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Cookery Course Cookery School News

Yorkshire cookery school wins tourism award

A Yorkshire farm that opened a new cookery school just 12 months ago has been awarded the Most Remarkable Newcomer at the East Yorkshire Tourism Awards.

The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School in Southburn focuses on local produce and was established as part of farming diversification scheme.

The principal tutor at the cookery school, Ali Bilton, initially thought of establishing a school in York. However, this plan was changed following a series of conversations with JSR Farms; the country’s largest family owned farming business.

“JSR mentioned that they had premises that they thought would be a perfect site for a cookery school,” explained Ali.

“It means that there is a constant supply of quality local food for us to use in the kitchen.

“A recent course, Yorkshire Born & Bred, focused on demonstrating to students how you are able to make meals entirely with produce from the county. It proved so effective that we are planning to continue to run it again.”

Ali feels that the trend for television cookery shows has been motivating more and more people to cook, but that sometimes they give the appearance that cooking is much more difficult than it needs to be.

“I think that sometimes people are put off because they believe that almost everything has to be cooked to a michelin-star standard.

“Our focus is geared much more towards creating quick and easy meals, particularly for students.

The manager of the cookery school, Alison Johnson has worked with several farming businesses all over the county. She feels that the  accolade will provide the encouragement that will help the school move forward.

The school has installed brand new kitchen equipment and can accommodate ten cookery students at any one time.

All who attend a cookery course at Yorkshire Wolds are welcome to take home the food that they have cooked.

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Shocking amount of world food supply is lost or wasted

Over thirty per cent of the food that is produced globally for human consumption is either lost or wasted according to shocking new figures produced by the United Nations. The UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated that this equates to roughly 1.3 billion tonnes every year.

Forty percent of food losses in the developing world happen after harvest, whilst being transported or stored, and during packing and processing. In developed countries, forty per cent of losses happen as a consequence of consumers and retailers disposing of unwanted but frequently entirely edible food.

Given that we live in an age where over a billion people are in a constant state of hunger and the water, energy and land resources needed to feed the worldwide population of seven billion are ever more limited, it is clear that food losses on this scale are a huge waste and represent a failure in our food system.

Each year developing countries lose over 150 million tonnes of grains. This is 6 times the volume required to address the hunger issue in the developing world. Meanwhile countries in the developed world waste over 220 million tonnes of food each year. The food industries in these counties have many tools on hand to reduce the likelihood of food spoiling. These include preservation and pasteurisation facilities, climate controlled storage, drying equipment, chemicals which extend shelf life and transport infrastructure.

The following have all be cited as examples of our negligent attitude towards food; throwing away less popular specifies of fish at sea, discarding farm produce that is cosmetically imperfect, and cooking or purchasing more food than is required in the home.

A spokesman for the Worldwatch Institute explained that the global economy is already seeing sharp increases in food prices as well as the early effects of climatic change on food production and, as a result, we shouldn’t ignore these obvious, lost cost methods of reducing food waste.

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Cooking Courses News

West Yorkshire School Hosts Cookery Courses

Students at Todmorden High School in West Yorkshire learnt about sustainable growing, food production and also attended cookery courses at a recent ‘Food for Life’ day.

The event was designed to teach students about a number of different issues relating to food in support of the schools aim to achieve a Food for Life Partnership gold award.

Those pupils that attended the cooking courses learnt how to press apples, how to make delicious homemade bread and how to prepare fantastic summer smoothies.

The high school’s catering manager, who demonstrated to the students how to prepare fresh pasta, explained that this was the second such event that the school has hosted. He also explained that the aim was to help students make the right food choices by explaining where it comes from, how it’s grown and how we cook it.

The event was also supported by local producer Staups Lea Farm. Staff from the farm attended with a number of animals.

The day included activities in a variety of different subjects.

Geography students studied the food sustainability in various different countries whilst mathematics students spent time looking into nutritional analysis.

History classes studied the way in which food production has evolved over a number of years while art students were given a food based design task.

Organisers acknowledged that the day had been a great success and were quick to thank the students and staff who were involved.

The school continues to work hard to achieve its aim of a gold award. It is currently investigating organic produce and plans to add organic options to its lunchtime menu.

For more information of the Food for Life scheme please visit http://www.foodforlife.org.uk/

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News

Farmers Blame Fall In Organic Food Production On Supermarkets

Recent figures reveal that farmers have begun to scale back production of organic food due to fading interest from major supermarkets.

According to figures recently published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the amount of land in the UK being set up for organic production has fallen by 68 per cent in the last four years.

Throughout the UK there were just over 50,000 hectares being prepared for organic production in 2010. This was less than 50 per cent of the 2009 total which, in turn was significantly lower than the 158,000 hectares that were being prepared in 2007.

Sales of organic food have fallen in the last two years as consumers opt for cheaper alternatives in the face of higher food prices.

According to figures released by the Soil Association organic sales this year were £1.73billion, a fall of 5.9 per cent from £1.84billion.

Sales also fell by 12 per cent in 2009 which ended a sequence of consistent growth for the preceding 16 consecutive years.

The fall in demand has been attributed to the recession as families look to reduce the amount they spend on groceries.

The number of organic producers has also dropped from 7,900 to 7,600, with the loss of a tenth of the land used for organic production.

Nevertheless, some farmers believe that consumer interest in organic produce continues to be strong outside of the major supermarkets.

There are also farmers who believe that moving to organic farming can help to cut costs. A spokesman for a large farm co-operative in the South West recently claimed that whilst some farmers may think that they can’t afford to become organic because the market is constrained, if they really investigated it they would discover that there are ways of ensuring it is cost effective.

Another farmer who converted to organic production in 2005 claimed that he would be out of business now if he hadn’t made that choice.