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Course Leaflet

Our course programme for ‘Aquaponics’ begins with our first session at Rice Lane City Farm on 7 March 2015.

The programme is free to anyone over the age of 19 not in regular employment and we will provide free materials, refreshments, travel costs and – where necessary – childcare expenses. The courses are being offered as part of a project supported by the European Social Fund, the Skills Funding Agency and the WEA.

You’ll learn the basics of aquaponics – a system of growing plants using the waste products of ornamental or edible fish as a fertiliser. And you’ll learn how to run a project, get valuable experience of working in a team, and acquire a basic understanding of a wide range of useful skills – from construction to record keeping, from plumbing to plant cultivation.

So come along to Rice Lane City Farm on Saturday morning, 7 March, at 10 am to sign up for a course. More sessions will be added to the course programme to meet demand, and we’re planning to run sessions on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout March, April and May.

You can download the course outline here, and download our leaflet here.

Aquaponics North West

Our latest project – developing a pilot aquaponics system at Rice Lane City Farm for the Big Lottery funded Walton and Bootle Community Aquaponics project – has now been completed and we’ve uploaded the project ‘history’. It’s a description of the development of the system with some technical info. Please download it if you’re at all interested.

The Aquaponics System at Rice Lane City Farm

We shall be running courses at Rice Lane starting as soon as possible, and we’ll keep people informed of the progress. If you’re interested in getting involved, please let us know. You can email us on:

or at:

Campaigners claim that David Cameron is trying to ‘face two ways at once’ with his promise—made on Monday 21 July—that all Whitehall departments would buy locally sourced food wherever possible from 2017. According to the World Development Movement, the plan has been presented as part of a package of measures aimed at boosting British agriculture, but conflicts with his active support for an EU-US free trade deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

In negotiations on the deal the EU, backed by Cameron, is pushing the US to abandon schemes which currently allow government departments to prioritise American products. The EU wants to force open procurement practices to tougher international competition—something campaigners fear will water down quality standards on a range of products. Continue reading “Cameron faces both ways” »

NEW YORK TIMES. New York, 11 July 2014. Adding fuel to the debates over the merits of organic food, a comprehensive review of earlier studies found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, vegetables and grains compared with conventionally grown produce, according to Kenneth Chang in the NY Times.

“It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact,” said Carlo Leifert, a professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University in England, who led the research. “If you buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can be sure you have, on average, a higher amount of antioxidants at the same calorie level.”

However, the full findings, to be published next week in the British Journal of Nutrition, stop short of claiming that eating organic produce will lead to better health. Continue reading “Organic is better, say researchers” »

The European Parliament voted last night (15 April 2014) to restrict speculation by banks and hedge funds, to prevent them driving up food prices and fuelling global hunger.

In a vote hailed as a positive step by anti-poverty campaigners, the parliament gave the go-ahead to new regulation aimed at curbing speculation on food prices. Speculation on the global commodity markets has played a major role in causing a series of price spikes over the past six years that have left millions of people unable to afford enough food.

The World Development Movement has welcomed vote, which gives the parliament’s seal of approval to the new regulation agreed by negotiators in January. The campaign group has urged the European Union to ensure the regulation is implemented effectively. It says the UK government’s opposition to strong controls has resulted in loopholes, and it has warned the EU against allowing pressure from the finance industry to further weaken the regulation. Continue reading “EU votes to curb food speculation” »

Fewer crop species are feeding the world than 50 years ago, raising concerns about the resilience of the global food system, according to a report from BBC News on 4 March 2014.

The authors of a recent academic study warn that a loss of diversity means more people are dependent on key crops, leaving them more exposed to harvest failures.

Higher consumption of energy-dense crops with high calorific values can also contribute to a global rise in heart disease and diabetes, they add.

The study appears in the US-based journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) under the title ‘Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security‘. Continue reading “Can the global food system deliver?” »

Food sovereignty is increasingly being seen as a more significant goal than food security among environmentalists and food activists. But what precisely is the difference?

A post by Noah Zerbe, from 30 November 2102, on his Global Food Politics blog, presents a concise and useful analysis. We hope he doesn’t object to our reproducing it in full. Continue reading “Food security vs. food sovereignty” »

WORLD DEVELOPMENT MOVEMENT. London. 15 January 2014. EU negotiators last night agreed to introduce regulation to prevent speculation by banks and hedge funds driving up food prices and exacerbating the global hunger crisis. The new controls will place a limit on the number of food contracts that banks and other finance companies can hold, and will force traders to open their activity to greater public scrutiny.

Anti-poverty campaign group the World Development Movement has hailed the decision as an historic step forward, but said that the UK government’s opposition to tough controls has resulted in serious loopholes in the regulation. In particular, limits will be set at national rather than EU level, which campaigners say risks a regulatory ‘race to the bottom’ as countries could compete to set weaker limits. Continue reading “EU to act on food price speculation” »

WORLD DEVELOPMENT MOVEMENT. London. 13 January 2014. Campaigners have warned that UK negotiators are attempting to scupper agreement on rules to curb food speculation at talks in Brussels tomorrow (Tuesday 14 January), allowing banks to continue betting on food prices and exacerbating global hunger.

Research by the World Development Movement has revealed that UK Treasury ministers have urged finance companies to lobby against the controls. Ministers have held a series of meetings with the finance sector from the start of discussions on the legislation in 2010, encouraging the City to work with the Treasury in opposing the reforms. Continue reading “UK tries to scupper EU food speculation controls” »

NEW YORK TIMES. New York. 1 November 2013. Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when the demand for food is expected to soar, scientists have found.

In a departure from an earlier assessment, the scientists concluded that rising temperatures will have some beneficial effects on crops in some places, but that globally they will make it harder for crops to thrive — perhaps reducing production over all by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century, compared with what it would be without climate change.

And, the scientists say, they are already seeing the harmful effects in some regions. Continue reading “Climate change experts predict rising food prices” »

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