Nailsworth and Stroud, are called Fairtrade villages and most of their goods are local, fairtraded and organic even in the “normal” shops.Prices are also not more expensive than other commodities, and sometimes even cheaper. farmers markets exist in almost every town, and Stroud has one every Saturday that is one of the best I’ve seen. the cheeses are to die for and include a huge range.
Ruskin Mill are serious about using the best quality food at the college.They use organic and fairtraded food in everything. The students and everyone who works there get tea, and a cooked lunch with salad, fruit or pudding every day. Most of the food is grown on the farm biodynamically including the meat (lamb, pork,beef and fish). They have a smokery and make sausages and hams. They are producers of organically produced trout that we have every Friday (Fish and chips). We also press our own apple juice.
Two months into my volunteering (I cant believe it has gone so fast) I am feeling fit and full of energy. The food is also very tasty, and it is wonderful to have a hot meal in the middle of the day. Some of the students have eating issues and I am positive that the nutrition has an enormous healing effect. (some students dont like the food and bring their own..poor things). They also cater for allergies.
Even at teatime with the students, they use organic tea and coffee, biscuits and oatcakes with organic butter and jam. They don’t stint on this. All food is sourced from the organic shop that is open to the public and “Bought” by the different units at Ruskin Mill, while products produced are “sold” to the shop and each other. Bread from the bakery is made with organic flour from Shipton Mill and is “sold” to the Canteen and a café open to the public. (These public spaces are used for work experience for the students, where they learn to buy and sell.)
All their cleaning products are environment friendly. Even their so-called sterilisers are simple substances that leave no residue. (Like iodine)
They have a set of compost toilets, but the students avoid these and would rather walk far to find a flushing loo. I tried out the compost loo, which is quite comfortable, its just that its not nice to look down, even though everything gets covered in sand. Its also dark inside.
Electricity is generated by solar panels on as many buildings as can catch the light and also a wind generator pumps electricity back into the electricity grid. In Stroud area, you can connect to Ecotricity, where the electricity you pay for comes from natural sources. This means that even although you may not produce all your electricity naturally, someone is doing so.
An interesting reflection of Africa came up unexpectantly, when one of the students produced a can of what looked like coke, but it was something called UBUNTU cola. Made of herbs, a fairtraded fizzy drink, that put money back into developing nations.