The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘artificial fertiliser’

strawberry sorbet

strawberry sorbet

Not long ago Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company (and several times voted “the world’s most evil corporation”), caused alarm amongst environmentalists by launching a hostile take over bid for Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemical producer. The bid was ultimately unsuccessful, but it now appears that the proposed takeover was merely a precursor for a much larger feeding frenzy within the agrochemical industry. Monsanto is back in the news […]

Continue Reading →

portobello and wild mushroom and ale pie

portobello and wild mushroom and ale pie

It is something which is at once amazingly powerful and yet incredibly fragile. Without it we would not exist. Indeed, without it there would be no life on Earth. What is it? Soil. The living skin of planet Earth. This thin, fragile layer on the surface of our planet is literally teeming with life. Grab a small handful of soil and what you hold in your hand will contain more […]

Continue Reading →

damson ketchup

damson ketchup

In 1804, the total population of the human race on planet Earth finally reached one billion. It took a further 123 years for it to reach 2 billion. From there, to reach 3 billion took just a further 33 years. It hit 4 billion 14 years later, 5 billion after another 13, and 6 billion after another 12. That was at the turn of the 21st century, and now we […]

Continue Reading →

yellow tomato gazpacho shots

yellow tomato gazpacho shots

The switch to industrial-scale, chemical dependent agriculture which began in earnest at the end of the Second World War is often incongruously referred to as the green revolution. At the heart of that revolution was the use of chemicals, and artificial fertiliser in particular, to boost crop yields. It is no coincidence that the green revolution coincided with the end of the war. With the domestic military war effort suddenly […]

Continue Reading →

gooseberry and mint sorbet

gooseberry and mint sorbet

Like it or not, each time we buy food we are, in effect, voting for the type of society we wish to live in. When we buy cheap, processed, subsidised food, or food grown using chemical interventions or exploited labour, we are implicitly sanctioning the processes by which that food ended up on our plate. Cheaper, non-organic food costs less because governments hand out disproportionate subsidies to agribusinesses which rely […]

Continue Reading →

blood orange and thyme sorbet

blood orange and thyme sorbet scoop

Healthy soil is fundamental to successful organic farming and gardening. If the soil is healthy, microbes and other soil organisms will thrive, and in turn will naturally decompose organic matter and harness nitrogen from the atmosphere, converting it into organic form. For the organic gardener there are a variety of ways to create and maintain a healthy soil. Many, like me, rely principally on compost generated from waste vegetable matter. […]

Continue Reading →

beetroot and horseradish soup with thyme and caraway croutons

beetroot and horseradish soup with caraway and thyme croutons

Somehow I suspect it won’t end the debate, but it is worth noting that a recently published study by Newcastle University – the biggest of its kind ever undertaken – has reached the very clear conclusion that organic foods are significantly healthier than their non-organic counterparts. The international team which conducted the research not only found that organic foods contained up to 60% more key antioxidants than non-organic, but also […]

Continue Reading →

broad bean, spring onion and oregano soup

broad bean spring onion oregano soup ingredients

With Spring now in full sway down on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, I had (quite literally) a growing number of ingredients from which to choose when creating this recipe to mark National Vegetarian Week. What started as a mere trickle of plants just a few weeks ago – the initial, tentative shoots of asparagus, the first stirrings into life of mint, chives and other herbs – has started […]

Continue Reading →

golden beetroot, saffron and fennel soup

Golden beetroot and fennel soup

There is a very simple philosophy underpinning the organic approach to gardening – feed the soil. Plants need soil, along with sunlight and water, to synthesize the amino acids on which all we humans ultimately depend. Take away any one of these three elements and that process cannot take place. Organic growers use sources such as compost and rotted horse manure to replace nutrients and enrich the soil in which […]

Continue Reading →