Newsletter – July 2015

Welcome to the 1st Summer 2015 edition of Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere news!
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In  this Year of Food and Drink, and at the seasonal month of July when we celebrate berries, our thoughts and efforts focus on the natural larder around us. The Ayrshire Food Network which brings together producers and providers of locally sourced short supply chain food is delighted to become a proud supporter of the Biosphere by signing the Biosphere Charter. We look forward to working with others to drive forward this initiative to support the economy to benefit people and nature. The UNESCO Biosphere is a place where cooperation and collaboration between people from all walks of life show that a sustainable way of living living is not only possible but already happening. The future is here but sometimes may be difficult to see!

A successful food system should include the highest level of 
stewardship, community values and well-being for the people served by it without compromising the sustainability of the system, and its ability to feed future generations. May the Biosphere Partnership become an exemplar of food leadership.
Best wishes
Howard Wilkinson  (Chairperson Ayrshire Food Network) 


Mark at Galloway Wild Foods has signed the Charter because the Biosphere principles fit perfectly with his own. Through Galloway Wild Foods he teaches about mindful foraging for food and medicine using common plants such as the elder, (flowering in July they can be used to flavour drinks and much more - berries come later).

Galloway Wild Foods is a micro business, providing a modest income for Mark through selling places on guided walks, private tuition, writing and consulting. Providing Scotland's only professionally led foraging walks has resulted in bringing visitors to the Biosphere from far and wide, often for the first time, and showing the area's natural assets off in the best possible light. 

Sheena at Galloway Chillies is another Biosphere supporter who is adding a new twist to local food through her passion for chillies and making preserves. Growing over 80 chilli varieties she makes her quality preserves in small batches in her kitchen and sells in local shops, markets and further afield.  


Glentrool and Bargrennan Community Trust continue to organise a series of Biosphere talks that are taking place every month at the Community Centre in Glentrool. Red squirrels and the conflict with the invasive grey squirrels are the next topic for a FREE talk by Martin Webber from Forestry Commission Scotland.

The talk starts at 2.00pm on Wednesday 12th August. All are welcome and tea and coffee is served after the talk.


We are delighted that schools are signing the Biosphere Charter to demonstrate their support of the Biosphere principles.

Sanquhar Academy was the first to join up after taking part in the Fishing for the Future 
project run by the Nith Catchment Fishery Trust. The project used  the life cycle of Atlantic salmon to demonstrate the connection between the freshwater and marine environments and how the sustainable harvesting of fish, from recreational angling and commercial fisheries, is important to the rural economy and local communities.

Pupils from Gatehouse Primary School have also signed the Charter.  They grow food in their eco-garden, polytunnel, orchard and herb garden and plan to spread the word about Biosphere. They will tell the other children at a school assembly, parents through their newsletter and the Proud Supporter sticker in the window at the front of the school.  


Biosphere is pleased to be taking part in the Auchinleck Estate Bioblitz event to seek out the hidden natural treasures of this historic site. Wildlife watchers are invited by East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative to converge on Auchinleck Etate on Saturday 18th July to find, identify, and learn about as many local plant and animal species as possible – all in one day.

Starting at 10.00am the ‘base camp’ will be next to Boswell’s Coach House Cafe (KA18 2NY) where there will be plenty of wildlife for all to discover.
See you there!
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