Planet Pod goes Underground with Growing Underground’s Richard Ballard and Faye Tomson from District Eating
Something is stirring in the tunnels of South London and it isn’t the Northern Line!
Join Amanda and guest co-host Alex Gilbert as they chat deep below London with Richard Ballard, co-founder of Growing Underground and Faye Tomson, MD of Central Eating. Hear how how disused WWII air raid shelter tunnels are being put to good use to grow salad crops organically, efficiently and unbelievably fast. Find out more about how unused heat generated from district heating networks can be used to grow food. These really are examples of Smart Food Production in action!
Richard Ballard has started an agricultural revolution along with business partner Steven Dring in the form of Growing Underground. Located 100ft under the streets of London in disused WW2 Air Raid Shelter, this subterranean urban farm sustainably produces micro-greens using the latest LED technology. The duo are now delivering fresh hyper local produce to retailers and the London wholesale markets.
Sustainably feeding the city from within the city, Richard is obsessed by all things green tech and the future of cities.
Faye Tomson is an Energy and Environmental Engineer with extensive experience working in the fields of district heating, low carbon heat infrastructure projects, and industrial resource efficiency. She has worked on some of the UKs most cutting-edge heat infrastructure projects, as well as with some large-scale industrial food and drink producers, advising on resource efficiency. Faye spent several years working for the UK Government Heat Network Development Unit.
Faye comes from a family of farmers and horticulturalists, so has a lifelong experience of food markets and production. It was this background combined with her previous work experience that led Faye to realise the opportunity for efficiency savings for all stakeholders that can be achieved when the gap between energy use and
food production is bridged.
Faye is an alumni of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and as well as being commercially aware, she also has a desire to maximise the very real social benefits that can be achieved through urban and community farming.
Guest co-host for this episode:
Alex Gilbert is Senior Energy Strategy Manager at TfL as well as being Principal and Director of Clean Growth Ltd. In his role with TfL he is curating, commercialising and delivering the energy projects that will assist in the transformation of TfL – London’s largest and most significant energy user.
HOT NEWS: We are delighted that Planet Pod has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Be The Change Awards 2019. See our short award entry video here.
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Question: What has a banana, your mobile phone and your fridge got in common? Answer: They can all be Fairtrade products!
Listen to our latest pod to find out how the gold in your phone (or even in your fridge) is as important to the Fairtrade movement as the banana in your fruitbowl. Join Amanda in conversation with David Finlay from Fairtrade Foundation and award winning eco chef Tom Hunt as they discuss gold, coffee and bananas…plus Tom’s secret recipe for hot chocolate!
2019 marks the 25th Anniversary of Fairtrade in the UK and presents an opportune moment to re-examine both its need and relevance.
David Finlay is a Supply Chain Manager at Fairtrade Foundation, where he has worked for the last 8 years. In his time with Fairtrade, he has supported a wide range of initiatives particularly with cocoa, coffee and, more recently, gold producers in the Lake Victoria Region of East Africa.
Call to action: Please support Fairtrade by
- Buying Fairtrade certified products
- Taking action in Fairtrade Fortnight (25 Feb – 10 Mar 19) to campaign for fairer prices for cocoa farmers – see below for info and links
Tom Hunt is an award-winning chef, food writer, Guardian columnist, cookbook author and sustainable food expert. He co-owns a small restaurant called Poco in Bristol – awarded the most sustainable restaurant in the U.K. in both 2016 and 2018 – and works as a sustainability consultant. Tom prioritises people and the environment within his work and believes in a fair global food system where our actions benefit the environment.
Fairtrade Fortnight: 25 February – 10 March 2019
For two weeks each year, thousands of individuals, companies and groups across the UK come together to celebrate the people who grow our food, people who live in some of the poorest countries in the world and who are often exploited and badly paid. This year we are focusing on the people – in particular the women – who grow the cocoa in the chocolate we love so much.
FIND OUT MORE AND GET INVOLVED HERE
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Join Amanda and Jim in conversation with Caroline Arnold – Director of Bore Place, and Tom Forward – Education Coordinator at this inspirational sustainable working farm and community in the heart of the Kent Countryside. You can almost taste the freshly pulled leeks, feel the squelch of the mud and smell the breath of the cows as our producer Jim gets well acquainted with the organic dairy herd!
Planet Pod goes Gold in Bristol and talks sustainable food with Jane Stevenson, Sara Venn, Heather Mack, Jennifer Best and Angela Raffle
Q: What can you do with 9 tonnes of Pumpkins? A: Make curry, of course!
This and other questions were on the menu when we sat around the table to chat about sustainable food and how Bristol is going for Gold as a Sustainable Food City with our guests Jane Stevenson – chair of the Bristol Food Network, Sara Venn – head of Incredible Edible Bristol, Jennifer Best – co-Director of award winning Bristol restaurant Poco (winner of most sustainable restaurant of the year 2018), Heather Mack from the sustainable food campaigning organisation Feedback’s and public health expert Dr Angela Raffle from the University of Bristol.
We talk food love and reconnecting with our sense of the seasons – and of course Pumpkins! See below for a mouth-watering recipe.
Bristol Food Network
Sustainable Food Cities (to find a city near you which is a member of the SFC network)
Feedback sustainable food campaign
With thanks to Heather Mack, here is a yummy Pumpkin Curry recipe for using up all those pumpkins!! :
(Dependent on the size of the pumpkin – serves roughly 4).
Jennifer Best is co-owner of Poco, a British seasonal tapas restaurant in the heart of Stokes Croft. Poco’s mission is to be a part of a positive change in the food system and to contribute to a more sustainable future. Ethical sourcing, strict waste management, and staff training and welfare are amongst the company’s forward-thinking policies that made Poco the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s ‘UK’s Sustainable Restaurant of the Year’ in 2016 and 2018.
Jennifer is also on the Advisory Board for Catalyse Change CIC, an organisation that supports girls and young women to become change-makers and leaders in the Green Economy.
Sara Venn runs Incredible Edible Bristol which is part of the worldwide Incredible Edible movement, bringing communities together and supporting a kinder and more connected city using food and growing as a trojan horse to do this. We work with communities, listening to their ideas and supporting them to come into fruition, gently teaching the rabidly disappearing skills of good horticulture and growing as we go, as well as offering other support as the communities need them. Within that we also run a few garden in the city centre from our central team, bringing food to approx 20 city centre spaces, and gently supporting the idea of edible landscapes
Jane Stevenson is Chair of Bristol Food Network, a Community Interest Company which supports, informs and connects individuals, community projects, organisations and businesses who share a vision to transform Bristol into a sustainable food city.
Dr Angela Raffle qualified in medicine in 1980 and became a national and international figure in the world of health screening programmes. in 2008 she joined Transition Bristol volunteers, leading her into Bristol’s food movement, helping with the ‘Who Feeds Bristol’ report, Bristol Food Policy Council and The Community Farm CSA in the Chew Valley, where she is chair of the management committee. She is a big fan of the Transition Movement and the philosophy of ‘start with your self’.
Heather Mack is interested in all aspects of food waste, and sustainable food in Bristol, starting off with FoodCycle she spent a lot of time redistributing and cooking with food that would have gone to waste. She’s now helping the Bristol Food Network plan the community engagement activities to reduce food waste as part of our bid to be a Gold Sustainable Food City. She also works for Feedback, a sustainable food campaigning organisation, running the Gleaning network for the West of England, they rescue fruit and veg that would have been wasted on farmers fields.
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Our host Amanda Carpenter (Achill Management) talks about sustainable food and food production with our expert guests: Paul Newnham, head of the SDG 2 Advocacy Hub, Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer at the Food And Drink Federation and science policy briefs; Julia Porter, National Supply Chain Manager at Bio Bean.
In this episode of Planet Pod our host Amanda talks Green Consumerism with guests Michelle Johnson, Digital Editor at Tempus Magazine and a journalist with a passion for storytelling and the environment, and Daianna Karaian, founder of Thoughtful Works, a social enterprise harnessing creative talent to make things that make a real difference. As well as our usual “good, bad and ugly” slot, we talk about sustainable travel, consumer attitudes, disruptive products and services and teh challenges facing B2C businesses.
(The book which Daianna mentions is Martin Dorey’s No.More.Plastic. See here for details)