The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘bees’

slow roast tomatoes with basil spaghetti

A few weeks back, as the UK’s wettest June on record gave way to its hottest July on record, I decided it was time to dust down my bicycle. I have since been out cycling on a regular basis around the lovely city of Worcester where I live. On my trips I have been delighted to see that the Council has deliberately left some roadside verges and traffic islands unmown. […]

Continue Reading →

courgette and red onion pakora

We have become complacent. The seemingly limitless process of replenishing supermarket shelves has detached us from the precarious reality of how that replenishment is actually achieved. The UK’s dependence on long, complex food chains has grown as we have become less and less self-sufficient. Today we produce only 60% of the food we consume. For the rest, we rely on imports, of which 79% come from the European Union. In […]

Continue Reading →

parpadelle with pea, pistachio and mint pesto

In April this year the European Union (EU) finally decided to introduce a permanent ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, following years of compelling evidence of the serious damage they cause to bee populations. A partial ban had already been in place, but the trigger for the EU’s decision was a report from its own organisation, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa). The Efsa report confirmed that neonicotinoid pesticides affect not only […]

Continue Reading →

vegan peanut butter and chocolate tart with roast banana ice cream

I recently read an article about a small group of Canadian beekeepers who were refusing to loan out their bee colonies to blueberry farmers in British Columbia. The reason, they explained, was that they were concerned about the impact on the health of their bees of pollinating only one single crop. This news article struck me on two fronts. Firstly, the very fact that bees need to be transported to […]

Continue Reading →

roast mushroom tagliatelle with tarragon sauce

For the past few weeks I have been building an “insect hotel” at the project where I work as a volunteer on Saturday mornings, Worcester Old North Stables Community Teaching and Display Gardens. The intention is that the “hotel” will provide a haven for hibernating insects, including solitary bees and solitary wasps, butterflies, ladybirds and beetles. If the end result of my endeavours is half decent I may publish a […]

Continue Reading →

triple cooked chips

Of the many things thrown into long-term doubt by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (“Brexit”) is the UK’s commitment to EU environmental policies. Then again, you only need to look at the UK government’s withdrawal of subsidies for renewable energy and support for fracking to see the likely direction of travel. Of particular concern should be the fate of EU’s temporary ban on the use of pesticides […]

Continue Reading →

asparagus, basil and sesame wraps

The European Food Safety Authority recently began a review of the temporary ban on neonicotinoid pesticides imposed two years ago by the European Union (EU) in response to evidence about the harmful effect of these chemicals on bee populations. The evaluation is due to be completed by January 2017 and it could lead to the ban being lifted or maintained. Since its introduction, the multinational pesticides manufacturers Bayer and Syngenta […]

Continue Reading →

Tuscan style bean and vegetable soup

When we think of pollinators, we tend to think about bees, but butterflies are another important insect in the cycle of plant life. They pollinate plants whilst searching for plant nectar and, just like bees, their numbers are in alarming decline. In its report “The State of the UK’s butterflies 2015”, the Butterfly Conservation charity has recorded what it calls “major slumps” in the numbers of common butterfly species. The […]

Continue Reading →

loganberry and lavender ice cream

On my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, I often find myself drawn, by the constant lilting hum of countless bees, to the lavender that grows around the border of the plot. I love to watch these wonderful, busy creatures at work. Some of the bees are honey bees but many of them are wild, such as carder bees and red-tailed and white-tailed bumble bees. When I observe the natural industry […]

Continue Reading →

radicchio, carrot and blood orange salad

The human race first began growing crops around twelve thousand years ago and has been farming ever since. For the last 70 years – a mere 0.005% of the overall timespan – our farmers have been using manufactured pesticides. During this latter time period we have also witnessed a perilous decline in our bee population. This is not a coincidence. The European Union is currently half way through a three-year […]

Continue Reading →