The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘organic’

roast beetroot, halloumi and freekeh salad

Today marks the midway point of the Soil Association’s annual “Organic September” campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the value of organic food and organic farming. Far from being a fad, organic food is, of course, what we all used to eat before chemical-dependent farming began to dominate food production in the latter part of the 20th century. It is real food. The more of us who choose to […]

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aubergine with pomegranate molasses

Real food begins and ends with the soil. In a balanced, organic system, food is grown in the soil and it eventually returns, in the form of composted organic matter, to enrich the soil. For many centuries agriculture has followed this cycle of life and renewal, always looking to work with nature wherever possible. Plants receive nutrients from the healthy soil they are grown in. But modern industrialised farming methods […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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pad thai

This week the Soil association launched “Not in Our Bread”, a campaign to highlight the use of wheat sprayed with glyphosate as an ingredient in the manufacture of one of the UK’s principal staple foods. Glyphosate, the key component of the weedkiller Roundup, manufactured by global chemicals company Monsanto, was declared to be “probably carcinogenic” by the World Health Organisation earlier this year. The principal reason why up to a […]

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blood orange and thyme sorbet

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. […]

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spinach, mozzarella and Parmesan sausages

California, the state known as America’s breadbasket because it provides so much of the USA’s fresh food, is going through its worst drought in a generation. California is used to drought, and its fertile growing region has survived plenty of such droughts in the past. However, what is happening there to deal with this latest challenge is typical of the responses to water shortages in areas of intensive agriculture across […]

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beetroot and horseradish soup with thyme and caraway 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 […]

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