Food Stories

Biodiversity isn’t just pretty: it future-proofs our world

Biodiversity isn’t just pretty: it future-proofs our world

A small boy hauls enthusiastically on his fishing rod. The line flies up and a needle-spined fish strikes him in the eye. Desperate to stay outdoors, he ignores the pain, but his sight deteriorates over the following months. He continues to pursue his love of nature but, now blind in one eye, he is confined to studying creatures that are easy to see: insects. He grows to become the global authority on ants, and in later life is given the moniker ‘the father of biodiversity’.

Zero waste shop wins award as ‘Blue Planet’ effect grows

Zero waste shop wins award as ‘Blue Planet’ effect grows

A zero waste shop won an ethical business award in Wales on Wednesday night, highlighting a growing trend among retailers to cut plastic use as worry over its environmental impact rises.

Judges praised Natural Weigh in south Wales for educating people about the dangers of single-use plastic and for providing a solution to minimise its use – by asking customers to bring their own containers to buy food by weight.

Ravenous for meat, China faces a climate quandary

Ravenous for meat, China faces a climate quandary

At the center of the table in a modest, high-rise apartment in the teeming city of Shenzhen, China, a simmering pot of soup stock was surrounded by large platters featuring mushrooms, different kinds of thinly shaved meat, lettuce, potato, cauliflower, eggs, and shrimp. Folding his hands together, Jian Zhang, a onetime rural farmer who now works as an employee for a small consulting firm in the city, asked his fellow diners to give thanks for the meal — the likes of which he could have only dreamed of when growing up in a remote village in the Jiangxi province.

For Bordeaux’s winemakers, rising temperatures bring a reckoning

For Bordeaux’s winemakers, rising temperatures bring a reckoning

“Everyone was afraid,” recalled Alain David-Beaulieu, the 53-year-old owner and winemaker of Château Coutet in Bordeaux’s Saint Emilion region in southern France. He squinted as he looked over the 30 acres of vineyards his family has farmed for 400 years. Two years ago, a hot summer weighed heavily on his grapes — mostly merlot — and the 2016 vintage had barely squeaked by.

“The grapes weren’t maturing well,” he said. “They were unbalanced.”

Years of eavesdropping on insect sex talk is starting to pay off for grape growers

Years of eavesdropping on insect sex talk is starting to pay off for grape growers

Entomologists have taken the act of bugging conversations to a whole new level — recording sexual vibrations emitted by tiny insects living on grapevines in vineyards. What may seem like a callous act of insect espionage is actually an innovative technique in pest management, decades in the making, chemical free and not lethal to anything.

Tree Conference rallies support to halt deforestation

Tree Conference rallies support to halt deforestation

Taking place at the Merlin Theatre in Frome on Sunday 21 October (10am-5pm), The Tree Conference 2018 will promote the message that it is possible to halt deforestation and indeed increase forest cover worldwide. The event will share practical solutions for preserving and renewing our trees and forests, strengthen support for people working with trees and highlight practical strategies for citizen-led tree planting.

Books – Bread & Butter: History, Culture, Recipes by Grant Harrington, Richard Snapes and Eve Hemingway

Books – Bread & Butter: History, Culture, Recipes by Grant Harrington, Richard Snapes and Eve Hemingway

BREAD & BUTTER is a love letter to two glorious foods that have graced our tables for centuries. Delving deep into the history and culture behind the bread and butter partnership, Eve Hemingway, baker Richard Snapes, and chef Grant Harrington explore how bread and butter are eaten across the world,

Food security: vertical farming sounds fantastic until you consider its energy use

Food security: vertical farming sounds fantastic until you consider its energy use

A company in Scotland has unveiled what it claims is arguably the world’s most technically advanced indoor farm. Intelligent Growth Solutions’ vertical farm uses artificial intelligence and specially designed power and communication technologies. The firm says this reduces energy costs by 50% and labour costs by 80% when compared to other indoor growing environments, and can produce yields of up to 200% more than that of a traditional greenhouse.