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Observer Food Monthly Award-winners announced

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altA community scheme producing vegetables in the heart of the city, a restaurant providing training for the long-term unemployed and a campaigning nine-year-old blogger are among the food heroes celebrated in this year's Observer Food Monthly awards, which were announced in London on Thursday night.

Voted for by over 16,000 Observer readers alongside an expert panel, this year's crop very much recognises the age of economic austerity and the need to take food back to the grass roots. "With a higher number of voters than ever before, with expert judges from most parts of the UK, the OFM awards have never felt so representative or relevant," says OFM editor Allan Jenkins.

Among the pioneers voted for by the readers of OFM is Growing Communities, a vegetable box scheme based in Hackney and run by volunteers producing most of its food locally, which was named retailer of the year. Create, a restaurant in Leeds providing training and work placements in the catering industry for the unemployed, won best ethical restaurant, while the Parlour, a pub in Chorlton on the outskirts of Manchester, beat tough competition from glossy celebrity-chef-run ventures to be named the best place for Sunday lunch.

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First Milk – First to Switch with Severn Trent Costain

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Severn Trent Costain (STC) has announced that major UK dairy, First Milk, is to become the first business customer to switch water supplier since the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) altered the regulations to allow more businesses to be able to choose their water supplier. Until recently only businesses that used more than fifty megalitres of water a year, equal to 20 Olympic sized swimming pools, could switch from their existing water supplier to a new one. The threshold has now been reduced to just five megalitres of water, equivalent to two Olympic sized swimming pools, which has substantially increased the number of businesses that are able to choose their water supplier from just 2,200 to 26,000 businesses.

Severn Trent Costain a joint venture that combines the skills and experience of Severn Trent Services, one of the world’s leading suppliers of water and wastewater solutions, and Costain the UK’s leading engineering solutions provider, has signed up First Milk, in a deal that will see STC supply, manage and monitor their water across six major sites in England, Wales and Scotland involving over 600 million litres of water per year. The new arrangement builds on an ongoing successful relationship with First Milk. The two organisations have already been working together to improve asset performance, deriving ongoing savings from day-to-day operational efficiencies and delivering plant optimisation.

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Observer Food Monthly Award-winners announced

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altA community scheme producing vegetables in the heart of the city, a restaurant providing training for the long-term unemployed and a campaigning nine-year-old blogger are among the food heroes celebrated in this year's Observer Food Monthly awards, which were announced in London on Thursday night.

Voted for by over 16,000 Observer readers alongside an expert panel, this year's crop very much recognises the age of economic austerity and the need to take food back to the grass roots. "With a higher number of voters than ever before, with expert judges from most parts of the UK, the OFM awards have never felt so representative or relevant," says OFM editor Allan Jenkins.

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British fishermen attacked by French boats in the Channel

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altBritish fishermen have been attacked by French boats in the Channel, raising fears of battles among rival boats over resources as quota limits bite and declining stocks make fishing ever more difficult.

The British fishermen were dredging for scallops in an area west of Le Havre, a lucrative fishing ground, when they were attacked with rocks thrown by nearby French boats, which attempted to block their path.

They called for help from the UK coastguard and Royal Navy, but were told that a French naval vessel would be sent. When it arrived, according to the men, the French authorities refused to intervene, angering the British fishermen and raising fears that a similar confrontation could happen again.

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UNEP says environment neglected in rush for food security

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altNAIROBI, Oct. 16 — Investments being made in enabling the world to achieve food security are being done at the expense of the environment, threatening the very foundation that will deliver more food to the world, a new report by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said on Tuesday.

The report launched in Nairobi urges the world to shift its focus also to environment to ensure that food production is sustainable and assured.

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