Category Archives: News

Visit Those Plant People – Saturday August 19th

Please join us for a visit to Those Plant People in Steeton on Saturday 19th August, arriving for 10am.

Those Plant People are Andrew and Pippa. They run gardening courses at Fern Cottage throughout the year to help you move from amateur to confident gardener. They also provide a gardening maintenance service.

They also grow and supply their own hardy herbaceous perennial plants, grown and tested in their own borders, and use them in their garden designs as well as selling at specialist plant fairs all across Yorkshire.

Tea, coffee and cakes will be available, free to WYOG members.

Directions.
If you are coming from Keighley come along the B6265 through Utley. As you are entering Steeton there is a rock on the left with ‘Steeton with Eastburn’ written on it. We are the first drive on the left less than 100m past the rock. The drive is marked ‘Stiverton House’.

If you are coming from Skipton(A629) or Ilkley(A6034) take the turning off the roundabout signposted Steeton and Silsden train station and carry on up station road until the traffic lights. Turn left at the traffic lights along Keighley Road, the road bears to the right round a bend then it is the next driveway on the right. The drive is marked Stiverton House.

Please park in front of the main house or on the cobbled area.

If you are coming by train walk up Station Road to the traffic lights, turn left and walk along Keighley Road. The road bends to the right and we are the first drive on the right, marked Stiverton House. It is about 10-15min walk. 

The address is:
Fern Cottage
Stiverton House
Keighley Road
Steeton
West Yorkshire
BD20 6QR

If you get lost you can contact 
Pippa Chapman 07704178585

Look forward to seeing you there!

Pesticides damage survival of bee colonies, landmark study shows

The world’s largest ever field trial demonstrates widely used insecticides harm both honeybees and wild bees, increasing calls for a ban

Honey bee pollinating on rapeseed
Bees that foraged a lot on oil seed rape were found to be particularly at risk from disease. Photograph: kojihirano/Getty Images
 Widely used insecticides damage the survival of honeybee colonies, the world’s largest ever field trial has shown for the first time, as well as harming wild bees.

The farm-based research, along with a second new study, also suggests widespread contamination of entire landscapes and a toxic “cocktail effect” from multiple pesticides.

The landmark work provides the most important evidence yet for regulators around the world considering action against neonicotinoids, including in the EU where a total ban is poised to be implemented this autumn. The insecticides are currently banned on flowering crops in the EU.

The negative impacts found varied across different countries, leading the pesticide manufacturers to question whether the results of the research, which they funded, were real. The new research is published in the prestigious peer-review journal Science.

Neonicotinoids represent a quarter of the multi-billion dollar pesticide market but have been repeatedly linked to serious harm in bees in lab-based studies. Bees and other pollinators are vital to food production but are in decline, in part due to loss of habitats and disease. But there had been few realistic field studies to date to address the role of the insecticides and only occasional evidence for colony-level harm in wild bees.

The new research took place at 33 large farmland sites spread across the UK, Germany and Hungary. Honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees living by insecticide-treated fields of oil seed rape were compared with those in fields where insecticides were not used in the year of the study.

The survival of honeybee colonies was reduced by exposure to the insecticides in the UK and Hungary, but not in Germany, where the bees foraged far less on oil seed rape and had lower levels of disease. The reproductive success of the wild bees was cut as the insecticide exposure increased in all three countries.

“We showed significant negative effects at critical life cycle stages,” said Prof Richard Pywell, from the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), and part of the research team. “If the bees are foraging a lot on oil seed rape, they are clearly at risk. This is a large and important piece of evidence, but it is not the only evidence regulators will look at.”

Bees and other pollinators are vital to food production but are in decline
Pinterest
Bees and other pollinators are vital to food production but are in decline. Photograph: Jeremy T Kerr/Science

Scientists not involved in the research backed the conclusions. “Together, the two studies make strong contributions to the growing scientific consensus about the harms of neonicotinoid pesticides to bees,” said Prof James Nieh, at the University of California San Diego. Addressing the differences between countries, Prof Jeremy Kerr, at the University of Ottawa in Canada, said: “Neonicotinoid applications are a kind of reproductive roulette for bees. Depending on local environmental characteristics, they can materially reduce survival prospects.”

The $3m cost of the research was met by Syngenta and Bayer, the companies that sell the two neonicotinoids tested, as part of a voluntary commitment to increase the available field data. But the companies were not involved in the designing, conducting or reporting of the study.

It found that the bees in Germany got just 15% of their food from the oil seed rape fields, compared to 40-50% in the UK and Hungary. “Clearly the bees in Germany are feeding on other flower resources in the landscape and are less exposed to neonics,” said Pywell.

The scientists also discovered that the wild bees were exposed to a neonicotinoid that was not even used in the trial and concluded the harm caused may result from “persistent residues in arable systems due to their widespread and often very frequent use”.

However, both Bayer and Syngenta expressed doubt about the “simplistic” interpretation of complex and “inconsistent” results. “We do not share CEH’s interpretation and remain confident that neonicotinoids are safe when used responsibly” said Richard Schmuck, director of environmental safety at Bayer CropScience.

Peter Campbell, from Syngenta, said: “The negative and positive results reported by CEH could easily be random, ie not real.” He said even taking the results at face value “demonstrates that neonics can be used safely or even with benefit to bees under certain circumstances, such as reported in Germany.”

But CEH’s Pywell said: “We stand by our peer-reviewed paper. We undertook the statistical analysis and reported the findings as we saw them and those are underpinned by the data. We are absolutely independent.”

A honeybee worker has a radio-frequency identification tag attached to its back
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A honeybee worker has a radio-frequency identification tag attached to its back that allows researchers to monitor when it leaves and returns to the colony, as well as when it is no longer active and presumed dead. Photograph: Amro Zayed/York University/Science

The second new study published in Science, carried out on corn farms in Canada, also found crops were not the main source of neonicotinoids to which bees were exposed. Instead, the contaminated pollen came from wildflowers, as has been shown recently in the UK.

“This indicates that neonicotinoids, which are water soluble, spill over from fields into the surrounding environment, where they are taken up by other plants that are very attractive to bees,” said Nadia Tsvetkov, at York University in Canada and who led the research.

“The detection of the potential long-term persistence of neonicotinoids in the soil by both studies raises the spectre of a reprise of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring,” said Prof Robert Paxton at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany.

The Canadian research also found that the presence of realistic levels of a fungicide made the neonicotinoids twice as toxic to bees. “The effect of neonicotinoids on honey bees quickly turns from bad to worse when you add the fungicide boscalid to the mix,” said Prof Valérie Fournier, at Laval University in Canada and also part of the team. Pesticides are not tested in combination by regulators and Kerr said: “This study shows that mixtures matter.”

 

New publication from Garden Organic – The Principles of Organic Gardening

What are the fundamental principles behind organic gardening? We know about not using toxic chemicals, but in truth there is more, much more, to creating a resilient and healthy natural growing space.

Garden Organic is pleased to announce the publication of a new booklet which neatly summarises the five organic gardening principles. Feed the soil, encourage wildlife, use resources responsibly, avoid harmful chemicals and keep your growing area healthy. Based on over 60 years of research, the easy to read Principles explains the thinking behind each of the above.

The booklet aims to help you your own growing methods, so that you can progress along the journey towards becoming truly organic. Based on the original Organic Gardening Guidelines, it has helpful Do’s and Don’ts, plus new sections and beautiful illustrations. “This should be a best-seller,” writes one member. “It is packed with important information.”

The Principles of Organic Gardening can be downloaded free of charge from gardenorganic.org.uk/principles. Alternatively, we can send you a copy by post, all we ask is a suggested donation of £2.50 to cover postage and package. You can do this here, selecting ‘Donation for Principles of Organic Gardening’ from the drop down options.

Posted: 
Monday, 5 June 2017

Greenhouse offer

Is anyone interested in having the use of 1 or 2 greenhouses and/or a bed ready prepared for planting which the owner can’t manage by himself and is happy for one or more people to make use of them? There is a tap by the greenhouses and a compost area and access is by a side gate. Also any other part of his large garden that someone might like to take on. He lives off Moorhead Lane (off the Saltaire roundabout).

Contact him at dbouzidi366@gmail.com
or 07771 745 801

Your dinner is probably contaminated.

 

 

 
 
 

Is organic food better for you?

A question which has intrigued those on both sides of the organic fence. Instinctively, organic growers feel that their produce – grown without chemicals and using natural fertilisers – must be safer and more nutritious. We look at research which has been published in the past year, which reveals the difference between organic and conventional produce.

2016 AGM

AGM

Caroline Street Social Club
12- 3pm, Sat 26th November

Please join us for the West Yorkshire Organic Group Annual General Meeting.

As well as all the usual business of the group such as officers reports, elections to posts etc, it’s a great chance to meet up with other members, find out what we’ve been up to for the last year and find out what we’re going to be up to in the coming year, or even suggest something yourself. The bar will be open and there will be a small buffet lunch.

Caroline Social Club
Caroline Street
Shipley BD18 3JZ

The Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) 2016 Open Event

The Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) are planning their 2016 open event. The event is free and is an opportunity for those interested in pesticide residues in food to learn more about the work of the committee and its role in the national food testing programme.

The event will be held on Wednesday 19 October at the National Railway Museum, York.

The theme for this year’s open event is past, present and future of pesticides in food, there will be talks from:

Dr Paul Brantom, Chairman of PRiF, introducing the work of the committee and explaining how the committee check results against safety and legal requirements.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will explain how foods are selected for the programme and how this has changed over time, including information on the latest results and the current testing programme.

Dr Sadat Nawaz and Mike Dickinson from Fera Science Ltd will explain how samples are tested for a wide range of pesticides at low levels, including safeguards on the quality of results.

Chris Wallwork from Agrii Ltd who gives technical advice to farmers and Christian Maltby from Barfoots of Botley, one of the UK’s leading vegetable growers, will give seperare talks explaining how UK farmers adapt to meet the requirements of the law, their customers and the consumer.

We would be very grateful if you could pass information about the event to anyone you think may be interested using, any social media tools that may be available

To book tickets for this free event please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-expert-committee-on-pesticides-in-food-prif-open-event-2016-tickets-26028769751

Rachel Merrick Pesticides Policy TeamHealth & Safety Executive

Chemicals Regulation Division, Ground Floor, Mallard House,

Kings Pool, 3 Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PX.

(:Tel: +44(0)2030 281222 | ext.1222 |

*:rachel.merrick@hse.gov.uk

www.hse.gov.uk/CRD

Follow HSE on Twitter @H_S_E

PRiF logoJoin us for the PRiF Open Event 2016 in York. For more details or to book a ticket visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-expert-committee-on-pesticides-in-food-prif-open-event-2016-tickets-26028769751

Biodynamics, Revitalizing our Earth, one Garden at a time Conference 2016 at Garden Organic!

Gardeners  are the natural stewards and protectors of our Earth, and how we garden has never been so important.
Biodynamic gardening methods provides a much needed catalyst for regeneration, which revitalizes soils, nurtures bees, provide safe havens for wildlife,  and keep our precious bio-diversity alive.

The aim of biodynamics is to maximize the inherent vitality of our soils and gardens through its use of herbal compost and spray preparations, by harnessing the subtle cosmic forces of nature, building natural resilience with open pollinated seed, and by creating a garden full of harmonious life, which becomes self-sustaining .

Want to discover more?
Packed with hands on practical advice,  workshops and captivating lectures, our conference  devotes itself to biodynamic approach to gardening, and how to take your organic gardening to a new level of holistic health.

Book your ticket here.
Look forward to seeing you in Sept!  – Warm wishes – Jessica Standing (BDA Office UK)