Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Barn Owls depend humans – the nestbox question

26 November, 2010

Anne Diamond spoke with Jason Ball live on BBC Radio Berkshire yesterday about Barn Owls. Anne was following up the national news story about owls being dependent on nestboxes. 

Jason pointed out that actually it’s a sign of success, and reason to congratulate the nation’s Barn Owl conservation volunteers, and the farmers they work with.

The headlines were sparked by a BBC news interview with Colin Shawyer, who founded the BOCN (Barn Owl Conservation Network). The Sheepdrove Trust sponsors the BOCN and Sheepdrove is its national HQ.

Colin, who trained Jason in monitoring and ringing owls, carried out a study in the 1980s which revealed a massive decline in the Barn Owl population. So he set up the BOCN and it soon became a key network for advisors and owl conservationists across the UK and Eire.

In some areas, such as Salisbury Plain, nest box schemes have increased the barn owl population by up to five times. But the reliance on nest boxes is now so great, the birds will need constant conservation,” explained Colin.

Lambourn Valley Barn Owl Group has been very busy building nest boxes here at Sheepdrove, to sell as a way to raise money for the group. Of course those boxes must go into areas with good owl habitat, otherwise they won’t help owls at all. So LVBOG also provides advice to farmers and landowners about how to manage grass for the prey that owls rely on.

Listen again to that Anne Diamond show. The interview starts 32 minutes in. (available 6 days on iPlayer)

Butterflies on BBC Berkshire again

23 November, 2010

It’s good to see that we still make the local headlines with our butterfly conservation work. (Newbury Weekly News, Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum, LINK to BBC Berkshire story… )

But we need volunteers too – so please come along on Saturday or Monday (or both!) to be part of our campaigns for nature at the farm. Pass the word to anyone you know in the Wantage – Lambourn valley – Hungerford area. Thank you!

 Full event details here…

Yeo Valley rappers

28 October, 2010

We spoke to Graham from Yeo Valley and he said they’ve been amazed by the success of the ‘Yeo Valley Rap’ advert. He said at one point it was the 2nd most watched music video on YouTube!

They do lots of conservation, they’re organic, they’re grass fans – you’ve got to big-up the Yeo Valley rappers.

Food Inc film on Friday

8 September, 2010

On Friday evening our local Slow Food group is showing Food Inc. Join us to see this extraordinary film about the food we eat. Our majestic Oak Room becomes a cinema for the night! Refreshments available.

A documentary directed by Robert Kenner and featuring campaigner Eric Schlosser, this is a real eye-opener which investigates the state of modern food – and its impact. 

FOOD inc.
Showing 7.30pm
Friday 10 September

Tickets £5 for members, £7 guests. – Tel: 01672 541 695

Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre, Sheepdrove Road, Lambourn. Directions here.


SOC launched today!

21 July, 2010

We told you it was coming, and today it’s live!

The Story of Cosmetics animation / video has been released and you can watch it on the Sheepdrove Organic Farm website.

Nattering on nature at BBC Radio Berkshire

14 May, 2010

Radio interview coming up at about 7am, Saturday 15th May, on the Sony Award-winning BBC Radio Berkshire’s breakfast show with Nicki Whiteman. Jason Ball will be promoting Saturday evening’s event for National Moth Night 2010 at Sheepdrove Organic Farm.


Nicki Whiteman

Organic Cleaning

27 April, 2010

Soil Association certified cleaning products launched by Bentley Organic
The makers of a new homecare range claim to have created the first all-natural household cleaners that also kill 99.9% of bacteria. The company argues that, by focusing on all-organic products that still successfully carry out their function, it is helping to make a sustainable lifestyle a more achievable ambition for households.
The Grocer (24 April, p.26)
Also reported on

The Soil Association press office can keep you up-to-date with the latest news on organic food & farming and other relevant issues. If you would like to sign-up to receive this service click here

Food – the big fat lie

22 April, 2010

The ‘big fat lie’ of needing to double global food production by 2050 has dominated policy and media discussions of food and farming, making it increasingly difficult for advocates of sustainable farming methods, such as organic, to convince people we can actually feed the world without more damage to the environment and animal welfare.”
Peter Melchett – Soil Association policy director – 20 April 2010.


“Telling porkies: The big fat lie about doubling food production
More coverage on the Soil Association investigation launched yesterday which reveals that those claiming we need to double global food production are wrong about the figures, are wrong about what the figures apply to, and are wrong to claim that achieving these figures will mean we will feed the hungry or end starvation. Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, was interviewed on Farming Today alongside Peter Kendell president of the NFU.
Farming Today, BBC Radio 4, listen again (21 April, 00:23 seconds in)
Farmers Guardian (20 April)
Farmers Weekly (20 April) (20 April)
The Ecologist (20 April)
Read the Soil Association press release here (20 April)

Turf kicked up in government U-turn

26 November, 2009

Grass-fed livestock… animals that the Lancet forgot!

A government u-turn was swiftly undertaken yesterday, following a report published in The Lancet. Embarrasing conflicts of opinion emerged from different UK goverment departments. 

The health department funded a study which proposed we should eat less meat, to reduce numbers of ruminant livestock (which belch out methane, a powerful greenhouse gas) and therefore counteract the health hazards of both climate change, and heart disease!

Alan Dangour, one of the authors of the report and a senior lecturer at the London School of School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that a dramatic change could be made without giving up meat.
“We are not saying become vegetarian, we are just saying cut back on the amount of meat and meat products you eat.” “Even cutting back by a third, as we suggest, would still mean that the average adult was still eating one meat based meal every day.”

The report recommended cutting ruminant livestock by almost one-third, saying this would allow the agricultural sector to meet its share of targets to cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.

Defra, however, had not been consulted. They have now pointed out that British farmers won’t be happy about the idea of less livestock in the UK. They also highlight the fact that cutting Britain’s cattle and sheep should not necessarily be prioritised ahead of reductions in the more damaging phenomenon of rainforest-clearance beef herds in tropical regions.

The Defra panic –  BBC News (25 Nov)

James Landale reports that Defra had to act to calm worried farmers: ‘A senior official sent out an email telling them not to worry about the Lancet report: “This, as we know, rather over-simplifies a complex issue and I don’t think that Andy Burnham has actually said anything that supports the headline that govt supports a 30% reduction in farm animals.”’

Soil Association comment:

The Soil Association’s report on soil carbon, released today, shows that grass-fed livestock has a critical role to play in minimising carbon emissions from farming – which should be set against the methane emissions from cattle and sheep. This is because grasslands for grazing livestock represent vitally important carbon stores.

Sheepdrove comment:

Grass-fed animals on permanent pastures in Britain are far more sustainable than grain-fed livestock in the USA, for example. Therefore eating less meat is too simple a concept. It is more important than ever to choose carefully where your meat comes from. Read more about grass-fed livestock…

All Earth’s Air and Water

27 October, 2009

How much water and air do we have on Earth?How much air and water is there on this planet? What would it look like if you collected all the world’s air – or the world’s water? See for yourself!

Water and air are the most precious substances we have, because without them, life on Earth would not exist. Sheepdrove’s animations show you a new perspective on how truly limited these resources are.

More details at the Sheepdrove website >