Posts Tagged ‘conferences’

Seasonal Cooking at Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre

25 November, 2008

Anyone happening to wander into the kitchen at Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre in the mornings is likely to be greeted by a worktop groaning with seasonal produce picked from our garden that morning by our Head Gardener, Phil, waiting to be turned into any number of warming, inspiring seasonal dishes.

Seasonality is very much at the heart of our menus at Sheepdrove and meals are devised to make use of whatever is most abundant in the garden at that time of year. In addition to this, we try to grow traditional, hardy English varieties wherever we can – a quick chat with Phil reveals that we grow no less than five varieties of English apple.

As we head into winter our pumpkins, squash, beetroot, kale, parsnips and apples are all at their very best and Mel, our Head Chef, along with her team, work hard to create delicious, inviting lunches. In addition to the wide variety of vegetables grown here, we’re also lucky enough to be able to cook with the finest organic meats sourced straight from the farm – although vegetarian guests are equally well catered for. We always provide a creative vegetarian option (and usually find that the carnivores tuck in sneakily!) – our parsnip and cheese roulade is hard to beat and usually finds people queueing up for seconds.

Today’s delegates were presented with a choice of a hearty chicken and bacon pie, a pork, apple & cheese crumble or a pumpkin tart – served with garlic sauteed kale, carrot, swede & celeriac puree and homemade cheese & onion focaccia bread. For dessert, we served a sinful sticky toffee pudding – it’s a wonder the delegates made it back to their rooms!

As well as our passion for using seasonal vegetables, we love to make use of meat that is at its best at this time of year – our mutton season is now well under way and a rich, fruity mutton tagine or a velvety mutton and red wine casserole might well be featured on the menu in the forthcoming weeks. One thing is for sure – delegates never leave Sheepdrove hungry!

One of the dining room tables at lunchtime


GM crops conference next week

8 November, 2008

Feeding the World
Are GM Crops Fit For Purpose? If Not, Then What?
This conference will examine, searchingly and honestly, the claims and counter claims of one of the most critical issues of our time.

Join the conference on GM crops and food security which takes place in Westminster next week. The wide-ranging programme of international speakers is now set. This is your last chance to buy tickets. (Only £65 including lunch) Call now to book your place – 01488 658279

Land of the GM Free?

20 October, 2008

The Soil Association’s recent report ‘Land of the GM Free?’ is out now.

The report looks at the truthfulness of the claims that GM foods are widely accepted in the USA, and examines the cases of several GM products for which Americans have clearly shown a growing distaste.

They applaud the launch of a new ‘Non GM’ label in the USA next year, and predict it will bring out the concerns of consumers nationwide. Backed by presidential candidate Barack Obama, over 400 food retailers and processors will use the label on about 28,000 products!

The SA report reveals a less-than-happy USA when it comes to GM:

  • *Almost none of the food containing GM is labelled to inform the consumer, despite 87% wishing they were informed by packaging, the Soil Association points out.
  • *They cite that over half of USA consumers (53%) would reject GM if they saw it on the label.
  • *Farmers fought in court to have GM Alfalfa crops banned – and they won.
  • *Consumers are widely rejecting an inappropriate GM product, a hormone called rBGH

Here’s a little sample of the story behind rBGH as featured in the SA report.

“In 1994 Monsanto produced a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) that is injected into dairy cows to increase the yield of milk. This GM hormone has faced criticism internationally since its launch on the grounds of both human health risks and animal welfare concerns. While the EU and Canada rejected it, it was deemed safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and has been used widely in the US dairy industry, without any labelling of the milk as ‘GM‑produced’.

Monsanto worked very hard to ensure that consumers have no way to make a choice – getting some US states to ban dairies from selling their milk with ‘no artificial growth hormone’ labels.

But increasing consumer awareness of rBGH in the US has caused sales of the milk to plummet. Between 2002 and 2007 use of the hormone fell by 23% and the proportion of US cows being injected with rBGH fell from 25% to below 17%.”

Monsanto’s sensitivity to bad publicity about this was revealed when they pressurised Fox News about an investigative TV programme. (video here) It will be interesting to see how the biotechnology companies respond to the Soil Association document.

Health hazards and stealth marketing are not the only aspects of the GM industry adding momentum to the organic movement’s campaigns. Sustainable land management and food security are also high on the agenda for those who voice concerns about GM foods and the long-term implications of their use.

Earlier this year, Peter Melchett wrote in The Independent;
“Confirming an earlier FAO conference’s conclusions, the IAASTD report acknowledged organic farming’s real potential to help feed the world in an era of rising oil prices and the urgent need to cut greenhouse gases, because organic systems use solar energy and clover to fix nitrogen in the soil, not oil and gas. The value of this approach was also confirmed in a report this year by the International Trade Centre, technical advisors to the WTO and UN. The new challenge we face is: how do we feed the world as oil and gas become costlier and scarcer, and as we cut greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050? No one suggests the answer to that is GM.”

Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association, draws attention to a fundamental point. If the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the IAASTD aren’t calling for GM to feed the world, why does the UK government tell us it’s a major reason why we must adopt it?

These questions and more are at the heart of the Feeding The World Conference to be held in Westminster, 12th Nov 2008. More details here…

GM event news

14 October, 2008

Can GM feed the world? If not, what then?

The programme has been updated for the Feeding the World Conference. Feeding the World is a conference that comes at a pivotal time, just as biotech companies have lobbied the Labour Party into accepting GM crops – with no sound reason. Friends of the Earth GM campiagner, Clare Oxborrow, summarised their policy position on video at Friction.TV

Get the latest event news at the GM conference blog.

Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre wins another top industry award!

10 October, 2008

Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre has won the prestigious ‘Green Award’ at the Event Awards 2008. Held at the London Hilton, Park Lane in London in September, the awards applaud the work carried out by event professionals from both the client and supplier sides of the industry.

The Green Award is given to companies who are able to prove that the environmental policies they implement have had a significant impact and contributed to a greener events industry. The team were also runners-up for the ‘Venue in-house Events Team of the Year Award’, a major achivement for such a small team!

Conference – feeding the world

25 September, 2008

Feeding The World.
Are GM Crops fit for Purpose? If not, then what?

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
12 November 2008

This conference will examine, searchingly and honestly, the claims and counter claims of one of the most critical issues of our time.
Event details

Please visit the conference blog for updates and news. Fee: Day tickets available at a supported rate of £65 including attendance, lunch, refreshments and conference pack. Venue: The Queen Elizabeth 2nd Conference Centre, Westminster, London SW1. Map here.

Book your place

Tel: 01488 658279

Why this conference is important

Defra Ministers have recently declared their support for the use of GM crops and given opponents a year to come up with proof that they are harmful.

Yet, a major scientific study, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), has questioned the relevance of GM to food security and has called for a shift to agro-ecological food production.

But will that be enough? Is it possible to feed a growing population on a planet of finite and diminishing resources? This question, together with the claims and counter claims about the potential and limitations of GM cropping, as well as the status of agro-ecological alternatives will be examined by leading researchers and practioners.

With the support and participation of charitable foundations, academics, researchers, NGOs, farmers and policy makers from the UK and abroad this conference brings a wide and challenging perspective to questions and issues that are too often mired in cliché and propaganda.

This conference is being organised by The Organic Research Centre in association with GM Freeze, Friends of the Earth, Practical Action, The Sheepdrove Trust, The Ecologist and Slow Food UK.

Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre

11 August, 2008

Looking for a venue that’s green, eco-friendly, sustainable?
Look no further!

Sustainably designed and run, with its groundbreaking architecture and exceptional location high on the Berkshire Downs, Sheepdrove defines a new approach to conference venues. Just 15 minutes from the M4 and less than one hour from Heathrow Airport, this purpose built centre is housed in a beautiful, eco-friendly building, set at the heart of our farm.

Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre has a uniquely creative, welcoming atmosphere to inspire fresh thinking, motivate delegates and offer a real taste of organic, seasonal produce. All our clients love the experience and the great customer service – which is why we won the accolade of 2008 Most Excellent Dedicated Venue in the Condé Nast Johansens annual awards.

Contact our friendly team to start planning your event with us.