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Rotherham fire station set to host cookery courses

Fire-fighters at a fire station in Rotherham have allowed a local chef from the town’s catering college to use their kitchen to run a series of cookery courses aimed at local residents.

The cooking courses, which will take place in the Fitzwilliam Road station, every Thursday evening for a period of six weeks, are designed to teach people how to cook delicious healthy meals within the constraints of a tight budget.

The courses will last for two hours and will feature instructions on how to prepare and cook a different family meal each week.

Rotherham’s Metropolitan Borough Council is funding the initiative whilst the supermarket giant Asda has kindly agreed to donate all the required ingredients.

Those residents that attend the cookery courses also will be offered advice and suggestions, where required about how to go about gaining employment within the food industry. In addition, fire fighters at the fire station have agreed to offer participants advice about how they can protect their homes from the dangers of fire.

A spokesman explained that it is hoped that the scheme will give the people of Rotherham the skills required to cook healthy nutritional dishes within the confines of a budget and, as a result, help them to live a much healthier lifestyle.

It is hoped that the additional fire safety advice will also help to ensure that the participants feel more comfortable and confident in the kitchen.

A spokesman for Asda explained that the company was proud to be part of the cookery course and is excited to be supporting such a great scheme aimed at teaching local residents how to cook nutritional and healthy food.

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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.