The carp have arrived, and seem to be enjoying their new home. It was slightly surreal coming home to a box of live fish, but after a gentle introduction to our tanks they all swam off happily, showing no ill effects.

We got a couple of kilos of carp food delivered with the fish, but as they’re far more omnivorous than the trout we’re keen to try something a bit more home-grown.

Some of our sumps are doing well at growing duckweed so I thought that would be a good start and added a net-full of duckweed to their tank.

They’re much gentler feeders than the trout, so I haven’t seen them aggressively attacking clumps of weed, but it is steadily disappearing.

At this stage, with tiny digestive systems, they need to be able to “graze” through the day, and I think the duckweed helps with that between their main feedtimes.

As they grow we’ll try to expand their diet further to see if we can eventually produce all their feed in-house – ideally from waste, or areas we’re not using for our food.

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Come along – I’ll be there!

Action for Sustainable Living
Action for Sustainable Living
We’ve just had a great visit from Action for Sustainable Living. They’re a really inspirational local charity working on building a sustainable future in Machester and Trafford – they’ve even been nationally recognised for their work, winning the 2008 National Guardian Charity Awards.

They’re looking out for local people who are passionate about making their communities a better place, so we said we’d help get the word out!

Volunteering with Action for Sustainable Living is a good way to gain amazing work experience with an award winning charity. As a volunteer you’ll make a massive difference in your local community by designing and implementing a sustainable project. They’re looking for Local Project Managers to cover Stretford, Urmston and Sale areas, complementing the volunteers they already have throughout Trafford.

The role is a challenging yet rewarding one; you will develop new skills, meet new people and really feel like you are making a difference. If you are an enthusiastic, self-motivated individual able to offer at least eight hours per week to support AfSL’s activities, why not nominate yourself for this unique opportunity?

‘To me, the 8 hours per week that I contribute to Action for Sustainable Living are more meaningful than a full-time job in any non-sustainable organisation’.

AfSL Local Project Manager Manchester City Centre

You won’t need any previous experience, and there’s a lot you can get out of it personally:

  • Voluntary experience can help you get the career you want
  • You’ll get lots of support, training, resources and mentoring from AfSL
  • You’ll be able to see that you’ve made a real difference in your local area

Local Project Managers attend events, give talks and workshops and set up local action groups and projects (Don’t worry! AfSL will help you get ready for these). Previous Local Project Managers have set up community allotment projects, fair trade societies, energy action teams, composting schemes, local shop campaigns and a whole range of interesting, locally-relevant things. You just need to be able to commit eight hours a week for six months or more.

You do need to apply – the deadline for applications is on Friday 18th September at 12pm, and if you’re interested in finding out more you can contact AfSL (details below) or attend the LPM Introduction evening on Thurs 17th Sept at 5:30pm (contact them to confirm your place).

If you want an application pack or have any questions you can contact Helen at trafford@afsl.org.uk, or by calling o845 634 4510. And you can find out more about AfSL at their website – www.afsl.org.uk

Action for Sustainable Living Volunteers

Monty Don, gardener, journalist, author, ex-presenter of Gardener’s World and now President of the Soil Association is a convert to the Peak Oil cause and the Transition Movement.

Last November he wrote a great article for Gardener’s World magazine – you can find a copy over on Transition Culture – in it he talks about the invisible footprint we leave as gardeners, and stresses that we need to move to a much more local society.

This August, just as he starts his new post at the Soil Association, he gave a wonderful interview to The Guardian. In it he discusses creating an underground movement to spread the message that we need to be growing much more of our own food. He also wants to move the Soil Association into a more central role in ensuring the sustainability of Britain’s food supply.

I would much rather someone bought food that was local and sustainable but not organic than bought organic food that had to be shipped across the world. We’ve got to move away from making people feel lesser because they’re not [eating] organic. There is no doubt about it, ‘sustainable’ is a better expression for the same sorts of ideas than ‘organic’.

You can see this emphasis through the work the Soil Association is doing now – their latest taste of the good life courses talk about helping to “create a vibrant relocalised food culture” and leading “a planet friendly lifestyle”.

Monty will be one to watch – let’s hope he manages to get his guerilla gardening movement going – we’ll all be better prepared if he does.