An expert in nature and wild foods has teamed up with Oxfam’s GROW campaign to help people from the Bristol area gather and cook food from the local countryside, and explore sustainable living and gardening. Dr. Adrian Boots, who lives in Blagdon, will be leading a local forage and feast group starting from St. Anne’s Park Primary School, on Lichfield Road in Brislington Brook, at 1pm on Thursday 25 October.
Dr. Boots is an experienced landscape ecologist and conservation advisor with a passion for all aspects of nature and natural history. He also writes about Wild Food in the Mendip Times. He will be leading the forage to teach people about sustainability and sourcing locally produced, seasonal food, ending with a picnic and campfire back at the school, and a discussion of food sourcing and the global food system.
Organiser Rowan Matthiessen from the Sustainable City Team at Bristol City Council, said; “The Brislington Brook corridor is an abundant, wild and beautiful place which often goes overlooked by the people of Bristol – even those who are right on its doorstep. We want to encourage people to get out there and realise how much nature has to offer, as well as connecting with their neighbours and community. The more people know and appreciate their local natural resources, rights to green space for leisure and food production, the more they will be able to connect with these issues on a global scale.”
The event has been organised as part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign, which looks at the global food chain, the inequalities within that system and the ways in which this can be redressed. The world produces enough food for the world’s population and yet every day over 900 million people go to bed hungry every day.
Under the GROW campaign, Oxfam wants to help people find the value of the land they live on and the food it provides. Here in the UK, people can forage for wild and edible produce freely with no restrictions but in developing countries, people’s ability to grow their own crops has been jeopardised by an increase in large-scale land acquisitions by global companies. In Oxfam’s report – Our Land, Our Lives – the charity found that land eight times the size of the UK was sold off globally in the last decade, enough to grow food for a billion people.
Ursula Billington, Partnerships and Campaigns Assistant at Oxfam South West, said: “This event will provide some of the skills central to the GROW campaign. Adrian can help us be seasonal in our food choices, to reduce our food waste and minimise the carbon costs of producing and preparing our food. The forage and feast tour in Brislington is also a symbolic event as it highlights how we can roam our local areas and pick produce freely with the right guidance and expertise. People in developing countries are not so fortunate.
“Many communities of small scale farmers have been victims of land grabs which have been increasing at an alarming rate over the past 10 years. In Brislington Brook, Bristol and across the South West we can make the most of our land where possible and take advantage of locally sourced and edible produce on our doorsteps, in a sustainable way. The Forage and Feast aims to provide people an opportunity to discuss the global food system and it encourages local people to connect with the land and where their food comes from in a tangible way, and to think about what they can do locally to help to create a better system for everyone.”
The Forage and Feast tour around Brislington Brook is free to attend. Anyone who wants more information and to come along should email Ursula Billington at firstname.lastname@example.org.