Newsletter October – November 2021
Editor: Sam Eccles
Welcome to our first newsletter and a big thank you to everyone who has signed up so far! If you’re receiving this and aren’t yet a member, you can sign up by clicking the join button on our website.
FFSFF at COP26!!
We’ve been lucky enough to secure an indoor stall from the 2nd to the 12th of November as part of COP26. Our stall will be located in Glasgow’s Mitchell library where we’ll be from 10am to 4pm each day spreading the word about stock-free organic/veganic agriculture. If you are in the Glasgow area, please come by and say ‘hello’! Rebecca will also be giving a talk for the Animal Politics Foundation at Sloans Ballroom on the 7th of November at 7:15pm.
An Action for You, Our Members!
The Scottish Government is currently running a public consultation on ‘Agricultural transition – first steps towards our national policy’. The consultation can be found here and will remain open until the 17th of November. This is a great opportunity for our members based in Scotland to have their say about Scotland’s agricultural trajectory. You may want to have a look at our lobbying document and, if you support the ideas and proposals outlined there, include them in your consultation response to exert more pressure on the Scottish Government to support the transition to stock-free farming.
2020-2021: A Year in Review
A brief summary of the main things we’ve been working on:
- In January, we began supporting our first transitioning farmer, Laurence Candy, who is in the process of switching from beef and dairy farming to veganic cereal growing! You can read Rebecca’s full interview with Laurence here.
- Our work has been covered by various media outlets with articles in The Herald, Growing Green International, and The Crofter magazine, as well as being featured on BBC Scotland’s ‘The Nine’! Rebecca has appeared on a number of podcasts and Zoom conferences too from Veganuary to the Rancher’s Advocacy Program Summit.
- Following on from our Three Roads to Stock-Free Farming, we developed a catalogue of over 100 Ways to Farm Stock-Free which aims to provide the inspiration for a just transition for all farmers and crofters, regardless of the type of land they have. Our case-studies show many of these ideas in action.
- After several online discussions with the wonderful Axel Anders and Johannes Eisenbach, we have become the UK partner of the Biocyclic Vegan Standard which offers international veganic certification to farmers and growers.
- We released our survey of farmers and crofters’ attitudes towards change back in the first quarter of 2021 and are still circulating it to increase the number of survey respondents. If you are a Scottish farmer or crofter and would like to take the survey, you can follow this link, or if you know of anyone who is, feel free to share it with them! The response has been very positive so far with a lot of farmers and crofters involved in animal agriculture expressing a desire to move away from or reduce their livestock numbers. Indeed, this has led to us helping some of the respondents implement changes on their farms/crofts!
- Since the summer of 2021, we have stepped up our lobbying efforts, and have come up with several calls to action for the Scottish Government which you can find here.
- Going forward, one of the bigger projects we’re engaging in is a trial of growing white clover and grass for producing leaf protein concentrate or ‘leafu’: a highly nutritious plant-protein for human consumption! This will hopefully be a collaborative project involving several UK farmers, researchers from SRUC, and one or more plant-based businesses. Our aim is to assess the feasibility of the leafu production process, carry out some consumer testing with the finished product, and get leafu registered as a novel food! We’re open to more farmers, crofters, researchers, businesses, or other groups getting involved in this project, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re interested in collaborating.
Leafu has become a fascination for myself and Rebecca at FFSFF, and I have written an article exploring it in depth. In short, however, the real promise that leafu holds is its exceptionally high protein and nutritional qualities and its capability to be grown on marginal lands (which Scotland has plenty of!), where grazing livestock is usually considered the only productive use. White clover leafu has around 48 per cent protein, compared to beef steak at only 31 per cent!
Both Rebecca and I have made leafu using these easy-to-follow directions. I used foraged nettles, while Rebecca used nettles, Jack-by-the-Hedge, and wild garlic all growing in her garden! Eaten “neat”, leafu is a bit of an acquired taste! Added into other foods (smoothies, salads, soups, baked foods) it provides a richness along with a mega-protein and nutritional boost. I used most of it in some tabbouleh and Rebecca added it to a homemade nut roast.
In addition to the leafu, the process also leaves you with two by-products: fibre and whey (see picture below). The fibrous residue has a similar NPK composition to farmyard manure, so it is an excellent fertiliser for your garden. Similarly, don’t discard the liquid ‘whey’, simply mix it 1:1 with water and use it on houseplants or your garden!
Why don’t you try making leafu and let us know how you get on, what foods or drinks you mixed it with, and how you used the by-products. While many leaves are suitable to be made into leafu, to be safe, we recommend that you only use those that are known to be free from carcinogens/toxins. Some examples of potential plants are stinging nettles, white clover, lucerne, oats, field beans, fat hen, sow thistle, ground elder, bramble, and gorse.
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