Sussex Frack Free Food Alliance
Are you a foodie, farmer, fisherman , forager, grower, chef, whole food shop, farmers market, community garden, wholesaler, restaurant, café, pub, supermarket, vineyard, brewer, butchers, bakers, grocer?
Will you help to keep SUSSEX FOOD FRACK FREE ?
Sussex has a fantastic local food movement with locally grown produce, farmers markets, organic farms, whole food shops, ethical supermarkets, we even have local food awards. The question is: Will chefs and consumers have faith in Sussex food if fracking is allowed to take hold, industrialising our landscape and contaminating the land? As more of us are growing our own veg we understand just what is needed to produce healthy food. Pure water. Clean Air. Uncontaminated soil.
Please join and support Sussex Frack Free Food Alliance. https://www.facebook.com/sussexfrackfreefoodalliance
Our aim is to protect our local food economy from oil & gas industrialisation.Please contact us with the name of your foodie business, give us a quote as to why you oppose fracking in the UK, download one of our beautiful frack free food posters to display on your premises, link websites with us! Together we will have a stronger voice.
Fracking has already been in process in the USA. We can learn from their experience of how this extreme technology affects food and farming. Please go to our FOOD & FARMING resource page to read many articles on this.
How Fracking Affects Food
Healthy farming needs abundant supplies of clean water, clean air, and clean soil. It needs a critical mass of acreage that is not fragmented by drill pads, access roads, pipelines and compressor stations. Farms need to be free of the stigma that may be attributed to food sourced from areas where fracking could take place.
A few points to consider:
• Air-borne VOCs that are released in the drilling and transport process, and from thousands of diesel fueled truck trips per well, is converted to ground-level ozone when combined with sunlight. These emissions can cause health problems in humans and livestock. Ground level ozone has been shown to reduce crop yield by up to 30%, and endangers key feed crops such as clover, vital for pastured livestock.
• Methane and other chemicals that seep out in the process will wind up in air and surface water such as farm ponds, streams and rivers that provide irrigation for livestock and crops.
• Chemical residues in waste water can poison animals.
• Unlike agriculture’s water usage, water used for hydraulic fracturing is consumptive and permanently removed from the hydrological cycle. This is especially foolish and wasteful in areas of extreme drought where the availability of water is already shrinking.
• It is impossible for adequate food safety inspections to occur since oil and gas companies are not required to fully disclose the chemicals used in the toxic drilling cocktail. There is no set process for testing for contaminants or complete knowledge of what to test for.
• Interestingly, the ingredients of salt and water cannot receive organic certification.
• Fragmentation of farm land leads to inefficiencies in production and the reduction of vital infrastructure and services that support agriculture in a given area
• Sales of food and farm products from fracked areas will be adversely affected by the wholesale and retail buyers distrust of the health and safety of the product, forcing the end of businesses, the loss of food, and the end of a way of life.
• The combination of well pad construction and heavy traffic from hundreds of truck trips cause soil compaction, which can negatively impact normal root development and water infiltration and drainage.
• Shale gas development can result in increased competition for resources required by both the oil and gas industries and agricultural industry, such as water, labor, and transportation.
SUSSEX Frack Free Food Alliance
We have a 54 sheep grazed farm on the South Downs with its own pure water source. The risks from unconventional and onshore oil and gas drilling are unacceptable. No one has the right to gamble with the safety and security of soil, air, food and water in such a way. Of course we must find sustainable and renewable ways to meet our energy needs. We have considered a wind turbine on the farm - but we are told planning permission would be against us - yet the major objection to wind turbines is visual - that's hardly a good reason in this climate. It annoys me they way deep and horizontal drilling of boreholes is called 'temporary' - you can never ensure they are sealed properly for all time. At least a wind turbine can be taken down, and that's it, its gone.
We need to move forward with respect and care for our most basic assets and recognise that many small, traditional and local businesses would be negatively impacted by the extent of industrialisation and the heavy traffic. For example we have an eco-campsite - www.chantryfarm.org and rural tourism is an important part of the UK economy. Unconventional Oil & Gas (UO&G) is incompatible with many traditional businesses and village life. To make uo&g anywhere near 'viable' would take a huge amount of drilling and it would leave our land riddled with deep extensive wells which can never be 100% sealed against chemical and gas migrations. That is not OK. We are an inventive bunch, us humans - we managed to put a man on the moon, renewable energy is possible for all of us and we need to generate it at all levels - Macro, meso and micro , but we can only do it if the political will is there.
"I want to drink clean water, breath clean air and eat from an unpolluted earth. Is that too much to ask?"
SOIL not OIL
We're an 8.5 acre field near Forest Row, a Community Garden and Coop Co-op. Our mission statement is: To use AGROECOLOGY to maximise food production and biodiversity, whilst reintegrating local community into agriculture, and letting all life thrive. We can all make everyday changes, take responsibility, think about where the food on the plate comes from, make moves towards getting it as FRESH and CLEAN and VITAL as possible. Fracking -injects the earth, vaccines and antibiotics inject the organism. GMO's inject the cell. Get to the grass roots and say YES to clean water, clean air, clean earth. Let the fire and passion in your soul guide you. SOIL not OIL.
Down To Earth- Midhurst
Down to Earth has been serving the area with healthy local foods for over two decades. We sell local organic meat, dairy and greengrocery, health-foods including a good selection for people on restricted diets. We supply bulk organic groceries to reduce costs and packaging. Vitamins, remedies and natural skincare products are also available. As part of our support for sustainability, we provide a refill service for eco-detergents and natural toiletries, which saves money for customers and reuses thousands of bottles a year. We also sell eco-friendly nappies and organic baby care and toiletries. We support local food producers to help support local jobs and reduce ‘food miles’. We are very concerned about the damage that fracking can cause to local agriculture and the environment by the use of extraction chemicals. While the short term gains in fuel availability may seem attractive, the long term legacy of this process cannot be fully understood. The health of people, farm animals and wildlife must not be put at risk by this deeply polluting process.
Down To Earth- Hove
We get our organic fruit and vegetables from a fantastic company called Seasons who are based in Forest Row, East Sussex. They get much of their produce from the surrounding area like the Michael Hall School, Cherry Gardens and Plaw Hatch. It would be terrible to think that these producers ( and all others as well) could be affected by fracking.
High Weald Dairy
With much of the milk used for making our cheeses coming from our Farm in the Sussex Weald, we are worried about the potential groundwater contamination issues, especially as much of our water for the dairy cows and the cheese dairy is to be supplied by our own bore hole on the farm. There are just too many unknowns with fracking, and we must not be pushed into it.
"We oppose fracking for environmental and monetary concerns. Environmentally we know that farmers ability to produce food is at risk should the water table become polluted due to potential groundwater contamination. The real possibility of damage to the countryside would destroy our ability to make a living on the land.
Farmers will not benefit financially as the payment is very minimal, it is the oil companies that will benefit. Recent farming press Farmers Weekly have alerted the agricultural industry to the threat from any drilling on near by land as the drilling will still effect neighbouring land that has not given permission."
Peter Richards - Grower, Weald Allotments Site Rep & Ex Gas Distribution Foreman
All the companies (7 in all) I worked for were under contract therefore every part was price work which means corners were cut. For example, some mains were laid shallow because obstructions would mean a deeper excavation. Equipment used for stopping the flow of gas during cut outs etc was poorly maintained and would leak. I worked on a leaking valve in Kent which could not be stopped without a major operation, but then was categorised as acceptable leakage. Another serious cock up was at the Harwell Atomic Research station when the resident maintenance team connected the gas to the laboratory compressed air supply. A digger driver was burnt to death during the construction of the Brighton Marina, the medium gas main was punctured by another digger and caught fire, there were 2 safety officers on that site and they would have been informed where that important main was. There have been many more examples of serious mishaps.
So when the PR men for Cuadrilla etc glibly state it will all be carried out under strict control, I get very nervous! However slight an earth tremor, can the integrity of the pipe carrying all the dangerous chemicals be guaranteed?
Coopers Farm Stonegate
"If we refuse to let drilling companies onto Coopers Farm that is our choice, (although the energy companies can, of course, make a compulsory purchase if we are unlucky enough to be plumb in the middle of a discovered deposit. What is far more likely is that during explorations they will drill horizontally under the farm from a well site on an adjoining piece of land. This is technically trespass. But when Mr Al Fayed discovered star energy drilling under his Surrey Estate from a neighbour's farm, despite the best lawyers in the land he only received £1000 in compensation. To prospecting companies, that's about as discouraging as a 5p parking fine.."
"@FoodTrade champions local food trade. We've created an online trade network to connect food producers to local businesses; rewiring the food system for good! If fracking is licensed in the UK our countryside, farmland and woodland would be at severe risk of damage; threatening not only biodiversity, but the livelihoods of our local farmers and producers, and our entire food system. FoodTrade says a big fat NO to fracking."
Food Sovereignty Sussex
"Food Sovereignty is the people's right to food systems that are democratic, just and sustainable. Through listening to producers, valuing local knowledge and skills, protecting the local resources key to food production such as seeds, water and land access, and working with nature rather than against we can make that transformation.
However, unconventional oil and gas drilling poses enormous threats to this vision. Food Sovereignty Sussex, a coalition of activists, farmers, growers and concerned citizens, believes fracking across the Sussex Weald
will industrialise and pollute the countryside, endanger water supplies through poor well integrity and undermine the democratic rights of communities to determine their own energy and food policies. Runaway climate change will result in more unpredictable and extreme weather. This will have massive consequences for food supplies locally and abroad. We must work now to make the transition to a clean energy future and more ecological and holistic approaches to food."
Clayton Organic Farm, SUSSEX
"Unconventional gas and oil are dirty fuels that should stay in the ground everywhere. We should be developing renewable options as fast as possible to secure energy and jobs for the long term and to ensure our climate targets are attainable. We are utterly opposed to this proposed industrialisation of our countryside."
Robin Van Creveld www.communitychef.org.uk
Co-founder Pauline Cory says; "Some might say I am being naive, but my personal thoughts are that if our farmers/landowners are not valued, if they are not paid what the food they produce is worth, then they will possibly look to another way of getting value from their land. There are those farmers who would never consider allowing their land to be fracked. Then there are those who without fully understanding the implications, may sign agreements to allow their land to be used. It is one way of making money, one way of surviving in this current economic climate.
If we don't want to see this happen, then we need to ensure our farmers are paid a fair wage, have a reliable market for their produce and that their livelihood is sustainable and resilient.
There are many solutions coming to the fore to help with this situation.... one is Community Supported Agriculture, supported by the Soil Association and a national network is in the process of being set up at the moment. They are trying to crowd fund this right now. In fact I received this appeal today, which anyone can contribute to:
We are aiming to raise a total of £21,140 and have a first milestone target of £6,500 which we need to hit or we get nothing! But we've already raised over £2,500 thanks to some amazing support. We need another big push to close that gap !! Visit www.buzzbnk.org/CSANetwork to add your voice and support.
Personally I have supported this initiative financially and am also supporting a new organisation called FarmDrop - they ensure the producer gets 80% of what the customer pays for their produce as opposed to, I understand, something like 11% from supermarkets.
These kinds of initiatives have to be the way forward. We cannot expect our producers to slog on indefinitely in the face of hardship or potential financial ruin. If we value their land and support what they do best - i.e. farming, then hopefully this will go some of the way towards landowners valuing the peace and tranquility of what they have and not risking polluting it forever for a quick buck."