The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘neonicotinoids’

spiced aubergine with chickpeas and wilted spinach

At last, some good news: last week the governments comprising the European Union (EU) voted to ban the agrochemical thiacloprid, which is produced and marketed by the global chemical company Bayer. Thiacloprid is one of a group of neonicotinoid pesticides, all of which are strongly linked to the collapse in worldwide bee populations. In reaching its decision the EU stated that it was also concerned that thiacloprid had now found […]

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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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broccoli, pea and chive tart

The Chief Executive of Swiss chemical giant Syngenta warned recently that if the world abandons the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops in agriculture “there could very well be, 10 to 20 years from now, significant issues around feeding the world.” As Mandy Rice-Davies once famously said “Well he would say that wouldn’t he?” Syngenta – already the world’s largest manufacturer of pesticides – is about to merge with […]

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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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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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cannellini beans with garlic and oregano

Earlier this month it was reported that neonicotinoids had been found in drinking water in the USA. Neonicotinoids are chemical compounds found in a number of pesticides and have been heavily implicated in the alarming global decline in bee populations. They only came on to the agrochemical market in the late 1990s and because they are still relatively new, no “safe” level of exposure for humans has yet been established […]

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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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