The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘bees’

balsamic roasted strawberries

The glorious British strawberry season is upon us. If, like me, you grow your own strawberries you’ll be starting to enjoy harvesting these lovely summer fruits. I grow seven different varieties, most of them in hanging baskets, to maximise growing space in my garden for other fruit and vegetables (growing them this way also helps keep slugs at bay). If you choose to buy some of these juicy seasonal fruits, […]

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vegan rhubarb and lemongrass fool

Bumble bees, the wild cousins of the honey bee, are crucial to our existence. They help pollinate around a third of the world’s farmed and wild plants upon which humans and other species depend. Over recent years their numbers have declined alarmingly as a result of multiple factors, including intensive farming, pesticides and parasites. However, a new study conducted by the University of Ottowa has revealed that climate change is […]

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caramelised banana cake

There is no longer any doubt that neonicotinoid based pesticides are playing a significant role in the catastrophic collapse in world bee populations. Neonicotinoids, introduced in the 1990s, were designed to kill insect pests, but the reality is that they do not discriminate between pests and beneficial insects. As bees are larger than most insects, neonicotinoids don’t usually kill them outright, but studies have shown that they cause reduced sperm […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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pappardelle 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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