Category Archives: Uncategorized

The shocking loss of essential minerals in fruit & veg

This images below are summary of the report “A study on the mineral depletion of the foods available to us as a nation over the period 1940 to 1991.” see the PDF is here. It shows the  decrease of the mineral content of fruit and vegetables over a 31 year period.

Click an image to enlarge

The reduction in mineral content undoubtedly continued after 1991 as intensive farming practices continue to dominate food production. The way crops are grown is linked to the state of soils, in particular the poor state of farmland due to the lack of organic matter.  “Healthy soil is the foundation of the food system. It produces healthy crops that in turn nourish people.” From the FAO publication: The importance of soil organic matter

We are constantly urged to eat more fruit and vegetables yet they are becoming less nutritious.  It is time to move away from high input agrochemical farming and grow more nutritious food that really does feed people in every way.

Successive governments have been locked into promoting a type of agriculture that does not work. It is time for change and the first steps should be to increase the amount of land available for allotments, community gardens and small scale commercial growing provided that they practice sustainable growing.

Why can’t we imagine how the land feels?

This article in The Guardian raises issues that explain why the world is in the state it is. If we see the planet only as a resource to be ruthlessly exploited then we will kill ourselves and every other living organism. What we have forgotten is that everything we need we need to survive comes from the Earth.

This is particularly true of soil. If it as only seen a substrate to provide support for engineered plants that rely chemical inputs to survive then we are doomed.

The loss of soil to erosion and resulting prediction that there is only 40 years of topsoil left should be a resounding wake up call. Yet there is no panic, there are no demonstrations in the streets, there is no understanding of what it means.

How supermarkets create food waste from field to table

The article is full of information about waste in the supermarket food chain. What is surprising is that a lot of waste comes from farmers over producing for fear of not being able to supply.

Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson has openly spoken about his experiences in the 90s: “When I used to supply the supermarkets you generally grew about a third more than you thought you would sell, just to make sure that the supermarket buyer didn’t have a tantrum if you ran short, and so routinely, you have more than you can sell and so you just mow it off and plough it in – that’s the normal thing to do.”

The overriding issue is how supermarkets have come to dictate the whole agricultural industry.

See the article here on the Wicked Leaks web site

 

RSPB resigns from government’s pesticides forum

According to an article in The Telegraph “The RSPB and dozens of environmental groups have resigned from the government’s pesticides forum after two decades claiming the use of dangerous chemicals is now far worse than when they joined.”

The UK government is very good at playing games, they will no doubt shouted about the fact that they have environmental groups on board yet will have really wanted to keep their farmers friend and agrochemical companies happy. They want votes and donations to party funds to win elections and feed their hunger for power.

I am in no doubt that Michael Gove will have already had his spin doctors in to gloss over the withdrawal of environmental groups. They will be saying something along the lines of the need for cheap food, a prosperous agricultural industry and the need to keep food on supermarkets shelves while at the same time saying how sad he is that these groups have taken such extreme action.

The UK government has ignored the 2013 UNCTAD report on sustainable farming because it says that we do not need pesticides, GM or any other agrochemical, money making, Earth destroying products to ‘feed the world’. There are no party donations from not using agrochemicals

What I do know is that if we keep destroying insects for profit the whole ecosystem will collapse. We are part of ‘nature’ not above it or able to control or manipulate for our own ends. We simply rely on for everything.

Food has to be sustainable.

 

 

Book on hot beds

If you want to know how to make hot beds for really early crops then the best place to start is by reading a new book by Jack First. Jack appeared on the UK TV programme Gardeners World last year. He showed just what hot beds could do with lots of salad crops and very early new potatoes.  The usual disclaimer applies, we have no financial interest in this book and any recommendation is because we found it useful.

Click the link to order.

hot_beds_book

The time for change is now!

We are on the edge of a precipice; the Arctic ice cap and Greenland glaciers are melting at an increasing rate yet no government seems to either care or want to do anything about it.greenland-glacier-melt-nasa

Radical steps are needed to avert disaster on a scale unprecedented in human history yet governments are still spending billions on space research, building a new radio telescope and other esoteric research. It is time to suspend such projects and spend the money on ways to improve energy and food security.

The UK government pleads poverty and have recently said that climate change has to take second place to economic recovery. That makes me mad, very mad. They do not seem to recognise that the time to address these issues is NOW!

Energy security is relatively easy to tackle as Germany has shown by increasing the amount of electricity generated by renewables from 20% to 60% in 12 years. In the UK the government ended a scheme to support households installing PVs because it was popular and the small amount of money allocated was used up too quickly.

The tired old mantra that there is ‘no money in the pot’ is just a lie. There IS cash for free schools and an extra £100m for summer schools was announced a few months ago. All very laudable but what if the generation now going through school struggles to afford food or cannot find enough of it? Just think what £100m could do to help switch to renewables or help us to improve food security.

My conclusions are that administrations are not taking climate change seriously which amounts to a criminal failure to govern. It is time for really radical change: 1) stop space exploration and divert money to mitigating the effects of climate change. 2) Do not build the expensive ($100m) very large array radio telescope and divert the money  to projects to encourage more home renewables and domestic food growing. 3) Stop spending billions of politically motivated education follies like free schools and use the money to reintroduce horticulture to all UK schools.

That would be just the start of changing the way we live to one that fits the level of resources available to us. The irony is that this would produce a fairer and more ‘sustainable’ economy but it takes vision and foresight to see that, something sadly lacking these days.

What can we do? Grow more food; you knew I would say that. Reduce car journeys, use public transport more, develop an awareness of the hidden costs of everything you buy, buy less, recycle everything you can, make compost – particularly from nutrient rich kitchen waste. Finally, ask your MP, councillors, other political representative what they are doing about food security and energy security. Look at the response you get and it is not adequate tell them!

Find your district councillors, county councillor, MP, MEP.

 

Monsanto ARE intent on World domination

By buying the major company investigating bee deaths Monsanto have shown they will go to any lengths to silence their critics!

“Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading organizations involved in research into bee collapse. The company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the bee population, and Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of these vital insects. Monsanto’s motives for buying Beelogics, one of the largest bee research firms on the planet, in September 2011 are quite obvious.” YES, to silence the opposition!

From: ECOLOGY & FARMING  2-2012 P7, IFOAM