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Terra Madre – Mother Earth day

first_imgLinkedin Advertisement Email THIS week, Jennifer Allen guest writes on Food For Thought to tell us about Terra Madre and its connection to Slow Food.“Terra Madre, or Mother Earth day, falls on December 10. But what’s it all about? Terra Madre is one very significant aspect of the Slow Food movement, consisting of a broad, global network of food producers, cooks and experts, who share a passion for preserving food diversity in all its shapes and sizes.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up We are becoming increasingly reliant on an increasingly diminished array of foods, with an ever lengthening chain between us and whoever produced those foods. Obviously, from a gastronomic viewpoint, being restricted to a tiny window of generic foods is bland and not very inspiring. But, on a more profound level, lack of diversity can have serious economic and environmental consequences. In the natural environment, if one food fails, there are so many others to choose from, it doesn’t pose any significant risk. If, however, a whole community relies on growing one food, failure of that one crop can spell disaster. Likewise, the more alienated from our food supply we become as consumers, the less control we have over how that food is created and the consequences if our supply is cut off.Rather than lamenting this potentially negative scenario though, let’s shine a light on the wonderful richness of foods we have on our doorstep.A few years ago, two students from the Organic College in Dromcollogher were out strolling and foraging in Springfield, co Limerick, when they came across an apple tree. This tree, with its distinctive very large yellow apples, with some fruits weighing over a pound, was unfamiliar to either of them. They investigated the puckered, ribbed apples further, only to find no record existed of such a variety. A new star was born! Appletown Wonder is now on the list of native apple varieties at Seedsavers in Scariff, along with about 140 others. Add to that 600 heirloom varieties of vegetables, 48 heirloom grain varieties and an heirloom potato collection and you have a stunning testament to the diversity and abundance of wonderful foods available on our doorstep,if we take the time to look after them. And Seedsavers has certainly done that. Founded by Anita Hayes in 1991, Seedsavers main aim is the conservation of Irelands very special and threatened plant genetic resources. Their focus is on the preservation of heritage varieties, suitable for Irelands growing conditions. This is a key Slow Food principle, where local is king. Combine that with the skill and knowledge in cultivating these precious crops which has come from the years of patience and hardwork of Seedsavers staff and volunteers and you see how Seedsavers is the living embodiment of what Terra Madre is all about. Having the flavourful, resilient seeds will only get you so far, after all, without the ability to grow them well. Not alone does Seedsavers provide manuals on the art of seedsaving, it also holds workshops on organic gardening, orchard creation, cheesemaking and beekeeping, skills which have stood us well since the earliest monks embraced them, yet seem outrageously foreign to a generation of die-hard supermarket shoppers.So how can you play your part for Terra Madre? Well, it doesn’t have to involve foraging for heritage varieties of apples, unless you want to, of course. You could support a local grower who produces heritage varieties of food. You could leave the mangetout from Kenya on the shelf and ask your supermarket to provide locally produced vegetables instead. Or you could write to your local TD, asking them to support small scale producers and growers in getting a fair price for their work. Or maybe you want to take a community group on a trip to Scariff to have a look at the amazing work of Seedsavers firsthand. Who knows, some of you might be inspired to join up and get your own heritage seeds to plant. Our future heritage starts now. What would you like it to be?” NewsTerra Madre – Mother Earth dayBy admin – December 10, 2009 649 WhatsAppcenter_img Print Twitter Facebook Previous articleLimerick accounts for eight creditors meetings in Q3Next articleWhat’s new in the wine world this week adminlast_img read more

DB members in ‘riskier situation’ through Scottish independence

first_imgHowever, James Dean, partner at legal firm TLT, said there were indications a separate scheme would struggle to provide the same level of protection members currently experience.“There is more spreading of risk with the current PPF because of the jurisdictions which are involved. There are more schemes,” he said.The concerns would lie with the large financial institutions in Scotland being the main levy contributors to the fund.However, in the event of insolvency, these funds could be too large for a Scottish PPF to manage, as well as it losing a significant source of levy income.“If you limit the number of schemes, and base it on a few, large employers, and one falls over then the risk would be greater to members,” Dean said.In a paper published last year – ‘Pensions in an Independent Scotland’ – the Scottish government proposed to “closely align” the regulatory system with that of the UK.It said it would ensure schemes remain protected and Scottish PPF members continue to receive their pension.It added the best interest for all parties was for Scottish schemes and members to remain covered by the existing PPF, but said it would establish an equivalent fund if necessary.Dean said it is understood the UK government is not keen on cross-border arrangements, while any PPF-sharing would rely on Scotland continuing to use sterling as its currency, currently a point of contention between the supporters and opponents of independence.Joanne Shepard, senior consultant at Towers Watson, said currency would be an issue despite continued participation remaining the simpler option over establishing a Scottish PPF.Precedent for the sharing of lender of last resort for pension funds does currently exists between Germany and Luxembourg, namely through the Pensions-Sicherungs-Verein (PSV). However, the Luxembourg schemes are vehicles set up under German law. “Both options are quite difficult and require quite a lot of thought,” she said.She said the splitting of the current PPF to account for levy contributions from Scottish firms would be difficult to calculate, leading to the potential of prolonged litigation.While levies contributed to the payment of pensions from the PPF, they were also used to support the creation of a surplus, allowing the fund to be self-sufficient by 2030.The fund recently said there was a 90% probability it would reach its target, with Scottish contributors entitled to benefit from this.“Past service pensions and levies already paid have never been split out in any shape of form,” Shepard said.“A Scottish PPF would also need assets to initially cover pensions depending on how it expects to build up its portfolio,” she added.However, Nick Griggs, partner at consultancy Barnett Waddingham, said the risks with a cross-border fund would be high.The issue relates to Scotland promising to create its own regulator, albeit basing this on the current model.The UK regulator’s objectives includes protecting the PPF from risk and from being over burdened.Griggs said if a Scottish regulator took a more relaxed stance on DB funding, the risks to the PPF could increase.“It would not seem fair,” he said.“If you have two regulators, you would need two separate lifeboat funds.”“I would have thought they would have to set up a Scottish PPF, which would take on some assets and the surplus to pre-fund itself.“The liabilities would be complicated and I don’t know how that would be practical,” he added.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to Scottish government’s paper ‘Pensions in an Independent Scotland’ Scottish defined benefit (DB) members would be at greater risk of losing part of their pension if an independent Scotland attempted to set up its own lifeboat fund, lawyers have warned.With a vote on 18 September to decide on whether Scotland secedes from the UK, the potential level of protection offered to members in an independent Scotland has caused concerns.The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) currently covers Scottish companies and members, with all schemes contributing through levies.The Scottish government said an independent country would offer the same protection as the PPF to Scottish members, either through a cross-border arrangement with the existing fund, or through a new offering.last_img read more