Category Archives: Other organisations

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

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.

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)

 

Release of damning report on UK Soil Health

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has just released a damning report on UK Soil Health.

“…. some of the most productive agricultural land in the country is at risk of becoming unprofitable within a generation due to soil erosion” cites the report. “(Although) the Government says it will ensure that all soils are managed sustainably by 2030… our inquiry suggests that the Government’s actions do not match its ambition, and casts doubt on whether we are on track to achieve the 2030 goal.”

The report points out that “Soil, water and air are all essential to human life and society—but of these three, soil is often the forgotten component. Yet soil is crucial to agricultural production, climate change mitigation and adaptation, urban development, and flood risk management. Neglecting the health of our soil could lead to reduced food security, increased greenhouse gas emissions, greater flood risk, and damage to public health.”

Concerns over soil health include

  • Around 300,000 hectares of soil are thought to be affected by legacy contamination from the UK’s industrial past. However, local authority duties to clean up contaminated land are compromised by Defra withdrawing capital funding. This presents the real danger that contaminated sites are being left unidentified, with consequential public health impacts.
  • Soil is a massive carbon sink, storing three times as much carbon as the atmosphere. Soil carbon is particularly concentrated in peatlands. The UK’s arable soils have seen a worrying decline in carbon levels since 1978, with widespread and ongoing decline in peat soil carbon. At COP21 the Government signed up to a scheme to increase soil carbon levels by 0.4% per year. However, methods to increase soil carbon are not implemented to their full potential. The Government needs to set out specific, measureable and time-limited plans to meet the goal to increase soil carbon, as well as taking take tougher action to tackle land use practices which degrade peat, such as burning of blanket bogs.
  • The Government relies on ‘cross-compliance’ rules associated with farm payments to regulate agricultural soil health. However, the rules and their implementation are not sufficient to support the Government’s 2030 ambition to manage soil sustainably. Crucial elements of soil health, such as structure and biology, are not assessed at all. The rules are accompanied by a minimalistic inspection regime which Defra aims to reduce further. Moreover, the rules focus primarily on preventing further damage to soil, when an effective system would also focus on restoration and improvement of soil health.
  • The UK lacks an ongoing national-scale monitoring scheme for soil health. Many indicators of soil health change slowly, so it is appropriate to measure only every few years—but successive Governments have neglected to establish a rolling scheme to monitor soil health.

The Government has an ambitious goal to ensure that all soils are managed sustainably by 2030. The report claims that current policy does not put us on a trajectory to meet this goal. Further action is required to back up the Government’s laudable words on soil health. The Government should use its upcoming 25-year environment plan to propose policies to strengthen soil protection, so that policies are not focused merely on damage limitation but encourage restoration and improvement of soil quality & organic matter.

Posted on Garden Organic site:
Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Glyphosate victory

18 months ago, Monsanto’s vast chemical-agricultural empire was rock solid.

Now, after over 2 million of us ran 20 campaigns, with millions of signatures, messages, phone calls, stunts, advocacy meetings and media stories… the future of the ‘Monsanto model’ is actually in question!!

The European Union just refused to grant Monsanto a new license for its flagship product – the pesticide glyphosate. This is massive – glyphosate accounts for up to a third of all Monsanto’s revenue!

“Looking to where we were in the beginning of this year and where we are now, Avaaz is indisputably the driving force of the fight for glyphosate discontinuance.”
Pavel Poc, Vice-Chair of the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee, and key leader of the glyphosate fight

Collage Monsanto model

This is far from over. But it’s an utter game-changer for countries like Germany, France and Italy to challenge the basis of Monsanto’s entire business model.

Avaaz delivers glyphosate petition at the EU parliament
Avaaz petition delivered to European Parliament

We haven’t been knee-jerk anti-pesticide. Our campaign calls for a suspension until independent science determines the safety of glyphosate. We’ll keep fighting, but if the EU allows 18 months for a new scientific process to weigh in, and we can ensure that process is truly independent, we could win this!!

We can also use the next 18 months to focus scrutiny on the global environmental impact of the Monsanto model, which is turning the surface of our planet into strange, toxic “biodeserts” where only one genetically modified Monsanto crop can grow.

Like with climate change and the Paris agreement, Avaaz has mobilised people on this issue at an unprecedented scale – we’ve taken the fight against Monsanto to a whole new level, and now it’s up to all of us, over the next 18 months, to win it.

First big oil, now Monsanto. We are taking on the dragons of our world. But if we stick together, and choose to believe and act, we can do anything.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Alice, Bert, Pascal and the whole Avaaz team

PS – For more detail on all the tactics, meetings, and story of Avaaz’s glyphosate campaigning in the last year, here’s a summary.


Avaaz.org is a 44-million-person global campaign network
that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Locally grown rare & heritage tomatoes for sale

Picture

These are the tomato varieties we are trialling this year, most are short or mid-season varieties, most are worth trying outdoors but ours will be protected, many are heritage varieties which will ‘come true’ and if seed is saved then you’ll never need to buy seed again. Plants are in 2L pots peat free and organically fed, they are developing their first trusses. Supply is on a ‘first come(email/text) first serve basis’ and all are in short supply. All priced at £2.50 and buyer collects.  A discount of 50p per plant for  WYOG members.

If anyone is interested in trying some different pumpkin, courgette or cucumber varieties (some heritage varieties), then get in touch for a list. I am sowing these in the next week and all plants will be £2.50. 

We also have seed from more than 20 different known pumpkin crosses that we have hybridized from our favourite pumpkins. We aim to produce our own variety better suited to our site in Steeton with taste and storage characteristics top of the list. We have the seed but not the space so if anyone is interested in helping us grow, self these plants and then pass on details of taste, storage, a picture, any interesting details and some seeds; then we can speed up this trialling process. Seed provided free of charge, please contact for a list of crosses.

We also hope to trial about 20 heritage pole bean cultivars this year, if anyone is interested in outcome then please get in touch.

Tomato list as follows:

Hungry Hill Pink
Blue Cherry
San Francisco Fog
Blondekopfchen
Giant Ox Heart
Rosada (F1)
Bloody Butcher
Brandywine
Brandywine Sudduth Strain
Modus (F1)
Black Cherry
Black Krim
Nahuelbuta Pink
Sophie’s Choice
Chocolate Stripes
Azoychka
Delicious

regards

Pippa

Please contact:

Andrew Chapman 07525379565

thatplantguy@hotmail.co.uk

Email Pippa to join our mailing list

Fern Cottage,
Stiverton House
Keighley Road,
Steeton,
West Yorkshire,
BD20 6QR

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 untill the traffic lights. Turn left at the traffic lights along Keighley rd, the road bears to the right round a bend then it is the next driveway on the right. The drive is marked ‘Stiverton House’

Urgent Glyphosate petition

Glyphosate weedkillers like Roundup should be completely banned now that the WHO says the chemical is “probably carcinogenic”. But the European Commission still seems determined to put Monsanto’s interests before public health concerns.

In March, the Netherlands joined France, Sweden, and Italy to oppose a new 15-year licence for glyphosate. Undeterred, the European Commission has tweaked the glyphosate license proposal a little to win over the Netherlands. We need to come together now to make sure the Netherlands government stands up to the agrochemical lobby and the Commission.

Concerns about the harm of the world’s most popular weedkiller are reaching a breaking point. Which means that the vote will be a close one, and “swing vote” countries like the Netherlands have the power to effectively ban glyphosate in the EU.

Tell the Netherlands government to use its decisive vote to effectively ban glyphosate.

Last month, MEPs backed a ban of glyphosate not only for hobby gardeners and in green spaces like parks and playgrounds, but also in agriculture, where crop diversification and mechanical means are sufficient for the necessary weed control. They also called for strict limits on pre-harvest applications – — proof that lawmakers are coming to understand the dangers of Monsanto’s favorite pesticide. Yet, the Commission is ploughing ahead regardless – while experts say we need an outright ban in order to protect against contamination of our food, water, and soil.

Greenpeace EU’s food policy director, Franziska Achterberg compared renewing the glyphosate licence without proof of its safety to “skydiving without checking your equipment first.” And two months ago, the Netherlands agreed and played a crucial role in delaying the vote pending further research.

In March, together we gathered over 240,000 signatures asking the European Parliament to ban the pesticide. And voices from Big Agrochemicals expressed how “upset” they were that politicians heard our concerns — which means we’re striking a nerve in a big way. Now, we need to target our pressure on the Netherlands and make sure they vote in the interest of the people they represent, not Monsanto.

Call on the Netherlands to stick to its commitment to protect us from the dangers of glyphosate and vote against the Commission’s proposal.

The Netherlands’ vote could make or break the future of glyphosate in the EU.

Tell the Dutch government to stick to its principles and oppose the reauthorization of the harmful pesticide.

Thanks for all that you do,
Nabil, Eoin and the team at SumOfUs

**********
More information:

European commission plans to relicense ‘carcinogenic’ weedkiller, The Guardian, 22 April 2016.
[In Dutch] Letter from the government of The Netherlands regarding EU’s glyphosate licence, Rijksoverheid.nl, 1 April 2016.

SumOfUs is a worldwide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy. Please help keep SumOfUs strong by chipping in £3 or become a SumOfUs core member with a regular monthly donation.

Glyphosate campaign

The EU is currently deciding whether to reissue the licence for the use of glyphosate.  This is in spite of a report from the World Health Authority that it is potentially carcinogenic (see below). We need you to support our campaign for a ‘No’ vote when the EU Commission next meets.

An EU environment committee has already voted overwhelmingly against the relicensing. The decision now rests with the EU executive, who will discuss the matter in mid April.

To voice the concerns of Garden Organic and our supporters, we will be sending a letter to Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU’s Health and Food Safety Commissioner, asking him to consider the vast amount of independent scientific evidence compiled in the recent report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), commissioned by the World Health Organisation. This report indicates that glyphosate alone, as well as in chemical formulations, causes genotoxicity in both humans and animals.

In the coming days we will be collecting as many signatures as possible to sit alongside ours and show the committee just how important this issue is. We would like to urge all our members and supporters to read and sign the letter, before 10am on Monday 4th April when we will be sending it off.

Read and sign our letter now

Thank you

Support our campaign for a ‘no’ vote on the relicensing of glyphosate

Glyphosate key facts

  • Glyphosate is a toxic herbicide used to kill weeds. It is rarely used on its own, but as part of a chemical cocktail, for instance with the trade name Roundup. It is the most widely and heavily used chemical used by farmers, gardeners, growers and city councils worldwide.
  • In July 2015, The IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), acting on behalf of the WHO, classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This is based on positive findings of carcinogenicity in regulatory animal studies, as well as limited evidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, particularly amongst farmers.
  • Makers of glyphosate claim that it is unlikely to pollute the water (ground or surface). However, researchers have found traces in wells and ground waters in countries as diverse as Holland, Spain and Canada. It has been found in the residues on the sides of UK reservoirs, and recently Guernsey Water Company found 19 of 20 samples contained glyphosate. Water contamination is probably as a result of drift from spraying, or from soil run off and erosion.

For information about this issue, including the sources of the information contained within this email, and advice on organic weed control methods, click here.

Background on the EU decision can be read here.

Sarpo – crowd funding update

You may recall we helped crowd fund the expansion of the Sarvari Trust which is the home of Sarpo potatoes.  With the funding they have received, the trust has been able to:

–  sell Sarpo seed potatoes more widely – to more garden centres and hardware stores, alotment societies, organic growers and box schemes, farmers, for export and by mail order

–  developed Sarpo as a brand (like Rooster)

–  developed a new website

–  set up a trust to ensure the work of the Sarvari Trust continues in a sustainable manner

Read more by following the link  buzzbnk sarpo 240315.