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medway growsFamilies are being encouraged to take up the good life and take part in free workshops to learn how to grow their own food.

Medway Grows workshops are being run across the area from March to July and will be a fun way for all the family to learn something new – and cut down on household bills by growing their own grub.

Medway Grows is about healthy fresh produce , digging, planting, weeding, watering, landscaping and much more.

The workshops will encourage people of all ages to learn about a wide variety of projects from growing your own food, how to start planting and how best to get going at home.
And there’ll be lots of games and activities for children while mum and dad pick up top tips on how to grow the greens.

Councillor David Brake, Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, said; “These free workshops are a great way to get all the family involved in planting and growing.

“Not only will they teach the basics and give everyone a good idea of how to grow, but also they’ll encourage families to get healthy and, hopefully, save money by growing their own produce.”

Workshops will take place across Medway, at weekends and after school and booking is essential.

The first workshop dates include March 15 and May 28, Medway Park; March 20, Luton Library, Chatham, April 5, Bishop of Rochester Academy; April 8 and May 28, Burnt Oak Primary, Gillingham.

To find out more information visit http://www.abettermedway.co.uk/healthyeating/medwaygrows.aspx” target=”_blank”>our website or call 016344 334309 to book your place.

kcm 016Farmland prices hit yet another record high in the South East during the final six months of 2013, having jumped over ten percent in the space of a year, says the latest RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey H2 2013.

During the second half of last year, the average cost of farmland in the region rose to £7,750 per acre*, hitting a record high for the eighth consecutive period. The cost of land is now 10.7 percent higher than during the same period in 2012 when an acre cost, on average, £7,000.

Growth in prices has been driven by the on-going surge in demand from farmers looking to expand their operations, while the amount of land coming up for sale is continuing to lag well behind, with the shortage being seen across the board. However, with many areas such as the Thames Valley having been subject to severe flooding in recent weeks, it remains to be seen what impact this will have on the price and saleability of farmland in some areas.

Despite remaining unchanged on the first half of the year, prices in the North West were the highest in Great Britain with the cost of an acre coming in at £8,813. Meanwhile, land north of the border, in Scotland, was the least expensive with an acre costing around £3,750.

Looking ahead, chartered surveyors are predicting prices to continue to rise over the coming year, given the significant supply-demand imbalance. That said, with floods having swept across the country, markets in the southern regions could well be significantly affected in terms of both transactions and prices.

Jeremy Blackburn, RICS Head of UK Policy, commented:
“Farmland price growth has been enormous in recent years. With commodity prices now having remained strong for some time, many farmers have been looking to expand their businesses and, with so little actually coming up for sale, competition for good land is fierce.

“Although, with floods having devastated large swathes of southern England, what remains to be seen is the impact this has on the market in these areas and further afield. It will not be surprising to see this have a negative effect on transactions. In fact, a lot of the best quality and highest value agricultural land in the UK is located close to rivers and on floodplains so this too could potentially have an impact on food production.”

See the report HERE

2014 069Another evening, more rain and more puddles, more mud and no chance of getting outside and really enjoying yourself.

Then it’s a good job the Upnor Pier is here to brighten up our evenings and whisk us off to the Caribbean for the evening with entertainment, three course meal and fun competitions combined to provide a great evening again and not forgetting the genuine Steel band.

Our chivalrous host enabling all to take part Our chivalrous host enabling all to take part

Our congratulations to the Limbo Competition winner who beat off some stiff competition, not that it was a close run thing as I meant stiff in a…. finding it awkward to bend sort of way.

And the winner is........feeling a little unwell. And the winner is……..feeling a little unwell.

As for the winner of the Chilli eating contest, well Julia, you are fearless, we are checking, but don’t think anyone, ever, in the History of the Upnor Pier chilli eating contest (It’s a tradition now you know) has eaten all six, the last one being named a Ghost Chilli. Congratulations and sympathy go to you this morning.

If you would like to know more about events at The Pier, find them on face book, or see them on page three of our printed edition for regular updates. You can find all the pictures from last nights event HERE.

Food waste recycling has just got easier for Medway residents.

medway council caddyFrom Monday 27 January, compostable kitchen caddy liners to take food leftovers can be bought at selected Medway libraries.

The liners are £1.50 for 26, a competitive price to encourage more residents to use them.

Libraries at Chatham Community Hub, Hoo, Rainham, Strood, Walderslade and Wigmore will stock them for a six-week trial. If successful, other libraries could be added.

Cllr Phil Filmer, Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, said: “Using these liners is good. They keep the kitchen caddy clean, reduce smells and make it easier to transfer food waste.

“We have had a good response from residents since we introduced weekly recycling in October and we want to encourage more.

While caddy liners are best, newpaper or kitchen roll can be used as an alternative. For more details, www.medway.gov.uk/recyclenow

Medway Council’s Trading Standards team are urging local businesses and residents to be extra careful when buying food supplements that claim to burn fat.

Across the country a number of deaths have been connected with the consumption of supplements containing 2,4 Dinitrophenol, sometimes referred to as ‘DNP’. This is a product unfit for human consumption and should not be sold as food.

However, it is available online and has been found being sold under the counter at some gyms in other parts of the UK. Read More

Festival of Wildlife 2013 – Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th August, 10am – 4pm

This free family event, now in its 6th year, is the only annual event in Kent to celebrate the wonderful world of wildlife. Organised by Kent Wildlife Trust and centred in and around a splendid woodland and lakeside setting – the packed programme features bug hunting, guided walks and angling demonstrations. The ‘Best of Kent’ stalls will offer all manner of arts and crafts and tasty locally-sourced food products. More

Calling all families who want to get healthier and more active – healthy lifestyle course MEND starts again this September – sign up today.

As part of National Child Obesity Week (1-7 July), the Public Health Team is encouraging families to join the free MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do it) course. The 10-week course takes place at various venues around Medway and supports children aged between five and 13, who are above a healthy weight, and their families to become fitter and healthier. More

Click on the link below to read the Anim-Mates Summer Newsletter

Summer newsletter 2013 colour

sw2A super slimmer is proving to be a winner at the losing game after shedding 6 ½ stone and being named Strood Slimming World ‘Greatest Loser’, with the emphasis well and truly on Greatest! More

Romantic slimmers wanting to cook their way to their honey’s heart this Valentine’s Day can spoil the apple of their eye without spoiling their successful slimming campaign, says a Hoo St Werburgh weight loss expert.

Ash O’Neill who runs a Slimming World group in the Jubilee Hall on Pottery road in Hoo says it’s understandable when people are bananas about their partner that they want to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style and losing weight doesn’t have to mean missing out.

She says: “The calendar is full of dates that can distract slimmers from their weight loss dreams, but at Slimming World members share ideas to prepare for challenges like birthdays, parties and events like Valentine’s Day and when following our healthy eating plan no food is banned. So, at Slimming World having fun and losing weight at the same time really can be a piece of cake!” More

A trial project to increase food waste recycling in Medway starts this month (December). Medway Council’s Waste Services has teamed up with chemical company BASF in a small trial to increase food waste recycling. Nearly 5,000 households in Hempstead, Twydall and Rochester will have received a silver kitchen caddy, a trial roll of ecovio® compostable liners, and an explanatory leaflet.

The average family will produce around one tonne of waste a year, of which 20 per cent is food. The trial will encourage residents to use the ecovio® bags to dispose of biodegradable garbage. The bags not only prevent noxious odours and keep out insects, but also mean that it is not necessary to wash and clean the container in which the organic waste is collected.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services Cllr Phil Filmer said: “It is always important to establish cross sector partnerships to encourage our residents to continue to recycle their food waste. There are many advantages to composting food waste via the brown bin, instead of black refuse sacks. When composted through the brown bin collections, it has a positive effect to the environment and rodents will not rip black sacks open if they do not contain food waste.

A spokesman for BASF Plastics said: “We were delighted to work with the council and the residents of Medway. We hope this project will prove that ecovio® compostable and biodegradable liners will increase the amount of food waste which can be used to produce good nutritional compost.”

Currently in Medway, recycling and organic collections are collected on a fortnightly basis. Following a successful bid from Central Governments Weekly Collection Support Scheme, the council has been given funding of just over £14million to increase these services to weekly, as well as maintaining a weekly general waste service. These improved services will come into effect summer 2013.

Bangers not bugs – that’s the message from Medway Council as it gives advice to people to ensure they’re not left with food poisoning from a barbecue. More

Our visit to Simply Italian in Rochester High Street. Read On

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are now so well researched and understood as to barely be considered taboo topics any longer. But while these deadly illnesses are increasingly recognised by health professionals many thousands of us are letting food control our lives in much more surprising ways. More

January the 25th as you probably all know is Burns Night and this Burns night I had the good fortune to be at Elizabeth’s of Eastgate in Rochester to celebrate. More

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