The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘pesticides’

caramelised onion and thyme tart

Amongst the lies, chicanery and subterfuge that currently passes for politics in the UK right now, most people may have missed a key part of Boris Johnson’s first speech to parliament since becoming Prime Minister. In that speech he urged “let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules, and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world.” Johnson was obliquely presaging a […]

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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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vegan Irish stew

Not for the first time, the US ambassador to the United Kingdom, Woody Johnson, last week insisted that the UK must lower its food standards if it wants to trade with the USA post-Brexit. In an article for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Mr Johnson referred to our existing food regulations as coming from the “European museum of agriculture” before he put forward an unconvincing case for the virtues of chlorinated […]

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vegan rhubarb crumble and custard ice cream

So much of our food supply is controlled by huge agribusinesses and multinational corporations. As they have tightened their grip over the food industry, so they have become increasingly rich, influential and powerful. Their domination of the various processes that bring food to our plates means we have a food supply heavily reliant on monoculture (where vast areas of land are devoted to growing a single crop), supported by agrochemicals. […]

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vegan vegetable hotpot

Most informed scientific opinion now agrees that we are either heading for or already within the Sixth Age of Extinction. For us humans, as well as many other species, this could well mean terminal decline unless we dramatically change the way we live by embracing a balanced, sustainable existence. And of all the human activities that have brought us to the edge of this precipice, it is the way we […]

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portobello steaks with salmoriglio sauce

The Gaia hypothesis, conceived by Professor James Lovelock, contends that the Earth is a self-regulating mechanism. According to Lovelock, this means that the planet as a whole is able to calibrate a highly complex set of interdependent relationships. These relationships are between living organisms (animals, plants, micro-organisms) and inorganic entities (air, water, soil). In fulfilling this regulatory role, the Earth’s ultimate objective is to achieve “steady state”, in other words […]

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frisée, canellini bean and avocado salad

canellini bean and avocado salad with smoked paprika and garlic dressing

Farming in the UK began approximately 6,000 years ago with the gradual clearance of forest land to make way for fields for the growing of crops. Over the ensuing centuries, and until the industrial revolution of the late eighteenth century, farming methods and techniques evolved at a gradual pace and remained relatively simple, relying upon sustainable practices and techniques handed down from generation to generation. The introduction of mechanisation, which […]

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Greek-style tomato fritters

vegan tomato keftedes

I grow a modest amount of fruit and vegetables in my back garden. This year the list has included cherries, pears, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, raddichio, peas, beans, courgettes, red onion squash, cabbage, chickpeas, leeks, kale and chard. Aside from the sheer pleasure which gardening provides, I also know exactly how each plant has been grown: carefully and tenderly nurtured. Of course, I grow only a tiny proportion of the […]

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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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