Organic veg bicycled in from Berkshire for star-studded charity banquet
A carbon-light delivery of organic vegetables from a Soil Association certified farm in Berkshire will be bicycled into London in time for a star-studded charity banquet - The Feast of Albion - being held by luxury lifestyle group, Quintessentially in aid of the Soil Association. 
A convoy of cyclists will pedal over 50 miles from the farm in Pangbourne to London on Monday 10 March carrying over 160kg of organic vegetables with the help of trikes provided by Riverford Organic Vegetables  and wearing organic t-shirts produced by T Shirt and Sons Ltd  emblazoned with the slogan ‘carbon-light food delivery’.
The ride is a symbolic gesture highlighting the extraordinary dependence of our increasingly industrialised food and agriculture systems on cheap oil. The distribution of food accounts for at least 30% of all road freight within the UK. 
Iain Tolhurst, managing director of Tolhurst Organic Produce, said:
"I think it's great these guys are making the effort to get my vegetables to the feast in an environmentally friendly fashion. It just goes to show how hard it is not to add oil to our food and how a small amount of oil can replace a huge amount of human effort. We encourage our customers in Oxford and Reading to collect their fruit and veg from their neighbourhood reps by bike or on foot to help minimise farm to fork carbon-footprint."
The Vegetables are from Tolhurst Organic Produce whose carbon footprint has been calculated to be just 8 tonnes of carbon per year. This is same amount as an average UK household. Tolhurst Organic Produce produces and distributes organic vegetables to over 400 customers making it 90% more energy efficient then non-organic produce grown and delivered to a supermarket. 
Head chef on the night, Mike Dewing, from Admirable Crichton said:
“I’ve never sourced seasonal, local and organic ingredients on this scale before. It’s been an absolute joy making contact with all these fantastic producers. The quality and taste of the produce is top class. I will certainly be keeping them on the books for future events.”
The Feast of Albion will not only be the most dazzling event in the UK’s social calendar, it will also be the most sustainable feast with the majority of the ingredients being sourced from within 50 miles of Tower Bridge, celebrating the very best in seasonal, local and organic food.  Typically organic farming uses 26% less energy to produce the same amount of food as non-organic farming. 
The raw ingredients have been sourced by local, organic and wild-food champion, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and the 5-course meal will be cooked by Mark Hix. Like Hugh, Mark is a champion of local and seasonal food as demonstrated in his latest book, British Regional Food.  The eco-banquet will be served to 400 guests at London’s Guildhall on Thursday, 13 March. 
Seasonal, local AND organic at the heart of the Soil Association's roots and founding principles:
The Soil Association's founding principles emphasise the priority importance of seasonal, local, organic produce and, with the help of a dedicated local food team, we promote this eco-trinity together wherever possible. 
The twin challenges of climate change and peak oil mean it is imperative we produce our food more sustainably and develop relocalised food distribution systems to support British farmers – delivering a brighter future for UK food security.
The event will include a headlining session from Annie Lennox, who gave one of the top performances at the 2005 Live 8 concert and is also an internationally recognised campaigner for human rights and the environment.
Annie Lennox said:
“I’m passionate about fighting against the injustices of global hunger and poverty – supporting the Soil Association through the Feast of Albion event fits with that. As well as being better for our health and the environment, organic food and farming enables poor farmers in developing countries to get off the chemical treadmill, out of debt and into growing food for their families and communities in a way that's genuinely sustainable. Eat organic, save the planet – it’s that simple."
 Funds raised on the night will go to expanding the Soil Association’s Farm School initiative, which already gives thousands of school children and their families direct experience of sustainable farming, food growing and cooking on one of the 100 organic farms in our national open-farm network.
 The trikes:
The trikes were kindly donated by Ged and Simon of Riverford Home Delivery. The trikes are usually used for organic vegetable deliveries in South London for up to 80 deliveries a day.
They are built by Cycles Maximus see http://www.cyclesmaximus.com/(cargo, soft top model).
For info on Riverford Organic Vegetables visit - http://www.riverford.co.uk/
 The organic t-shirts as worn by the riders:
The organic t-shirts for the ride were provided by Soil Association licensee EarthPositive and printed by the Soil Association's only certified organic t-shirt printer T Shirt and Sons Ltd.
EarthPositive’s ambitious programme has now been proven to have reduced the carbon footprint of their clothes by up to 90%. EarthPositive proves that it is possible to make cotton clothes without any detrimental effects to the Earth’s soil, water or inhabitants, whether they be animals, plants or people, or to its climate.
T Shirt and Sons Ltd produces high quality printed and embroidered promotional clothing and accessories for a broad range of high profile clients, specialising in t-shirts and cotton bags made from Fairtrade and organic certified cotton.
 ‘Fuelling a food crisis’, a report by Caroline Lucas MEP, Andy Jones and Colin Hines, (2006). Read a pdf copy here
Shopping trips for food by car have also increased, in terms of journey length and frequency, due largely to the replacement of local shops by out of town supermarkets.
 Organic farming on average 26% more energy efficient
Organic farming is generally a more energy efficient system of food production than non-organic, mainly because it does not use inorganic nitrogen fertiliser, which is produced from petro-chemicals.
For an ideal climate friendly diet the Soil Association recommends eating fresh, seasonal, local, organic food with less - and all organic - meat and dairy products.
 The Feast of Albion
Thursday 13 March 2008
The Guildhall, London
A gala evening to showcase the best of British food, entertainment and fashion and to promote the work of the Soil Association helping to reconnect people with good healthy, seasonal, local and organic food produced in sustainable ways.
For more information about the event click here: http://www.soilassociation.org/feastofalbion
For further information on how to purchase tickets please email:
The House of Champagne Perrier-Jouët and Bedat & Co. are lead sponsors of the event.
 Organic farming’s contribution to curbing climate change: ‘Energy Use in Organic Farming Systems’ (2000) Defra report OF0182. All other data from: Williams, A.G., Audsley, E. and Sandars, D.L. (2006) Determining the environmental burdens and resource use in the production of agricultural and horticultural commodities. Main Report. Defra Research Project IS0205. Bedford: Cranfield University and Defra.
 Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, local and ethically produced food. His journalism, books and his series for Channel 4 have earned him a huge popular following. Hugh frequently writes for The Guardian and The Observer and has also written the best-selling cookery books The River Cottage Cookbook, The River Cottage Year and The River Cottage Meat Book and his latest book (to accompany the TV series) is The River Cottage Fish Book.
Mark Hix has written a number of books on British food, as well as a regular column in the Independent on Saturday magazine. His latest book, British Regional Cooking, reflects his interest in sourcing local food and traditional recipes. He won the Glenfiddich Newspaper Cookery Writer of the Year award in 2003 and was voted Best Cookery Writer by the Guild of Food Writers in 2005. Mark appeared in the second series of Great British Menu in spring 2007, winning the chance to cook both the main course and the dessert at the British ambassador's banquet in Paris.
 More detailed menu available on demand, please contact Clementine Brown or Katie Lowry at Quintessentially Communications: 020 7292 5121 / firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7292 5122 / email@example.com
 Soil Association founder, Lady Eve Balfour, said in her book The Living Soil, 1943:
"If fresh food is necessary to health in man and beast, then that food must be provided not only from our own soil but as near as possible to the sources of consumption. If this involves fewer imports and consequent repercussions on exports then it is industry that must be readjusted to the needs of food. If such readjustment involves the decentralisation of industry and the re-opening of local mills and slaughterhouses, then the health of the nation is more important than any large combine."
'Sustainable local food' as defined by the Soil Association:
“Food derived from a system, based on organic and sustainable forms of agricultural practice, where the production, processing and trading are largely contained and controlled within the area where it was produced, thereby delivering health, economic, environmental and social benefits to the people in those areas.”
Under this definition local, organic food is always better for the environment.
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