The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘bees’

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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onion bhaji

Several research projects in recent years have confirmed the positive effects of gardening as a mental health intervention, particularly in cases involving anxiety and depression. This makes sense: we gardeners plant and sow seeds, often in cold and unpromising conditions, in the hope and expectation that good things will grow from them. We are optimists, either by nature or through experience. Gardening encourages us to adapt to a different pace […]

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Vietnamese style tofu with pak choi and basil

Last month the global chemicals giant Syngenta applied to the UK government for an “emergency exemption” from a temporary EU ban on the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids. Thanks in no small part to the activities of environmental protesters and the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, who delivered a petition of 200,000 signatures to Downing Street, Syngenta eventually decided to withdraw its request just before the cabinet was due to discuss […]

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