March 2012 Newsletter

Mabel's Farm & Dairy - Thriving after three and a half years


Shipston Energy Exhibition

Shipston School EcoClub & Garden – Help needed

Shipston Pathways

Would you like to keep bees?

Websites from WI Sustainable Day

Rob Hopkins Podcast

Cool Bio News

Local - For Sale


Saturday 3rd March, 10.30 to 4.30 - Warwickshire Transition Networking Day

Sharing skills and resources across local initiatives
Saturday 3 March 2012, 10 for 10.30 am to 4.30 pm
at East Lodge Sustainability Centre, Leamington*
Bring vegetarian lunch to share (tea and coffee provided).
*East Lodge Sustainability Centre is at the east gate of Jephson Gardens, Willes Road, Leamington CV32 4ER

Sunday 4th March 10.30 to 12.00 – Fruit Tree Grafting Skill Share

Jenny Lanham is hosting the session at her allotment in Long Compton. We have bought 5 apple, 5 pear, 5 cherry and 5 plum rootstocks and have taken cuttings from heritage fruit trees in local orchards. The session will include grafting and potting the plants. After a year or so we hope to sell the fruit trees at fairs or buy them ourselves.

We will be mainly in the polytunnel (esp if rain), but we will need to do some digging. Jenny will provide tea and coffee, but is happy if people want to do a bring and share/light lunch. There will also be some raspberry plants (summer fruiting) and strawberry runners if people would like to dig them and take them home. The raspberries can go home on the day, but the strawberries will need to be planted and given a couple weeks to set into the pots before being cut from the main plant - so you will also need to label any you pot up as yours.
Bring: your wellies and warm clothing... sharp pocket knife/pruning knife... gardening gloves... mug for tea or coffee... something to sit on (there will be a couple chairs)
***If anyone has any spare large pots for the grafts we would appreciate them. Also, we will be making labels from old soda cans, so please bring a few if you have any about.
Directions: Coming from Shipston head through Long Compton. At the far end of the village there is a 'V' with a side road to the right. Take this road, past the MOT garage on the Right. Just past the national speed limit signs are the allotments - park along the road, but not blocking the gate or the drive up to the farm please. If you get lost, call 07973 846605Sunday 4th March 2.00 Community Garden Season Opening
We will be discussing and preparing things for the new season.
Pop into the Community Garden at any time from 2.00 to 5.00
(For anyone who hasn't been before the garden is at the Darlingscote Rd crossroad with the Fosse)
***We will be having regular work sessions at the garden on the 1st and 3rd Sundays in the month between 2pm and 5pm.

Tuesday 6th March, 7.30 – Supermarket Debate
Save Our Town Centre – Stop the Supermarket”
Townsend Hall, Sheep Street, Shipston
Wednesday 6th March, 6.00 - Transition Energy Group
White Bear pub, Shipston
Saturday 10th March 2012, 9.30am to 3.30pm – Shipston Bee-keepers Candlemaking Workshop
Dipped and moulded beeswax candles
Beeswax for showing – its preparation and presentation
Presenters: Sue Carter & Bill Fisher – prize winners at the National Honey Show.
Venue: Oxhill Village Hall, Main Street, Oxhill CV35 0QU
(Note: Oxhill is midway between Stratford & Banbury – just off the A422)
Cost: £10 including refreshments and light lunch
Bookings: Douglas Nethercleft 07850 352905 /
Thursday 15th March, 7.00 – “Austrian Themed Bring & Share Food followed by film
Farming with Nature” - an eco-film with Sepp Holzer
Hartwood, 11 The Green, Stretton-on-Fosse
Sunday 18th March 2.00 Community Garden
Preparing for the new season. Plus seed swapping session
Pop in any time from 2.00 to 5.00
Wednesday 21st March 4pm to 9pm - Shipston Energy Exhibition
Townsend Hall, Sheep Street, Shipston
Wednesday 4th April 7.00 – Transition Shipston AGM
Followed by the Annual Party at 8.00
Black Horse Pub
For more information on events contact Dave on 01608 661816 or 07973 846605
Mabel's Farm & Dairy
Thriving after three and a half years
Three and a half years ago Sid Betteridge and his wife Audrey almost had to give up dairy farming on their 70 acres at Mabel's Farm near Ilmington. They had a 89 cow dairy herd and were sell the milk to supermarkets who were squeezing them on the price and the costs of buying in animal feed rising. They decided to cut the size of the herd, start their own dairy and sell the milk directly around the Shipston area. They invested in a £12000 worth of pasteurising equipment and were lucky to be loaned a bottling plant by Holmleigh Dairies of Donnington. They reduced their herd to 48 cows so that they needed to buy in less feed and they bought their own bull.
However, on the first day of their new venture they only sold 27 bottles of milk! Sid said “I really got an ear bending from Audrey that night. We wondered whether we had done the right thing and would loose all out money.” But with the help and support of their family (they have three daughters and 4 grandchildren) they now have a thriving business with around 400 customers and are considering taking on more staff. Many of the new customers have come from recommendations. The milk is fresh every day and Sid make sure that people get their milk. Even in the worst weather conditions – last winter in the bad snow they delivered to Holford by tractor! Another big boost to their customer numbers was having stalls at the Wool Fair and the Harvest Fayre in Shipston last year.
Sid does not use pesticides or herbicides but is not officially organic because the cost of becoming registered with the Soil Association would have been £6500 in the first 3 years... which would have been a cost too high to bare. They use their own farmyard manure but have to spread it carefully. Sid says he can look after the welfare of the cows better with the smaller herd.
Mabel's Farm and Dairy has shown that small farms who provide their produce directly to customers without going through middlemen can thrive. Instead of all the profit from Sid and Audrey's work being “creamed off” by supermarkets the money has stayed in the local economy and helped Sid pay off his overdraft. Food miles have been reduced and customers can look forward to fresh wholesome milk everyday. Sid says “if we hadn't decided to set up the dairy 3.5 years ago we wouldn't be farming now.
Contact Sid & Audrey Betteridge on 01608 682454
A campaign to fight developers’ plans to build a superstore in the Campden Road outside Shipston will be launched at a public meeting in March. Our MP, Nadhim Zahawi, supports Transition Shipston's campaign, as does county councillor and district council leader Chris Saint, and district councillors Jonathan Gullis and Richard Cheney.
The meeting, arranged by Transition Shipston, will be held in the Townsend Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday March 6th. Transition's Helen Winnifrith said: “Lancashire based developers Ainscough Strategic Land are pressing ahead with their plans for a 2,500 sq metre supermarket, despite widespread opposition from local residents who fear that its development will sound the death-knell for our town centre shops and businesses.
Ainscough deny the reality of these concerns. It is now time for local action.
I urge everyone who values Shipston’s town centre to come along to the meeting and help plan how we deal with the threat of this superstore - which would be 25 per cent larger than the Tesco at Stow,” added Mrs Winnifrith. The meeting will be chaired by Town Mayor, Councillor Paul Rathkey.
After a short presentation by local speakers, people will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas to help plan the campaign, or simply pledge their support.
You can lodge objections until 29th March on the Stratford-on-Avon District Council website:
Shipston Energy Exhibition
Thanks to a successful application through the Local Energy Assessment Fund, Act on Energy -working with Stratford on Avon District Council and Transition Shipston- will be carrying out some energy conservation activities and promotions in several communities in Stratford district over the next few months.
This will commence with an exhibition in the Townsend Hall in Shipston on Stour with several local companies and organisations there to demonstrate different types of insulation, heating, lighting and renewable energy technologies and things that help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. There will also be a presentation from a local project so you can see what can be achieved when communities get together to help themselves. The exhibition will be open from 4pm to 9pm on 21 March 2012.
If anyone is interested in knowing more or setting up their own local community initiatives to make energy more affordable, there will be an opportunity to attend free training sessions to give you the confidence and knowledge to become an energy champion for your community.
We will also be creating case studies of local homes where energy saving measures have already been adopted so others can see how successful they are and hear how the owners have benefitted. These will be available on a website in the next couple of months with an opportunity to visit some of the homes to see first hand what’s involved, how much it costs and how much it saves.
Energy costs have doubled in the last 5 years and will continue rising in the years to come. Being more energy efficient is the only way to protect yourself from the increasing cost of heating your home.”
For more information contact David Jullien at Act on Energy 01789 842898 or David Passingham at Transition Shipston 07973 846605

Shipston School EcoClub & Garden – Help needed
For the last two years Transition Shipston has been helping the High School with their EcoClub and Gardening Club. Last year the school put in raised beds - the children had a bed each and had a really good harvest. This year we are making a garden pond with a fountain in the centre of the garden and connecting the solar panel on the Transition Tower to run the pump for the fountain. One of our helpers is leaving soon and other helpers are needed. Any volunteers?...
Contact: Sharyn Singer 07804 308333

Shipston Pathways
Two Transition Shipston supporters joined with Stratford District Council, Stour Enterprise Centre, Orbit Housing, the Police and other agencies in the “Shipston Pathways Project” on Friday 17th February. We were there with our “Energy Champion” hats on to give initial advice on energy efficiency in the home. There was a dozen helpers in all and we split into pairs to cover the Queen's Avenue and Station Road areas. We knocked on around 250 doors asking residents if they felt they were getting all the services that are available and asking them to fill in a questionnaire. Paul Chapman of SDC said “The weather was kind to us, as were many of the residents. It looks like we achieved 66 substantive interviews – and knocked on the doors of over 200 others. I feel that this means that we have reached far more people than the traditional means of mounting an exhibition in a hall”.

A lot of people keep bees because they produce honey, one of the healthiest and most natural foods and one which has been valued by man since prehistory as a sweetener. Others keep bees because they are interested in the study of bees and of their habits; bees are fascinating creatures and there is always something new to learn about them. With no means of dealing with the varroa mite that is now present in all UK honey bee colonies, a feral honey bee nest is unlikely to remain viable for more than a couple of seasons. With the help of beekeepers it is only managed colonies that can survive to carry out the essential pollination our food crops. Beekeeping is an enjoyable open air hobby bringing you in contact with people from all walks of life. Bees can be kept by almost everyone except a very small minority who are allergic to bee stings.
Shipston Beekeepers are holding an “Introduction to Beekeeping” day on Saturday 14th April at the Old Free School, Brailes OX15 5HT. The day will deal with the basics of beekeeping for the complete beginner or those with very limited experience of this craft.
Arrive at 09.30 for coffee prior to a prompt 10.00 start. Refreshments and a light lunch are included in the day’s price of £30. The event is scheduled to finish at 15.30 approx.
Contact: Douglas Nethercleft on 01295 680041 or to book your place. Numbers are limited.

Websites from WI Sustainable Day
Pam Bennett attended Sustainable Day organised by the WI. Here are some useful websites they were told about:
The Edible Bus Stop – A community garden in London Ideas of how to make and mend lots of household stuff. Helping communities reduce energy use. Drinking tap water saves money and help people all over the world gain access to clean water. An idea from the Eden Project, to encourage everyone in the UK to have lunch with their neighbours once a year. Resources for lending and borrowing.
Visit Project Dirt online at and connect up to over 5,000 like-minded people.

Rob Hopkins Podcast
Link to the latest podcast on Radio 4… it was very inspirational… worth 15mins of anyone’s time and perhaps worth a direct link from the website?

Cool Bio News
Sent in by Martyn Robinson:
Banbury’s Waste To Energy Sustainability Journey takes another step forward as our ‘Home Of Kenco’ celebrates approval of a £900,000 investment for a Bio Gas Engine. Methane gas is a by-product of the waste coffee treatment plant and for many years has just been flared off. This investment will allow for this gas to be captured, cleaned and burnt in a new Bio Gas Engine that will supply electricity and steam to power the manufacturing process. The investment planned to come live in the summer will lead to an off-set of 630Tonnes of Co2 emissions whilst producing 2.5% of total site electricity which is enough to power 400 UK homes for a year!

Local - For Sale

Double bed for sale – fantastic handmade mattress, base, headboard, duvets of different sizes, mattress cover. It can be viewed this week at the storage unit –Fosseway Hire in Shipston. Price-we paid £900 for it brand new 3 years go-so best offer?
Contact: Sharyn Singer 07804 308333

Rowborough Farm - locally produced meat

All our stock has been either born on the farm (cattle and sheep) or purchased from local farms and reared here (pigs). The cattle and sheep are raised on a diet of grass and straight cereals and the pigs on locally grown barley meal. They have all been slaughtered at a small local abattoir, who butcher and pack the meat for us. They are a long established family firm who hang the meat well.

Lamb prices

Mince £4.00/lb

Pork prices

Leg £2.00/lb

Shoulder boned and rolled £2.00/lb

Sausages and bacon - also made locally for us

The sausages are very meaty, made with the shoulder and belly pork (all large, no chipolatas).

All flavours come in packs of 6 at £3.10/pack

Ham (2-7lb joints) £4.10/lb


Locally butchered and hung for 28 days

Sirloin steaks £6.00/lb

Rump steaks £5.00/lb

Fillet £10.00/lb

Frying steak (topside) £3.50/lb

Braising steak £3.00/lb

Mince £3.00/lb     

Contact: Sue Finlay 01608 661157

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