Teign Estuary Transition

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A Visit to the Zoo

On March 3rd a group from TET enjoyed an excellent morning at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in the company of Kevin Frediani, curator of Plants and Gardens. We had come to learn about the vertical growing system which is providing much of the feed for the animals. However, we learnt much more.

For many of us who have previously been to the zoo (more than 5 years ago) it challenged our view of the role that zoos can play in sustainable living and the crucial relationship between plants and animals. Zoos, at least Paignton, could become TET’s most visited tourist attraction.

We were not expecting to be shown around the zoo or to see how the ethical motif of sustainability underpins so much of their work. As we know biodiversity, both in plants and animals, plays a leading role in our survival and here it is in action led by a passionate advocate in the field.

Following a slide show of the verticrop system illustrating how this intensive vertical growing system can produce huge crops, without soil, crops that have higher nutritional value and are protected from pests and diseases, we were led through to see the system. Besides providing constant food for the animals, the application of this model could have a use in providing fresh food in cities or any land challenged area.

In other situations it frees up land that can then be used for crucial habitats for diffent species. It also produces fresh food where it is needed thus cutting air-miles. We could appreciate why this work has received so many awards both nationally and internationally.

Finally, we were shown a small system using fish and their by-products to nurture vegetables. We are hoping to have a future event in Teignmouth on this topic. Watch this space!

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