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June 2022 News Round Up

The Government is pushing ahead with proposals to allow unregulated genetic modification of plants, including food crops, in England – and with hopes to do the same for animals.
Peat-based composts will no longer be available for sale to gardeners by 2024, and to the wider horticultural sector by 2028. It is well established that peatlands have significant potential for carbon storage and biodiversity. Perhaps less well known is their ability to mitigate flooding by slowing water loss and that they provide naturally high-quality drinking water.
When it comes to peat-free alternatives, woodchip is the big thing. Preferably woodchip that has been properly composted down for over 18 months. More peat-free ranges are becoming available – Blue Diamond garden centres for example now stock 22 peat-free growing media. A useful list of Soil Association-certified composts can be found on their website. Successful peat-free alternatives include Dalefoot’s potash rich blends of wool and bracken and Fertile Fibre’s coir-based composts. Although having a water footprint and incurring large transportation distances, coir scores well on the Responsible Sourcing Scheme as it is generally a waste product from coconut plantations and can be highly compressed making it lightweight. Whilst strictly not peat- free Moorland Gold’s compost could be seen as recycling peat containing moorland deposits sourced from Pennine filter beds.

The Seed Co-operative have open days planned for this year
Thu 23 June (Members)
Sat 23 July (Public and Members)
Thu 25 August (Public and Members)
Sat 24 September (Members)
Please feel free to come to any of the above, though you are particularly welcome at the Members' Days, which are Thursday 23 June and Saturday 24 September.
There will be lots to see and plenty of interesting information. 
Please let us know if you would like to come by contacting the Seed Cooperative with your chosen date and the names of attendees.

There is a new report out on allotments, their provision, protection and potential improvement. Written by Erica Douglas and available through the website www.woodlands.co.uk
There are 12,107 allotment and community garden sites across Great Britain, making up 135 km2 of land, but within the last 15 years demand for a plot has greatly increased. With a wealth of benefits to personal health, community well-being and to the environment, there is every incentive to encourage their further provision and use, and to keep protecting those that already exist. This report summarises potential areas for improvement and how increasing the number of plots could be implemented.

News February 2022

New Website

We are excited to let you know that our new website is now working – take a look at wyog.org.uk and see what you think. There are lots of new sections as well as the familiar ones from before. We will continue to add to it, so please send any news and ideas in and we can put them up.

We now have a section on how you can help WYOG so see if there is anything you can offer to help promote organic growing in West Yorkshire. One area where we are weak is on the our use of social media, so if you are good at using it and could use it to promote WYOG please get in touch.

An exciting invite to a garden and a Passivhaus

In 2017, Sue and Peter Taylor took the decision to build a Passivhaus in their garden in Kirkburton near Huddersfield. Work started in 2018 and they were lucky enough to move in about 18 months later, as it was a few months before the first lockdown. Passivhaus is a German concept aimed at producing housing which minimises energy use.

On Saturday July 9th, at 3.00, Sue and Peter will be holding a garden party in their garden for WYOG and Huddersfield Green Party members. There will also be a chance to look round their Passivhaus. So, if you are interested in the house or simply wish to be sociable, it would be great to see you. Please let them know you are coming by contacting us. If you would like to bring a contribution to the food that would be great but please let us know.

A new organic shop in Bingley

Hedgehog Organics will open soon at 90, Main Street Bingley. We'll be selling certified organic (and trusted local but not certified) fruit and veg and a range of other organic foods including bread.  We'll offer a local delivery service too. A range of cleaning products and toiletries will be available as refills and with reduced packaging.  We'll support local growers, producers and suppliers that we know of and we're always on the lookout for more.  We are organic because we want to see more land converted to organic farming.  Organic soils are brimming with tiny lifeforms that enable plants to get everything they need from the soil, without adding artificial fertilisers and pesticides.  Non organic farming relies on massive inputs of fossil fuel for fertilisers and other chemicals, many of which are imported and costing more and more.  The soils end up lifeless and much less effective as carbon sinks.Why hedgehogs? They are a much loved British mammal that are sadly in decline, particularly in rural areas, where chemical treatment might lead to poisoning, but largely reduces the diversity and abundance of hedgehogs' preferred food of invertebrates. Our friends at Bingley Hedgehog Rescue tell us this is leading to many more cases of sick hedgehogs and reducing populations.  A transition to organic farming could help halt this decline by increasing hedgehog friendly habitats and improving the diversity of their food.Our website, hedgehogorganics.co.uk should go live soon. Watch this space.

Potato Day 2022

potato day copyPotato Day decision
The AGM meeting, held on Saturday 27th November, decided that it would not be possible to run a potato day in February as usual. The uncertain situation with Covid, the loss of some key volunteers at that time for health treatments and the difficulty in working out how to run anything that would attract people and be relatively safe, all contributed to this decision. We are sorry about this as we know many folk have been asking and it is a key part of our social calendar. Following the success of our outdoor event this year we hope to run an outdoor event in the Spring as well as the September show next year, and then be back to the more normal potato day in 2023.  Hopefully you will have time to get some of the more interesting seed potatoes from the specialist suppliers.