News and events
January 10, 2018: The National Lottery is investing £400,000 in a project to increase the number of local food growing initiatives across the UK. It has just awarded a grant to Incredible Edible to transform disused urban spaces into gardens where people can work together to grow fresh, healthy food.
After starting out in 2007 as a small group of friends who wanted to improve their local community in Todmordon, West Yorkshire, Incredible Edible has grown from a local food-growing project to 100 groups across the UK and many more around the world. They include Incredible Edible Somerset and Incredible Edible Bristol.
Incredible Edible groups get together to increase local food grown by planting herb gardens and community plots, often in disused spaces. The National Lottery grant will enable them to expand their activities and develop a larger network of groups as well as create a central, online hub for groups to share insights.
Bees still at risk from pesticides
January 5, 2018: A quarter of British honey is contaminated with bee-harming pesticides, according to new research. Astonishing as this sounds, this is less than previous studies have shown but it shows the partial ban on neonicotinoids is not working, say activists.
Neonicotinoids are the world's most widely used insecticides. In 2014, the European Union banned their use on flowering crops after growing evidence showed they caused significant harm to bees. Bees are vital to pollination; indeed it is often said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat.
In recent years, there has been a dramatic drop in bee populations: beekeepers in the United States lost 44% of their colonies in 2015-2016, and in the UK, beekeepers reported losses of almost 17%, according to the British Beekeepers Association.
The levels of neonicotinoids found in the honey are not known to pose any risk to human health. For more information, see this story in The Guardian newspaper.
December 6, 2017: The UK has just squeaked into the top 10 out of 34 countries in this year's Food Sustainability Index (FSI), coming behind France, Japan, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, South Korea and Hungary.
The FSI uses 58 indicators to measure performance across food waste and loss, sustainable agriculture and nutrition. The 34 countries surveyed account for 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the global population.
More details on the FSI here and here for for an executive summary of the Fronting Up report analysing sustainability challenges to UK food.
Sustainable Food Cities YouTube channel
Diet can reverse type 2 diabetes
December 5, 2017: A radical low-calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes, even six years into the disease, a new study by Newcastle and Glasgow Universities has found.
Scientists put 298 adults aged 20–65, who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last six years, on a very low calorie diet of 825–853 calories per day for three to five months.
Nine out of 10 people in the trial who lost 15kg (two-and-a-half stone) or more put their type 2 diabetes into remission. Lead researcher Prof Roy Taylor from Newcastle University, said: "These findings are very exciting. They could revolutionise the way type 2 diabetes is treated."
The number of cases of type 2 diabetes is soaring, as part of the obesity epidemic, and it can lead to serious and life-threatening complications, from blindness and foot amputations to heart and kidney disease.
This is a hugely exciting study confirming the link between reducing blood sugar levels and beating type 2 diabetes. For more information, click here.
December 5, 2017: A new study from the World Health Organisation and City University of London has found that producers of food with high sugar content have many more incentives to maintain sugar levels than cut them.
Professor Corinna Hawkes, director of City's Centre for Food Policy, who led the research, concluded that governments and consumers must take action to make sugary products less appealing to food manufacturers.
The report was commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because of concerns about high levels of sugar consumption.
Health, wellbeing and diabetes: Wells Town Hall
We're really excited about the Health and Wellbeing Event to be held at Wells Town Hall on Sunday March 26. Wells Food Network is participating in this free and fun family-focused day of activities, information, and inspiration.
Guest speaker Dr Campbell Murdoch of Wells Health Centre (and also a member of Wells Food Network) will be giving two talks.
The talks are free but booking for them talks is essential to reserve your place! Contact Health Connections Mendip on 01373 468368 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The event is sponsored by Mendip District Council & Wells City Council, and supported by Wells Health Centre, Zing, Health Connections Mendip and Wells Food Network.
Picture credit, clockwise from top: Three leek circles, by Christine Vaufrey