'Venus' or 'Penus'

Yesterday I was teaching my son and sudenly , he shocked me with his rhyming knowledge and simplicity. I was teaching him about the planet and told him that a planet is 'Venus' . I was not finished when he shouted 'what Penus ?' . I said no it is Venus and then he said but it rhymes with 'Penus' ...I simplye could not do anything but smile...

Hvordan være mer sunt enn meg ?

Eat your last meal by 7:30 pm : Our body's metabolism slows down after 8 pm. Hence, digesting food after this time becomes difficult. Also, we should wait for at least two hours after you eat before you go to sleep. Ideally, go for a late evening stroll after your meal.

Drink plenty of water : It is advisable to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water when we wake up in the morning. But if that's not possible, simply drink guzzle down water at intervals throughout the day.Water helps to flush out toxins from the body and purify the system. Every morning, drink water, about 1/3 of a one-litre bottle, before you even brush your teeth.

But don't force yourself to drink all the water. Drink as much as you can. After about 40 minutes, you can go about doing your daily chores.

Don't skip breakfast : Indulge in a power breakfast every morning. The best part is that a power breakfast requires no preparation. Rejuvenate our body and increase its vitality with plenty of fruits, vegetables and juices. It is a great power breakfast. We might want to stay away from very oily foods like parathas, medu wadas etc. They tend to make your system sluggish.

Problem with improper breakfast :

  • Stomach feel heavy throughout the day?

  • Burp constantly?

  • Suffer from indigestion, constipation and feel a burning sensation in your food pipe?

  • Regular gas formation

  • A sour taste whenever we burp

Wake up early : You will be surprised at how much a couple of extra hours can do to turn your day around. Your day will be longer and you will find it possible to do more fruitful activities besides sitting in the office. Try just a single extra hour for starters and gradually increase it. Remember, eight hours of sleep (ideally 10 pm to 6 am) is all you need. So the extra time you sleep is not doing you much good anyway.

Go with the flow : Give your stomach some rest by adopting a liquid diet once a week. This way you will also be lubricating your entire system, and giving it essential liquid nutrients.Throughout the day you can have your choice of juices, milkshakes, tea, coffee and soup. Make sure that you don't indulge in soft drinks and alcohol.Papaya juice is a healthy way to clear out your stomach. It also offers relief for constipation and other stomach problems.If you feel hungry by the end of the day, have dinner. But eat half of your usual quantity.

When thirsty eat liquid, when hungry drink food : This simply means, when you are thirsty or otherwise, never drink water or any other liquids at a stretch. Drink your water slowly, as if you were eating it, sip by sip! This will help flush down the toxins in your body.For eating, "drink food" simply means chew the food up as much you can before you swallow. This helps digestion.

Buttermilk rocks! : Make a glass a buttermilk part of your daily diet . Try it without salt or sugar… it is fat-free and nutritious.

Life, minus salt and sugar… : Try to reduce your intake of salt and sugar but don't stop it all at once. While drinking tea or fruit juices, use the minimum amount of sugar that you can.

Potatoes! : yes , strange as it may sound, potatoes are good for your health. But this only applies to steamed or baked potatoes with the skin. Also, avoid seasoning like salt and butter.

Detox your body :

Detox juice : Detox juice fasting are believed by many to jumpstart and rejuvenate the body's natural detoxification process. It is suggested the detox juice fasting begin during spring and the warmer months of the year. It is recommended that the individual refrain from or limit their dietary intake of animal meat, fish, eggs, sugar, dairy, wheat, caffeine, nicotine or alcohol for at least one week prior to beginning detox juice fasting. The diet should consist of mostly organic fruits, vegetables and beans.

Between 32 to 64 ounces of juice should be consumed daily. Organic fruits and vegetables are highly recommended. If organic options aren't available it is suggested that the skin be peeled from fruits and vegetables or the items should be washed with a non-toxic produce cleaner, usually available at health food stores. Typical fruits and vegetables used in detox juice fasting include carrot, celery, kale, cabbage, apple, pineapple, cranberry, spinach, beets and greens. It is recommended that citrus fruits be avoided. Particularly grapefruits or grapefruit juice, especially if someone is on prescription drugs. A compound in grapefruits has been known to interact with some prescription medication resulting in an increase in blood levels of the drug.

Detox juice fasting is not recommended for durations longer than one to three days. Longer durations must require medical supervision as fasting can lead to nutrient deficiencies, particularly protein and calcium deficiency.

Power-plant-in-a-box....We are proud of Dr. K.R.Sridhar..Indians are THE BEST

please visit this website...www.bloomenergy.com/..it does not say anything about
the company but ...I love this ....I would love to see this company become THE BEST ENERGY COMPANY lead by an INDIAN.

Above little box called BLOOM BOX , feeds oxygen into one side of a cell while fuel (solar, natural gas, bio gas, etc.) is entered through the other side. This combination provides a chemical reaction that is needed to produce power. The cells are composed of fairly inexpensive ceramic disks that are painted with a proprietary green “ink” on one side and a black “ink” on the flip side. This takes a drastic turn from conventional energy-producing equipment that requires precious/expensive materials.

The best part of Bloom Box is that it is wireless and it emits ZERO emissions. One box can power a standard European home or a low-emission American home, and 2 Bloom Boxes can power a high-consumption American home.

According to Bloom Energy, large cells geared towards corporations and big businesses cost from $700,000 to $800,000 and are the size of a refrigerator. In comparison to other energy-related technology, the Bloom Box is miniscule.

Google, the creator of all things cool, was first to use Bloom Energy’s Bloom Box to power one of its data centers and has been using the device for the past 18 months. Aside from Google, FedEx, Wal-mart and Ebay are taking the green plunge and investing in Bloom Boxes. Ebay installed the boxes on the front lawn of its San Jose location and is expecting to acquire nearly 15% of its energy needs from Bloom devices. California subsidizes 20% of the cost, so it’s a good investment for local corporations.

On Wednesday, 24th February 2010, Bloom Energy will go public and release details about their much-anticipated energy box is available on Bloom Box Website - www.bloomenergy.com

The man at the center of all the excitement is Dr K.R. Sridhar, 49, who, prior to founding Bloom Energy, was a professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as well as Director of the Space Technologies Laboratory (STL) at the University of Arizona. He is also, literally, a rocket scientist, having served as an advisor to NASA in the areas of nanotechnology and planetary missions. Sridhar initially developed the idea behind the Bloom Box while working with NASA, as a means of producing oxygen for astronauts landing on Mars.

Dr. Sridhar received his Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Madras, India, and moved to in the 1980s to the U.S, where he earned an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, home to such start ups as Netscape. On Sunday, CBS’ 60 Minutes homed in on Sridhar’s breakthrough technology, bringing huge attention to Bloom Energy’s bare-bones website that ran a cryptic visual saying ''Be the Solution''

Shopping for Indian groceries in Grønland market

Many of my colleagues come from India on long/short term assignments in Oslo. As eating out is expensive and eating out everyday is not practically possible so first thing that an Indian looks for is grocery shop in Oslo. All Asian shop are in Groanland  area and to be more specific there is a shop named 'Siddiqi shop'( green dot at the right border ) at Norbygate road( see the short green line on right border ) . These guys sell most of Indian/Pakistani cooking material. Red dark line is the karl johans road.The nearest metro station(Groanland  )in greenland is also marked with red circle.

Dark pink line, is the road taking to your living place. Red square at the end of red line is the BUS stop from where you can take the BUS to groanland. 

Now How to start from National Theater : 
Take Bus number 31/30 to reach the bus stop called Jernbanetorget (foran Oslo S) and take BUS 60 from there - follow from point 3 below. - 5 minutes journey time.
1. Start walking in the direction of red arrow on karl johan. Don't stop until you see the statue of tiger( see the small red circle).This statue is quite prominent in Oslo central.
2. Look around you will find the BUS stop( called the Jernbanetorget (foran Oslo S)  little bit away from tiger statue( in the same side as tiger statue).
3. Goto the BUS stop and see the display and time table to confirm the time of BUS number 60( Bus 60 towards Tonsenhagen o/ Hasle ).
4. Take BUS 60 and get off at the stop called Norbygate (second stop after Jernbanetorget) - 3 minutes journey time.
5. Walk 50 steps in the same side of the where you get off and the shop is on your side.

How to return :
1. Take the same BUS 60 from the opposite side of the same BUS stop.
2. Get off at the Jernbanetorget (foran Oslo S) .
3. Wait for BUS 30 or 31 to come at the same side of stop.
4. Take BUS 30 or 31 and get off at National Theater. 

Hope this helps.....

Another NRI(Dr. Prajapati Trivedi ) working for great cause....

The Mission: Secretary, performance management. To set up a transparent and objective performance appraisal system for the various ministries.

The Difference He Makes: He comes with rich experience. His World Bank stint took him to places as diverse as Kenya, Riyadh and Gaza--he has worked with 26 governments across the world. That gives him the ability to tap into some of the best practices in different parts of the world.

Key Insight: “At the end of the entire exercise, we can name and shame, say the top 10 ministries and bottom 10 ministries, unleashing a competitive zeal inside the government. ”

After doing everything else, this was the ideal job. The job was so compelling. I got this opportunity to close the implementation gap in the government. With my World Bank experience and my global networks, I also had this ability to tap into some of the best practices in different parts of the world. It’s well established that the big difference between the developed country and developing ones is not so much about strategising and planning but implementation. I had been writing a lot to the Indian government, made proposals wanting to work here. I was helping other governments and I wanted to do it for India.

On January 2, 2009, I got a call from the cabinet secretary if I would like to join. A reluctant World Bank was advising me to wait for the elections to get over before taking the plunge. I told them I shouldn’t be thinking about election results if I was serious about what I wanted to do. I was coming here for the country, not for the government and that’s the reason why my post was made a bureaucratic assignment.

So who vets the performance against targets at the end of the year? Instead of government doing it, we have formed an independent, non-government task force of 15-20 people as knowledge partners. They are a set of IIM professors, ex-secretaries. The key to success was having a large competent and independent group of experts. They went through training.

What am I doing?

For the first time, the government department will have an elaborate procedure for setting priorities, defining performance and deliverables and then each of them will be judged according to how they perform by an independent committee comprising IIM professors and ex-bureaucrats. It has begun with the ministries but soon it will trickle down to cover bureaucrats as well.

The first stage of this system is to prepare a Results Framework document (RFD). The 12-page document provides a summary of the most important results that a department/ministry is expected to achieve during the financial year. This document has two main purposes: Move the focus of the department from process orientation to results orientation and provide an objective and fair basis to evaluate the department’s overall performance.

The document is prepared with internal consultations within specific ministries, aligned with government’s annual and five-yearly plans and is vetted and approved by a high power committee on government performance led by the cabinet secretary. Once it gets finalised [it] becomes a contract document against which each ministry and department’s performance will be judged at the end of the year.

The performance results [will be] put on the ministry Web site.

What’s the big deal? This is the first time priorities will be made clear with corresponding weightages. Everything has a timeline with rewards for timely submissions built into the system.

All of it will be done electronically so that the government has access to the progress report virtually on a daily basis. If it is not uploaded, we presume it’s not done. And at the end of the entire exercise, we can name and shame, say the top 10 ministries and bottom 10 ministries, unleashing a competitive zeal inside the government. Appraisal is a new system and will take a couple of years to stabilise. The biggest motivation will come from naming and shaming.

The Progress so far

The RFD for the three months, January-March 2010, has just been released. There will be new documents for the next financial year in April. We are doing all we can to help. We have already done 13 workshops for up to 500 bureaucrats to help them prepare RFD documents. Arun Maira will conduct a one-day work shop in early February to help senior bureaucrats learn how to set strategy. To let all of them know that the PM was dead serious about all this, the cabinet secretary had earlier called a meeting of all secretaries on the results framework documents and interacted with them in batches of 15.

Working here has been very exciting. I infused a bit of competitive zeal by ranking various ministries on the points they got in RFD submission and circulating it. Such was the competitive zeal that all 59 documents were submitted more or less on time. To my mind the debate between private and public efficiency is not so much about the ownership as much as about competition. You unleash the power of competition and see how it works.

I tried something similar with our software needs. We needed an e-office software that will allow government to keep all papers in electronic format. I reached out to TCS. But realising that it might create problems within, we went to NIC [National Information Centre] and told them “My heart is with you but we need this quickly. Will you be able to deliver on time else we will be forced to go to TCS.” They took on the competitive spirit and delivered within the deadline. Government has plenty of resources. Just that one should know how to tap it.

What Next?

In the past, the 4th, 5th, 6th Pay Commissions recommended adjusting salaries to market realities, but [they] also recommended performance-related incentives. But government was not able to implement.

Now on February 5, a committee of secretaries is meeting to discuss how to link up performance with pay. It is just a matter of working out the details. When done, up to 40 percent of the basic salary could be linked to performance. Then appraisal will not only have reputational implications but also financial.

Promotions, especially from joint secretary to the additional secretary level, will become more rigorous. We have been meeting some of the best companies and trying to understand how the private sector does it.

You will soon find a citizen’s charter for each government ministry. Basically it will outline what is it that a citizen walking into the department can expect. Clear targets and timelines will be spelt out so that the expectations are set. Each department will also have a world class complaint redressal system. They all should get ISO 15700, which is a certification for the government department. We are calling it Sarvottam.

How do I manage? You have to keep your ego aside. I literally went to all secretaries, met them, enquired what they did. It helped. People are waiting for someone to break the ice. They are willing to help, give me tips on what to do and how to do. My networks help a lot. At least four secretaries are my class fellows from St. Stephens days. Six were with me at the Boston University. Then some were my students.

I am excited........

Now History :

The depth of his C.V inspires awe and admiration. Since completing his B.A (Honors) in Economics from the respected St. Stephen's College in Delhi, Dr. Prajapati Trivedi, Senior Economist at the World Bank and Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Economy and Planning, Saudi Arabia, has gone from strength to strength and is today one of the most qualified and high-ranking Indian origin expat in the Kingdom.

After completing his B.A (Honors), Dr. Trivedi went on to the London School of Economics, where he completed his M.Sc. (Economics), specializing in the Theory of Investment and Planning, in 1974. He was soon back in Delhi, where in 1977 he got a PG Diploma in the Law of International Institutions, Indian Academy for International Law and Diplomacy, Delhi University. He later got another M.A, this time in Development Economics, from Boston University in 1983 and went on to do his PhD from the same institution in 1985, specializing in : Economics and Management of Public Enterprises, Public Finance, Economic Development. Dissertation Topic: Comparative Performance Evaluation and Explanation of Public and Private Enterprise Behavior (Issues, Methodology and the Case of the Indian Cement Industry).

Born on Aug. 9th, 1953, Dr. Trivedi is married, with two children.

Dr. Trivedi, a senior economist at the World Bank, is on secondment as an Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Economy and Planning in the Kingdom. He is responsible for public policy advice on a wide range of development issues and also for the development of the national long-term strategy of the Kingdom. He was the author of the key paper on public sector efficiency in the Vision Symposium organized jointly by the World Bank and the Ministry of Economy and Planning. He has led the work on public sector reform issues within the Ministry, too.

Asked about India's privatization program, Dr. Trivedi told yahind.com, "If one looks at it objectively, one has to admit that it is moving at a disappointing rate. We have to simply look at the promises made during each budget exercise and the results obtained. Since the Department of Disinvestment was set up in 1999, promises to privatize Rs. 57200 crores have been made by the Government of India. Unfortunately, against this target, the total sale thus far has been only Rs. 13643 crores. This is a mere 24 percent of the target. In the private sector managers would be fired for such poor performance."

He further noted, "It is ironic that the government's performance on this front was in fact better before the Department of Disinvestment was created in 1999. Since the new economic policy was announced by Dr. Manmohan Singh in 1991 (and went on till 1999), promises worth Rs. 34300 crores were made by the government. It sold stakes worth Rs. 11858 crores over the same time period. This makes an achievement level of 35 percent of the target. Not a record to be proud of, but a great deal better than that of the current officials."

Asked about the biggest concerns for our nation in the 21st century, Dr. Trivedi (like most Indians) reserved his ire for the politicians: "I am worried that ordinary citizens are fed up with politicians. They have tried all political parties and found them wanting. Unless things shape up, I foresee a movement for the change of our system. We will always be a democracy but the form will probably change. A poor country like India can not afford the luxury of frequent changes in government. The only goal of these governments is to stay in power by hook or by crook. Can you imagine a jumbo cabinet of 98 extremely unqualified ministers hoisted on the people of UP so that an unstable political coalition can stay in power? How long can people tolerate this?" he wondered.

He added that to him, the political instability appeared to be at the root of all evils in India. "One can find this is linked to corruption, mismanagement of the economy, and divisive politics by extremist elements in our society," he said.

When Yahind asked him about his view on the President's call for India to become a developed nation by 2020, Dr. Tridedi noted, "Before I answer this question, let me say that I wish he was an executive president and not a ceremonial president. I have extremely high regards for him. I have read his book called Vision 2020 and I am also familiar with his ideas. I salute him for inspiring the nation to meet this challenge. But, unfortunately, our politicians have made a mockery of this by jumping on the bandwagon and repeating it frequently as a slogan. I am afraid they are making it fall to the same category as the Garibi Hatao slogan by Mrs. Gandhi. In spite of the slogan, the poverty in India has increased since Mrs. Gandhi's time."

He added, "My constructive suggestion would be to take the key policy makers on a study tour of Malaysia. Because Malaysia is the only developing country that I know that declared that it wants to be a developed country by 2020 and is on track to becoming one. Dr. Mahathir can teach our politicians a lesson or two. Fortunately, I have studied the case of Malaysia very closely and thus I can speak with some degree of confidence. The ability to implement policies successfully was the key to Malaysia's success. The Malaysian premier realized that good ideas do not implement themselves. They need an efficient administrative machinery to do so. He created a results-oriented civil service through bold civil service reforms. Then he promoted public-partnership in an unprecedented manner. Malaysia realized that for an effective public-private partnership, it is important for the two partners to be equally strong. A strong private sector and a weak public sector can only have an unstable partnership at best. It is like having a chair with one leg larger than the other." Any politician or bureaucrat listening?

We had little then, but we felt large. Today we feel large, but we get little...

I found a nice and nostalgic interview of Mr. Amitab Bachchan, which reminded me also some of my older days and so I copy paste it so that I can read it later as well ....so here you go..

Amitabh Bachchan is taking down memory lane, to the simplicity of his childhood spent in Allahabad. The family didn’t have much money, but the memories from the time are still rich in his mind. There was no money for vacation, unlike kids from better-off families, he recalls, “The excessive summer months of Allahabad and the manner in which we spent them tending to so many things. Unlike most children of today’s world we never had opportunity to be taken for vacations. Some others did. Those who came from affluent family could afford it. Our home and our disposition was never ever in a state where we could indulge in such luxury.”

A slab of ice also kept them cool in summer. The superstar blogs, “Our luxury was the efforts made in keeping our homes cool. The continuous sprinkling of water on the floor of the house and a slab of ice floated over it... Other than the ordinary ceiling fan there was nothing else. How that slab of ice would keep all of us happy and content with the temperatures was a miracle, I think. We never questioned or demanded any better. This was it. As the day would warm up the pardas over our verandah would come down and if there was the luxury of the khus on some occasions it was most welcome; its smell bringing in the feel for summer.”

The Bachchans owned no car either. Amitabh writes, “We had no car, so the bicycle was our biggest luxury and our greatest joy. The hours and hours spent in cleaning up the bike and making sure nothing was amiss, was a major exercise.”

He asks nostalgically, “When would it be that a bunch of us kids would sneak in to the neighbors house and swipe all his mango and guava and other delicious fruits from his private garden. When would it be to feel the rush and joy of your parents having acquired a car. Not a new car, a car! The very first in the house, a small Ford Prefect, navy blue in color, and the rides with friends and family with Mother driving us all over the city in great pride.”

Mangoes were a summer favourite. “When the rains broke, all that came on as festive eating would be brought out. The special mango called chusni would be bought by the buckets and a lot of us sitting in the front of the stairway and legs crossed, would challenge each other on how much we ate. When the seed of the mango or the guthli would pile up to our chin, then was it believed that we have eaten enough! Ah!! .... Those days ...”

Holi meant gujias and pichkaris for the Bachchan kids! The actor writes, “As the festival of Holi approaches all the thoughts go back to the days in Allahabad and how preparations would start a month in advance. Getting the pichkari cleaned and pumped up for instant operation. The collecting of the taysu phool and pulling out huge cylinders to fill with water and then to push the flowers into it to ferment over night for the color to form. The basanti orange color, thus obtained, would be the first colors that would be used the following morning when guests and family set out to enjoy the festival of color. The kitchen filled with delicious special treats for the festive air. Gujjias filled with great delicacies, mango shaped and with corrugated edges, would be circulated among the children and elders busy and involved with the splashing of color all over would stop by to grab a few of them and then continue with the revelry.”

The evenings were calmer. “After the scrubbing and cleaning to remove all the different hues all over our bodies, fresh traditional clothes, the smell of summer in them, would be worn and we would sit and wait for the visitors to drop by, put the gentle tika on the forehead, wish each other a prosperous year ahead and move on to the next.

Amitabh relives all the good old times, sitting around informally without the TV and listening “to an elder share poetry, literature, life with us”, riding to the nearest grocery store on a bike with a basket attached to the handle bars, dressing up to take a rickshaw to a friend’s birthday party, play physical games and be back home before the street lamps came on.

“When would it be that we picked up our beds and rolled them out in the open air on the lawn outside or spread it out on the roof top to get the fresh and cool air of a summer evening and night. And when would it be that when the first drizzle would sprinkle our face, we would instead of running in, remain outside and hope that one day there will be an opportunity to build that automatic machine which would at a press of a button, either cover us from the rain or through some mechanical genius, transport us inside safe from the rain - not wanting under any circumstance to be disturbed in our sleep!”

He confesses, ”We had little then, but we felt large. Today we feel large,but we get little. Little in quality, little in response, little in the way we conduct ourselves, little in thought and word ... just little .. in everything we do and believe in. The large heart, the large feel and the largeness of being small has all disappeared. Today our perspectives have changed. Time and tide have brought in the changes we so fiercely protected when younger.”

Yes, those were the good old days! Thanks for sharing them with us, Mr Bachchan!

Grow your own food revolution plans to seed unused land

The government plans to launch a "grow your own" revolution by encouraging people to set up temporary allotments or community gardens on land awaiting development or other permanent use.

It aims to develop a "meanwhile" lease to formalise such arrangements between landowners and voluntary groups and is considering establishing a "land bank" to broker better links and ensure plots are not left idle.

Ministers believe the move could foster community spirit and skills as well as improve physical and mental health.

Hilary Benn, the environment and food secretary, will announce the plans tomorrow as a part of a long-awaited and much-trailed package to ensure Britain grows more food, wastes less, reduces its dependence on imports, and leads the way in reforming the EU's common agricultural and fishing policies.

About one in three people in the UK grows fruit and vegetables, according to a survey commissioned by Benn's department. Ministers hope the voluntary sector can help build on examples such as that set by the National Trust, which hopes to have established 1,000 allotment plots on restored kitchen gardens, agricultural land and vacant spaces, in its varied property portfolio by 2012.

The cross-departmental policy report, Food 2030, will also support further farmers' and community markets to boost consumption of local produce.

But, compared with the government's own sustainable development commission, the report appears more cautious about changing agriculture, by, for instance, encouraging less reliance on intensive meat and dairy production.

The Food 2030 report will acknowledge that livestock production is a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions but say that the evidence that would allow consumers to decide whether or not to cut the environmental footprint of their diet, is still unclear. "Not all types of meat have the same impacts, neither do all systems of production," it will state, while adding that livestock farming could be the only economically productive activity possible in some hilly areas.

In a forward to the report Gordon Brown speaks of the need to ensure the £80bn-a-year food industry thrives, but adds: "We can't carry on just as we are. We need to produce more food without damaging the natural resources – air, soil, water and marine resources, biodiversity and climate – that we all depend on. We need to feed more people globally, many of whom want, or need to eat, a better diet."

Emma Hockridge, policy manager of the Soil Association, said: " Consumers are feeling increasingly confused by the proliferation of diet-related advice doled out by government departments. The debate about meat encapsulates this. Whilst it is right that we need to eat less meat overall to achieve sustainable food production, red meat, as long as it is from grass-fed livestock, has a critical role to play in minimising carbon emissions from farming. This is because grasslands for grazing represent vitally important carbon stores.

"The government makes an excellent suggestion that publicly owned land should be converted to growing spaces. The Soil Association-led Food for Life Partnership (FFLP) is already leading the way by encouraging schools to grow their own food. FFLP gives communities access to seasonal, local and organic food, and to the skills they need to cook and grow fresh food for themselves. This also encourages people to make the link between their food choices and the impact on their health and that of the planet."

The campaign group Sustain said the report recommended only "soft" measures, such as wasting less food, and avoided tough issues, such as reducing children's consumption of junk food by, for example, properly protecting youngsters from marketing.

Jeanette Longfield, co-ordinator of Sustain, said: "The government's food vision is hardly worthy of the name. The document proposes a series of minor tweaks to our fundamentally unsustainable food system and ignores obvious ideas to help British farmers, like improving the food that government itself buys.

"What we need is an ambitious programme of investment in British farming so that it can produce healthy and sustainable food. If the government is serious about making our food system sustainable, it must put its money where its mouth is and only spend taxpayers' money on good-quality and sustainable food. What we have got is more of the same policies that have caused the food system's current problems."

So the main points :
• Local Government consider temporary allotments scheme
• Fruit and veg plots part of strategy to cut reliance on imports
• Food security is as important to country's future wellbeing.
• People power can help bring about a revolution in the way food is produced and sold.
• Reducing the reliance on intensive meat and dairy production.
• Find ways to reduce carbon emissions from soils and rotting waste food, as well as finding ways to grow food with less fertiliser, pesticides and fuel.
• Reducing children's consumption of junk food.

That is what we need in India...

A village on the western fringes of Hampshire is well on the way to becoming the first in England to defy the power of the supermarkets by achieving communal self-sufficiency in food.

The parish of Martin lies on good agricultural land beneath the chalk downs of Cranborne Chase. In past centuries, its 164 households would have been sustained by the output of local farms and dairies. But, over the last 60 years, the dairies closed and the farmers directed their harvests towards the vast hoppers of agro-industry. The people of Martin continued to be surrounded by fields growing food, but none of it reached their plates. And after the village shop closed in 1982, they had to travel to buy provisions.

Nick Snelgar, who earns a living from growing herbs and shrubs near his home in Martin, thought it was crazy that he could not eat local produce. "It would be fresher, tastier and more nutritious than anything from the supermarket and I thought it could be cheaper too if we organised to cut out the middlemen," he says. "Farmers' markets tend to be expensive niche providers for the few. I wanted a system to provide local food for the many."

He organised a meeting in the village social club in 2003, and from it came the nucleus of enthusiasts who have organised the producer co-operative that is now feeding most of Martin's residents.

Futurefarms grows 45 types of vegetables in two fields in the village. Within the fields, two acres are set aside for rearing free-range pigs. Chicken runs are moved regularly across the bigger field and the rest of the land is grazed by sheep. Chickens, lamb and pork are sold alongside vegetables at a Saturday morning market in the village hall throughout the year.

In the early years, the food was produced entirely by voluntary labour, and Martin remains a village full of people on rotas for various horticultural and stock-rearing tasks. But Futurefarms, which is a not-for-profit growers' co-operative, now has an annual turnover of £36,000 and can afford to employ four part-time staff.

Snelgar says 60% of the households in Martin use the co-op to supply at least some of their food. It is not trying to expand production to sell elsewhere because that would miss the point. "We are not interested in the wholesale market. We are only interested in the Martin market," he says.

So far the co-op has signed up 126 of the village's families as members. They pay £5 a year, but can escape the charge by volunteering for seven hours' work. They make no commitment to buy the produce, so the co-op has to remain competitive on quality and price.

Snelgar's dream is for each village to combine co-operatively to employ a food grower with as much status as the local teacher or doctor. He says: "I don't want to kill off supermarkets. They should continue to do what they do best: provide toilet rolls and manufactured products that do not deteriorate when transported."

The Futurefarms operation avoids the use of chemical sprays and artificial fertilisers, but it cannot claim to be organic. Its main 15-acre field is on former set-aside land that was regularly doused in weedkiller by a previous owner. Yet the Soil Association, which polices organic values, regards the co-op as an inspiring example of how a small community can combine to produce food locally.

The association's annual conference, opening in Birmingham today, will seek to challenge the hi-tech vision of British farming espoused by John Beddington, the government's chief scientist. Beddington has called for increased production to counter a "perfect storm" of food shortages that could become a global threat by 2030.

Bonnie Hewson, the Soil Association's projects director, says the global scale of the problem should not deter people from making a valuable local contribution. "The Futurefarms experiment is an inspiring example of how a small group without much funding can do its own thing in a small corner of England, and do it well.

"People are sick of being told to worry about food. They need to feel empowered. We know of lots of alternative local food systems that are sustainable, resilient, viable and principled. They may not be able to solve the global problem, but they can say: 'Nothing we are doing will stand people in worse stead.'"

Gold award

Across Britain, scores of local food projects are supported by the Soil Association, often in coalition with other groups. In Dorset, the Local Food Links scheme is providing hot lunches to 23 primary schools in Bridport and Blandford. It was the first catering company to win the association's gold award for sourcing at least 50% of the ingredients locally and using at least 30% organic produce.

The school meals venture was triggered by the Jamie Oliver television series that led the government to order all schools to serve hot meals by September 2008. This posed a problem for Dorset county council, which had decommissioned all its primary school kitchens in the 1980s. It contracted a factory in Nottingham to supply cheap frozen readymeals that were trucked to Dorset and reheated. Tim Crabtree set up the Local Food Links scheme in Bridport to provide a healthier, local alternative. It is now supplying similar meals to four care homes for older people and a day centre.

Crabtree admits he relies on charitable grants to break even on school meals at £2 a head. The care homes will pay £4 and that should be enough to make the operation sustainable, financially and ecologically.

Crabtree started one of Britain's first farmers' markets. He expected producers and consumers to share the benefits of shortening the supply chain. "But most of the gains were captured by the producers," he says. "We have seen a polarisation in food. There are niche organic outlets for those who can afford it, but most people end up with food at low cost and low nutritional value. We think we can do something about that in institutions serving people who need high-quality food."

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