News: February 2020

We talk about making sustainable food choices and reducing food waste, the latest on our Incredible Edible Project, a Dark Skies event we are supporting and our latest blogs: The Art of Being Ecological, Dark matters and When did we start warming the planet?

Here are a few quick updates on what we’re up to…if you’re on Facebook, please join our group and get involved in the conversations.

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February Food Focus

Did you know we throw away the equivalent of 1 in every 5 bags of food shopping? That’s a lot of wasted money, food, packaging and farming!     This adds up to 7 million tonnes a year across the UK, and tells us that reducing this could save £70 a month for the average family of four – over £800 a year.

Some food ‘culprits’ include milk (mostly because we don’t use it in time), potatoes (170 per household each year), 860,000 apples and 20 million slices of bread every single day. Which items do you tend to waste? Should you buy less, or get creative with ways to use them?

A tip for all that bread is to slice and freeze it, then defrost when you need it. It can be toasted from frozen. For stale bread, grate it (or use a food processor) to make breadcrumbs (which you can freeze), and use these for a crunchy topping on baked fruit, veg, or mac’n’cheese – try adding some herbs, grated cheese and drizzle with vegetable oil or dot with butter. 

Did you try Veganuary? Eating less meat reduces the environmental impact of the food system. On average, we feed 10 calories (as grass or other crops) to animals so they can convert it into just 1 calorie of human-edible food. If this is pasture in upland areas like Swaledale, that’s a good use of land that would be difficult to farm for human-edible crops – but problems arise from using prime growing land for animal feed, or even worse, cutting down rainforests to grow soy and other grains that we then feed to animals.

Making meat a treat, and choosing local, pasture-fed (and ideally organic) meat from happy animals helps reduce your footprint, and support biodiversity and local businesses.

Incredible Edible Swaledale update

Incredible Edible Swaledale is part of a global movement to involve people in planting, looking after and harvesting beautiful fresh fruit and veg that’s grown right on our doorsteps, using public or otherwise unused spaces. Our project in Reeth is starting to take shape, and we are planning some raised beds and a herb garden. Could you help out with spare compost or decent soil? If so, please contact us.

Dark Skies Festival - talk in Low Row

Jupiter, Venus and Moon above the 3 Sisters by Paul Clark

On Tuesday 18th February 2020 at 7.30 pm in Low Row Institute, Paul Clark’s talk about the ‘Swaledale Night Sky’ will feature beautiful timelapse videos and images. We are supporting this fundraiser for the Institute, part of the Yorkshire Dales NPA Dark Skies Festival.

Light pollution is threatening our precious dark skies and there is increasing evidence of the negative impact it has on our environment. 

Tickets are available through the National Park website:, email or from Old Dairy B&B, Low Row.

Get involved!

We meet on the first Thursday of each month. Please email us (, share your sustainability tips on our Sustainable Swaledale Facebook Group, or go to our website where you can sign up to our mailing list.

Enjoy your extra leap year day!

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