The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘pesticides’

Greek-style tomato fritters

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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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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Szechuan-style tofu with spring onion

Following on from the shocking study into insect population decline published by German scientists earlier this year, a newly published study from France has shown a similarly massive fall in bird numbers. The French survey, which looked at data spanning 15 years, found that bird numbers had fallen by a third in that time. Some species, such as the once-common meadow pipit have seen their numbers decline by up to […]

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mushroom and chestnut ragout with parsnip puree

Seeds are the stuff of life. That is why the increasingly tight grip over the international seeds market by a small group of powerful, unaccountable multinational corporations should cause us alarm. In achieving this market dominance these giant corporations, which include Monsanto, Bayer and Dupont, have enjoyed the support and active connivance of senior politicians. In the USA, for example, nearly thirty states have passed legislation known as “seed-preemption” laws. […]

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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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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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vegan blueberry fool

There has been something of a brouhaha in the British media recently over the prospect of chlorinated chicken being imported into the UK from the USA under the terms of a putative post-Brexit trade deal between the two countries. Beyond that particularly unsavoury prospect there are plenty of other reasons to be alarmed about the potential impact on British food standards of a UK-USA trade deal. For example, farmers in […]

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