I know people who find my obsession with growing our own food a little strange, but when you look at the challenges faced by farmers, and the fragility of the food supply chain it all becomes clearer.

The BBC’s Farm for the Future is one of the best programmes I’ve seen for highlighting the challenge faced by British farmers in the face of Peak Oil. It’s longer than most of the videos I share, but it really is worth taking the time to watch it – unless you could be outside, gardening:

I’ve been interested in permaculture for years but this is one of the best examples of cold-climate permaculture I’ve ever seen – really clever integration, in an incredibly difficult climate. If they can do it on an Austrian mountainside we should be able to do something here in Manchester.

Our own freshly-pressed apple juiceWent to a great cider-making workshop on Monday night. It was in Hulme, and organised as a joint workshop for Abundance Manchester and the Manchester Permaculture Network. It was a fun night – quartering the apples, shredding them and then crushing to get the juice, with a good break for eating all the delicious food everybody had brought to share. Everybody got some juice to take home too – we haven’t made ours into Cider, we drank it instead and it was delicious!

The workshop gave a good grounding of the basics – I’d need to do a bit more reading before I was confident to turn the juice into our own cider. I’d also learn how to pasteurise the juice so that we could bottle a year’s supply for the kids too.

As soon as our apple crops start to build up we’ll definitely look at making our own juice and cider. After all, cider is a great way to preserve apples for consumption through the year!

Here are some of the pictures from the workshop to give you an idea of the process:

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