Badger cull begins

A very sad day…………..the badger cull has begun. I’ve followed this emotive issue through all the high’s and low’s and like many others hoped that we’d never see the day when our government allows thousands of previously protected wild animals to be slaughtered when there is no evidence this will make any difference to the Bovine TB situation – in fact it could make things much worse. It will also cost an incredible sum when there are other options on the table – like biosecurity and vaccination. Please sign this petition if you want the government to discuss ending the cull

I went to a Candlelit Vigil march in Minehead last night, it started off on a high, feeling positive and meeting people we’ve met at other events and meeting new people too. I was surprised to see pro-cull supporters in the crowd too doing a terrible job of blending in, taking lots of photos of us all ! There was a lot of press around and Maria below was interviewed in this video The march itself at dusk with everyone holding candles was quite moving. There was about 300 of us there, all ages, all walks of life, all united in thinking this cull is very very wrong.

This is the latest statement from the Green Party on this situation:

25 August 2013

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, speaking tonight as protesters gathered before the planned start of the slaughter of up to 5,000 badgers in six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire, condemned the cull plan as inhumane and unscientific.

Bennett said: “I completely understand the distress that the continuing problem of TB in cattle is causing to farmers. But wanting to do something should not be pushing this government to make the terrible decision to go ahead with this cull, which could actually magnify the TB problem.

“As the Randomised Badger-Culling Trial (RBCT) concluded, the focus of funding and research should be cattle-based measures to control TB, and funding for badger vaccination trials should be restored.

“The planned actions in Somerset and Gloucester are inhumane and not backed by the scientific evidence.”

Caroline Allen, veterinary surgeon and Green Party Spokesperson on animal issues, said: “This is a massive undertaking and there are so many ways in which this cull could go wrong.  The ‘perturbation effect’ is likely to result in the incidence of TB actually increasing.  When you bear in mind that the measure of success is a reduction in TB of around 15%, i.e. leaving 85% of the disease untouched, this all seems completely nonsensical.”

Bennett added: “This government, whether it’s on energy policy, on welfare benefits policy, or on drug laws, far too often ignores the evidence. It’s this policy – and approach to policy-making – that should be culled, not the badgers.”

Badger march
Me and Maria (left) at the march in Minehead

Are you ready for mega farms here in East Devon?

East Devon District Council put out the following press release last week – which has raised alarm bells with environmentalists here in East Devon. According to the ‘experts’ at EDDC, farming will need to be on a different scale in the future….with less small farms here in East Devon.

Please add your own comments at the end, so we can get a discussion started on this subject. Do you want to see mega large scale farms here in East Devon or more support for organic family farms delivering high quality food direct to their local communities?


Food for thought at EDDC farming seminar

BY 2026, farming in East Devon is likely to be on a completely different scale from how it is today. And that will pose a challenge to those who manage land use and the shape of development in the District – the Members and Planning Staff at EDDC.

That’s the message given to an audience at Bicton College on Wednesday during a seminar organised by East Devon District Council. Experts on the role that farming plays in rural communities and the local economy were guest speakers at the seminar, which was entitled ‘Towards 2026: The Prospects for Farming and Rural Enterprise’.

The seminar was designed to update key Members and Planning Officers at EDDC on the challenges facing rural communities. It also looked at how farmers could be supported by the local authority to give them the best chance of successfully delivering crops and produce in a volatile global market.

Among those who gave presentations during the seminar at Bicton College were Professor Michael Winter, Director of the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter; Melanie Squires, Regional Director of the National Farmers’ Union; John Varley, Estates Director of Clinton Devon Estates; and David Henley, Principal of Bicton College.


There were 24 Councillors and 12 EDDC Staff in the Bramley Room at the agricultural college on Wednesday to hear the speakers, and later to pose questions. Professor Winter gave an insight into ‘The National and International Context of Farming and Rural Enterprise’, while Melanie Squires spoke on ‘Practical Challenges to Successful Farm and Rural Enterprise’.

John Varley outlined the ‘Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Rural Future’ and David Henley spoke on ‘Supporting East Devon’s Rural Workforce’.

Professor Winter spoke about Food Security, highlighting the need to double food production globally by 2050 to cope with increases in population against a backdrop of pressures on key resources like oil, water and fertilisers, climate change, soil degradation and a declining growth in agricultural productivity.

He added: “By 2030 the human population of the planet is expected to exceed 8.3 billion.  Ensuring global food security is therefore one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, and it can only be achieved by dramatic increases in food availability across the world.  Fundamental research in plant and animal science, sustainable agriculture, land use and ecosystem services, in addition to addressing the impact of social science to sustainable production and consumption, will be pivotal to meeting this exceptional challenge”.

Training centre

At the end of the seminar, many of the delegates accepted an invitation to visit the college’s EaRTH* Centre, a dedicated training centre and conferencing space for renewable energy and sustainable building on which building work recently started.

Afterwards, Councillor Graham Godbeer, EDDC’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Chairman of the Seminar, said: “We now have a much better understanding of the challenges facing rural communities and in particular the farming sector in the current climate – and I use the word climate in every sense of the term.

“It was extremely useful for the delegates to understand what is happening to farming in a global level and to put a local context on that so we can understand the kind of support rural communities in East Devon will need over the coming 15 years. This will help us when we are dealing with planning issues for farmers and rural parts of East Devon”.

Councillor Ken Potter, EDDC’s Member Champion for Rural Communities, said: “It is clear that traditional small farms will gradually become less viable and farming will need to be on a different scale in future. This will present a challenge to those of us entrusted with planning, as rural East Devon could start to look very different from how it is now”.

Food Inc. – post film discussion

Thank you to everyone who came to see the East Devon Green Party film screening of Food Inc. at the Broadclyst Victory Hall yesterday afternoon. We had a good turnout and lots of interesting comments afterwards. A positive reaction to the short film on local organic farming Henry commissioned which was shown beforehand.

Here’s a place to discuss the film itself, green party farming policies, the future of food production etc – please add your comments below and join in the discussion (whether you came to see the film or not).

Here’s a link to the Food Inc. website

The East Devon Green Party webpage

The Soil Association website

Food Inc Screening in Broadclyst 9th April

East Devon Green Party are screening the film Food, Inc. on Saturday 9th April 2011. The venue is the Broadclyst Victory Hall near Exeter. Entry is £2 in advance or £3 on the door & doors open at 2pm. Refreshments available afterwards, all proceeds to EDGP.

Food Inc is a 90 minute Oscar nominated film against factory farming in the USA. It encourages smaller organic farms and the production of fresh unprocessed local foods.

Any queries – please email or call Sharon on 07740973990.

More info about the film here

Greens back Hugh’s Fish Fight at Sidmouth meeting

MEMBERS of East Devon Green Party have voted to support Hugh’s Fish Fight because it is in line with existing Green party policies.

At a meeting of the EDGP at Sidmouth on Saturday, January 15, Sharon Pavey, EDGP co-ordinator, members supported her suggestion they sign an on-line petition to support the Fish Fight.

Some half a million people have already signed the petition backing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s campaign to get people to petition against the throwing back of nearly half the fish caught in the North Sea, to contact MPs asking for their support of a Fish Fight early day motion and to try eating lesser-known species of fish.

Mother of two Sharon, from Honiton, said: “Like many people, I watched Hugh’s Fish Fight on television and was appalled to see so many dead fish being thrown away as the quotas did not allow them to be landed.

“I was particularly struck by the images of so many sharks being tossed into a heap to die, the unfortunate victims of intensive tuna fishing.”

Henry Gent, a Green Party member from Broadclyst, said the party wanted radical reform of agricultural and fisheries policies.

He said: “I think many people are concerned about the way food production is going, on land and on sea.

“Family farms are driven out of business by competition from factory farms, and those who fish with sustainable methods cannot compete on price with more intensive harvesting and farming of fish.”

The East Devon Greens meet monthly in different towns in East Devon, and will be holding a coffee morning at Christ Church Hall, North Street, Exmouth, from 10am to noon on Saturday, February 19. Contact Sharon for more details.

Greens back campaign against Nocton mega-dairy

The Green Party has reacted strongly to proposals to construct a 3,770-cow dairy in Lincolnshire. Nocton Dairies last month submitted proposals for a “mega-dairy” on Nocton Heath, sparking protest from animal rights and sustainability campaigners. The 38 Degrees petition opposing the plans has so far gained over 50,000 signatures, you can add your name here

North Kesteven District Councillors are due to vote on the proposals in January, after the public consultation period closes on 11th January 2011. Adrian Ramsay, deputy leader of the Green Party, said in response to the plans:

“This industrial scale dairy would be a bad move for agriculture, for animal welfare and for the environment. It will lead to the demise of smaller and more environmentally sustainable farms at a time when many farmers are already struggling to make ends meet. The Green Party has been calling for a reform of supermarket buying practices for many years so that farmers receive a fair price for their produce.”

Mr. Ramsay, who is a Green councillor in Norwich, continued:

“Grazing is natural for cows. A large number of scientific studies have shown that cows kept on pasture are healthier. With Nocton’s cows eating no fresh grass, there are major animal welfare concerns about this proposal. There are also major environmental concerns because the cows will instead be eating food grown on land that could have been used for food production for people.”

Adrian Ramsay concluded:

“The Green Party believes that cows belong in fields and will therefore campaign to ensure that this proposed ‘super’ dairy does not go ahead. We also need wider reforms of our agriculture to ensure better animal welfare and protect rural livelihoods and the countryside.”

Animal Aid & Viva are also running a campaign against the super dairy and I’ve emailed the planning authorities direct. You can object too – it takes 5 mins & needs to be done before 11th January so not long – do it today and keep the cows out of these intensive indoor units and on the fields like this happy cow below!

Grow Your Own with Permaculture Night Class

Community project Otter Valley Harvest Hub is once again running a 6-week night class, starting Thursday 7th October 7-9pm. The course is aimed at those wanting to become more self-sufficient in food and learn how to grow fresh produce without recourse to artificial chemicals. The permaculture approach aims to reduce inputs and optimise use of space and your garden’s natural features. There will also be a detailed look at composting using worms, Bokashi and anaerobic digestion, as well as conventional methods.

Continue reading “Grow Your Own with Permaculture Night Class”


East Devon Green Party invite Green Party members, friends, and supporters to a fun farm visit, and barbecue, at Mosshayne Farm, just east of Exeter, (directions below), on Sunday 26th September, starting at 3 p.m.

There will be a tour of the farm by tractor and trailer, lasting about 2 hours, suitable for families. Mosshayne Farm is an organic farm producing milk and chickens. After the tour there will be a barbecue for those who wish to stay.

The tour will cost £5 per adult, and £3 per child (under 18), proceeds going to East Devon Green Party. For the barbecue, if you wish to take part, please bring your own food to be barbecued (veggie BBQ area provided) and perhaps something to share such as a salad, and your own drink. Bread rolls, potatoes, non-alcoholic drinks, plates, etc will be provided.

The host Henry Gent is an East Devon Green Party member & press officer for the local branch. As a farmer, Henry will be giving an informative tour with information about organic farming techniques etc.You will be getting out into the fields and seeing chickens and baby calves plus milking cows!

You will have a chance to talk to Henry and ask any questions whatsoever. We may have a chance to discuss Green Party policies for agriculture, perhaps after the tour (whilst any children have a chance to eat & play etc).

We are inviting Green Party members, friends, and supporters, from East Devon and elsewhere in the area. Numbers are limited to thirty so please book your place asap to avoid disappointment. Advance payment please with cheques made payable to “East Devon Green Party”. Please post cheques or contact:

Henry Gent, Mosshayne Farm, Westclyst, Exeter, EX1 3TR.


Tel: 01392 469334 or 07974 373554

Directions: Either:

From Junction 29 of the M5 take the A30 towards Honiton but get in the left hand lane of the A30 as soon as possible then exit signposted Rockbeare. Go past the “Blackhorse Inn” and another 2-300 metres, then turn sharp left into Blackhorse Lane. Go about 150 metres then turn right into Mosshayne Lane. Go about 400 metres, to the T junction, and turn right into Mosshayne Lane private section. Go about 1 kilometre on the private lane and park at the courtyard.

Or (if approaching from the northern side of Exeter):Take the B3181 from Pinhoe towards Broadclyst, and go past Animal Kingdom on the left. Go another 4-500 metres and turn right into Mosshayne lane (about 200 metres after the speed camera). Go about 1 kilometre (passing straight past Westclyst Farm and Westclyst Barnyard). Park at the courtyard.

Planet-Friendly Farming Bill

Robert Flello MPThe Friends of the Earth ‘Food Chain’ campaign has taken a massive step forward with the introduction of a new meat and dairy Bill in Parliament.

Robert Flello, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, was the second name pulled out of the hat in the annual Private Members’ Ballot on 10 June.

Being selected so near the top of the ballot means he has a real chance of getting his Bill passed into law.

The Bill – based on the Sustainable Livestock Bill – will aim to reduce British meat and dairy factory farms’ dependence on animal feed grown in South America.

Wildlife and rainforests are destroyed so that these feeds – such as soy – can be grown. This destruction also accelerates climate change.

Government action for planet-friendly farming

The proposed new law commits the Government to action to limit the wildlife and rainforest destruction caused by animal feeds. It will also help UK farmers to thrive and ensure they are not squeezed by big business farming.

Robert Flello said “I was shocked to find out just how much a Sunday roast can cost our planet under the factory farming system. I am determined to put this right by working with Friends of the Earth and other MPs across the House to lead the drive for planet-friendly farming that doesn’t destroy wildlife, rainforests and our climate. I hope the people of Stoke-on-Trent will join me in fixing the food chain once and for all.”

Massive support

More than 30,000 people have contacted their MP to demand a fix to the broken food chain. And this widespread support is reflected in Parliament where more than 160 of current MPs have backed the campaign.

For the last few weeks Mr Flello’s constituents and those of all the MPs in the Ballot have been urging their MP to take up this Bill.

With such momentum behind it, this groundbreaking new Bill stands a great chance of becoming law and forcing real action to change the deal behind your meal.

Read more here

Beech Hayes Farm Open Day

BeechayesVisited Beech Hayes Farm in Churchinford, Somerset last Sunday – they have a fabulous annual open day. Weather was great, lots of tea and cakes and interesting stalls. Ice cream galore, baby animals and a few familiar faces. Then a mad dash off to a children’s party my little boy was going to at a farm up near Smeatharpe, except we got completely lost and were 40 minutes late! All good fun!

For more info on Beech Hayes Farm see