How to be green – in Somerset

20130427-181913.jpg I grew up in Somerset, in England. It’s a very beautiful part of the world. When I was younger there was a lot of local market garden fruit and veg grown in and around my home town. By the time I had left England to move to Australia the majority of the local fruit and veg producers had close up shop, pushed out by cheap imports and rising labour costs.

I am back in my home town visiting my family, as we drove from the train station to my parents house I noticed fields and fields of the stuff above. I had presumed it to be some type of willow or bamboo, but alas I was wrong it is in fact Elephant grass.

Used as a biofuel in power stations in the UK, elephant grass is being grown across Somerset, bringing agriculture back into my home town. The great thing is that growing elephant grass won’t be pushed out by cheap imports because the carbon from transportation would cancel out the carbon benefit of the biofuel.

Yes, it has a high water footprint but man it rains a lot in England! Yes, it might have hidden energy or carbon impacts but it has brought agriculture, jobs and income back into the area and is still much better than coal.

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