday, August 28, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 28th August 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury :  Proponents of organic food have always maintained that it is better for us because it has more nutrients and no pesticide residue when compared with non-organic produce. This has always been discounted by the large agri-businesses that grow most of our crops, stating that residue is always within safe limits.

A recent study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, conducted by Newcastle University has shown that there are substantially more antioxidants present in organic fruit, vegetables and cereals than in conventionally grown crops. This is the first study to show the differences between the two methods. Antioxidants have been linked to the reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and certain cancers. The increased levels of antioxidants are equivalent to one or two of our daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

Plants produce the antioxidants to help fight pest attacks because they have no protection from chemical sprays and the plants themselves are bred for toughness and not overfed with artificial fertilisers.

One of the main concerns for people who buy organic produce is the pesticide residue that is found in conventionally grown crops - as much as four times more cadmium, a toxic metal, has been found in non-organic than in organic crops.

Organic farming also addresses the significant problems of soil degradation and excess fertiliser use, the runoff from which causes the pollution of many rivers.

This study shows, for the first time, that how we farm does affect the quality of the food we eat.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Farmers Market at the Astor starts on Sat 6th Sept

A new Farmers Market starts in Deal on Saturday 6th September @ The Astor

Lots of interesting local produce and food organised by local cook Hannah Macintyre
  • Margate Smokehouse
  • Little Stour Orchard
  • Sylvia & Terry Fine Kentish Chocolates
  • One in the Oven Bakehouse
  • Berry & Shrub
  • Home Cooked by Hannah
  • Beth’s Mogador
  • Nethergong Nurseries
  • Chris Wedlake Wood Turner
  • Kent Honey
  • Stour Valley Game
  • Lily’s Cake Emporium
  • Delicate Tums BakeryBags of Attitude
The Market is on between 9:30am to 1pm

The market will also  have FREE face painting for the kids, a FREE drumming workshop from 10am for anyone and 2 different types of music to keep you entertained; The Angelo Tristan Band and a ukulele folk band  Gaddzukes

The Deal Farmers Market is on Facebook at

Next dates are:
4th October
1st November
20th December (Christmas Special)
9.30 - 1pm at The Astor Theatre, Stanhope Road, Deal, CT14 6AB

Friday, August 22, 2014



Youngsters and their parents looking for something to do for a couple of hours on Thursday, 28 August are being encouraged to head for Walmer's Hawkshill Freedown.

The parish council has enlisted the popular Green Gang team to organise a picnic with fun activities including a hunt for "mini monsters" (some with six eyes and very ugly!) and a nature quest to find pretty flowers with funny names.

 It's free to join in and participants need to meet at Hawkshill Freedown car park, entrance on the junction of Liverpool Road and Grams Road, Walmer at 12.30pm.

Green Gang leader Steve Walker says the event is set to run for two hours. Families need to bring a picnic and to leave any dogs at home.

For more details, call: White Cliffs Countryside Partnership on 01304 241806

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 21st August 2014

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

 Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint? Do you want to do something to help the environment? The answer could be as simple as not eating red meat, particularly beef.

A recent study has shown that beef requires 28 times more land, 11 times more water and produces 5 times more greenhouse gas emissions than either pork or lamb. When compared with staples such as potatoes, wheat and rice, beef requires 160 times the land and produces 11 times the greenhouse gas.

This is, of course, a very controversial subject, particularly for those climate change deniers who still do not accept that climate change is exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels or the carbon emissions from animals reared for food. Agriculture significantly increases the production of greenhouse gasses particularly from livestock. The huge amounts of grain and water required to raise cattle is also causing a great deal of concern amongst experts worried about the need to feed an extra 2 billion people by the year 2050.

It has been a well known fact for many years that all the people in the world could very easily be fed if the majority of people in the first world countries did not eat a meat based diet. It has also been shown that a diet high in meat and dairy products is very bad for health and the main cause of the obesity epidemic that we see happening now.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A great way to start 2015: Forest Gardening course

Sat 31st Jan- Sun 1st Feb 2015 Forest Gardening Course. KENT

The weekend will be led by Jo Barker and Claire White, both experienced Forest Garden Designers and teachers who have worked on various projects, ranging from Farm scale design and implementation, community projects and home gardens. Examples of their designs will be available on the course.

To Book & more information contact:
Shavanna Barker <>
- See more at:

The course will cover:
• Origins & principles of forest gardening.
• Perennial food growing,
• Design with trees, shrubs and ground cover.
• Implementation of design and aftercare.

This course is open to all, no previous experience is necessary to attend, forest gardening attracts interest from experienced gardeners and professionals as well as newcomers. There will be practical sessions (mulching) and design exercises. We will be outdoors for much of the course and might be visiting other sites, if you have a disability that you think may affect your ability to attend the course, please contact us before booking to discuss how you can be accommodated.

By the end of the course you will have a basic knowledge of the ideas and principles of forest gardening as well as understanding some of the techniques necessary to put the theory into practice.

Monday, August 18, 2014

White Cliffs Walking Festival starts on Thursday 21st

The White Cliffs Walking Festival starts this Thursday 21st August and runs to 27th August. Lots of walks (32 in all) for every ability around our lovely countryside, shoreline and history. 

Full details at the White Cliffs Walking Festival website

Friday, August 15, 2014

Deal Station Garden gets a new apple tree....

You may know that a few months ago, our Crab Apple Tree that we planted in the waste land area in the car park of Deal Rail Station was vandalised.

We had planted as part of our pop-up meadow to commemorate the outbreak of WW1 and to brighten up a neglected part of our town.

We were obviously very disappointed by this. However local resident Norma and especially her son Lance were hopping mad. Lance took this up with the managers of his employer Serco in Canterbury and asked if they could help.

Today we saw the result, as we took their donation of a five year old tree with professional tree guard with a free install from three members of serco Canterbury David, Mick and Steve. It was great to see Norma out to inspect their great work.

David Austin, Grounds Manager for Serco, said

“The Serco team in Canterbury are proud to be supporting a project that has seen the transformation of a wasteland into a vibrant poppy meadow. This year is particularly poignant as the country marks the centenary of the start of WWI. We hope that the gesture of a replacement crab apple tree will restore the site to its full glory for the local community and visitors to enjoy.” 

 We are very grateful for the support from Serco and especially to Lance and Norma who felt so passionate about what we were trying to achieve. A great example real community garden in action

Thank also to Emily from the EKM for the photo ....

The tree is a Malus Ischonoskii for the tree geeks :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 14th August 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury The wheat harvest this year will be an exceptional one. This will be some consolation for the past two years when results were dismal because of the changing weather conditions. Our very mild, wet winter, early spring and long summer have produced ideal conditions for our farmers as far as wheat is concerned but we are far from self-sufficient in food production.

The power of the supermarkets has caused us all to be able to buy imported fruits and vegetables and to want to eat foods that were not native to this country and couldn’t be grown here because of our climate.

Traditional crops such as sprouts, cauliflowers and cabbages have shown a decrease in sales because people have had the choice of other, more exotic, vegetables brought from overseas, often by air, by the supermarkets. Where all fruit and vegetables were seasonal at one time, now everything is more or less available all year round with imports, no matter how many miles they have travelled to reach us.

Now things are changing rapidly and much can be produced here but we are not fulfilling our potential to grow these crops in this country. We have some of the best growing conditions in the world with good soil, water and lots of light but we are not making the most of them. If we are to be able to feed everyone we must start to grow crops which cope with the weather that will come our way in the future.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Guerrilla Knitters strike at Guerrilla Garden

Our Poems on the Platforms at  Deal Station (part of our community garden and pop-up Poppy Meadows) were enhanced this week with a spot of local Guerrilla Knitting with our poems adorned with beautiful knitted and crocheted Poppies.

It is a lovely example how communities build upon themselves to create something of real value.

More example of the Guerrilla Knitters work can be seen in Old Town where knitted poppies and poems are in people's windows.

Thank you Knitters !

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 7th August 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury The race to frack for shale gas in our green and pleasant land is hotting up! Our ‘greenest government ever’ has opened the bidding for licences to extract shale gas over vast areas of the UK. We are told that there are mega amounts of gas beneath our feet – but we have no idea whether we will be able to extract it in a safe and viable manner.

There is overwhelming opposition to the government’s plans for shale gas extraction. This was evident during an official consultation by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). However, this did not stop ministers giving the go-ahead for shale gas drilling which comprises a comprehensive exploration of the UK, including our national parks if it is thought necessary by communities’ secretary Eric Pickles.

Methane gas, which is produced by fracking, is not a ‘green’ alternative; it is, in fact, 70 times more harmful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. We all know that we cannot safely burn even one third of the world’s proven fossil fuel store without exacerbating the effects of climate change so why look for new deposits? It is far better for us to invest in all the different forms of renewable energy available to us now and move towards a cleaner, low carbon society. Our society is one of waste. We waste energy as much as we waste food. Our first steps now should be a drive towards energy efficiency and then an expansion of renewable energy.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Deal Beach Clean 1st August

On the Deal Beach Clean today, this time down at the Sandown end of the beach,  our 24 volunteers managed to collect a massive 16 sacks of rubbish weighing 58.2kgs in about 1 and half hours.

A lot of anglers discarded  fishing line was found as well as the usual random mixture.

 At start of the beach clean we were accompanied by one of the local Seals

A big thank you to all our great volunteers and to Wendy our beach warden who will be collating all the data we recorded for the Marine Conservation Society