Good Old Organic Gardening Advice

This is a fabulous short video I’ve just come across from a 90’s TV series called “Garden Naturally” by Barbra Damrosch and Eliot Coleman.

This is all really sound advice and its as relevant and accurate today as it was back then. To me it seems a little ahead of it’s time in a sense but then I guess these “gardening” techniques tend not to change a great deal and nor should they really. Excellent clip showing what organic gardening growing is all about, keeping it simple and always remembering to “feed the soil and the soil will feed the plants”.

Subjects covered: Soil Fungi, Rock Soil Amendments, Soil Aeration, Organic Matter, Nitrogen Fixation, Compost Making, Scything Weeds, Planting Soft Fruit, Pruning, Mulching Weeds, Soil Fertility & PH, Planting Techniques etc

More to come from Eliot Coleman, in the next few posts to the blog…

The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic

I’ve just bought and watched this very informative documentary film about setting up and maintaining a “permaculture commercial orchard”, excellent for people wondering what permaculture looks like in a commerical sense then this is it. I really enjoyed the aspects on biodiversity, tree pruning, shrub and herbaceous planting, attracting beneficials etc. You might want to consider buying this one, I’m glad I did.

“The Permaculture Orchard : Beyond Organic is a feature-length educational film that will teach you how to set up your own permaculture orchard at any scale. We recognize the limitations of the organic model as a substitute to conventional fruit growing, and want to propose a more holistic, regenerative approach based on permaculture principles. Based on 20 years of applied theory and trial and error, biologist and educator Stefan Sobkowiak shares his experience transforming a conventional apple orchard into an abundance of biodiversity that virtually takes care of itself. The concepts, techniques and tips presented in this film will help you with your own project, whether it is just a few fruit trees in your urban backyard, or a full-scale multi-acre commercial orchard.”

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Over 60% Of Breads Sold In The UK Contain Pesticide Residues

Bread

Traces found in two in every three loaves as experts call for more research into impact on health

Two in every three loaves of bread sold in the UK contain pesticide residues, according to a new analysis of government data by environmental campaigners. Tests on hundreds of loaves also showed that 25% contained residues of more than one pesticide.

The official tests are carried out by the government’s expert committee on pesticide residues in food (Prif) and the levels found were below “maximum residue level” (MRL) limits. The Prif experts concluded: “We do not expect these residues to have an effect on health.”

But Nick Mole, at Pesticide Action Network UK (Pan UK) and an author of the new report, said MRLs only indicate whether the pesticides had been applied to crops in the amounts permitted. “They are nothing to do with people’s health whatsoever,” he said. “There is the possibility of harm from the repeated ingestion of low doses of pesticides and no one has done research on the impact of the cocktails of pesticides we are all exposed to. We are all being experimented on without our consent.”

A major study on the differences between organic and conventional food reported by the Guardian on Friday concluded that pesticides were found four times more often on conventional fruit, vegetables and cereals. “If you want to avoid pesticides, the only sure way to minimise them is eating organic,” said Mole.

Pan UK analysed the pesticides residues reported by Prif in both supermarket own-brand loaves and top brand-name loaves. It found that 63% of the loaves analysed in 2013 contained traces of at least one pesticide and that contamination has run at these levels for at least a decade. The most frequently detected pesticide was glyphosate, a common weedkiller. The next most common were chlormequat, a plant growth regulator, and malathion, an organophosphate insecticide.

The chemicals were found in the bread significantly more frequently than in other foods, where on average 40% of products contain residues.
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Inglorious Fruits And Vegetables Campaign

Watch this video to see how a French supermarket managed to win hearts and minds of its customers and reduced food waste significantly.

Sadly it has been estimated that we waste of 300 Million tons of food a year. This seems almost criminal when you consider that there are many people in the world who are literally starving to death. In part this has come about due to certain foods not meeting the exacting aesthetic standards that the modern consumer now expects. Supermarkets won’t buy ‘Ugly’ fruit and vegetables for risk of not being able to sell them (they say)… well until now that is.

Video Description:
“Intermarché launched the Inglorious Fruits&Vegetables, a film, print, poster and radio campaign, celebrating the beauty of the Grotesque Apple, the Ridiculous Potato, the Hideous Orange, the Failed Lemon, the Disfigured Eggplant, the Ugly Carrot, and the Unfortunate Clementine.
Now you can eat five a day inglorious fruits and vegetables. As good, but 30% cheaper. The inglorious Fruits and Vegetables, a glorious fight against food waste.

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The Edible Garden Series

The Edible Garden – BBC TV Series (2010)

Gardener, presenter and writer Alys Fowler attempts to avoid shop bought fruit/vegetables and live off her own home grown produce. Alys focus on different foods and show how anyone can grow, cook and eat from their own garden even if they live in a urban environment. It’s no easy task for her because she doesn’t want to turn her garden into an allotment  so she’s growing her fruit and veg among flowers. Peas and beans are prolific vegetables but they also look beautiful in the borders too. Alys also goes and makes delicious broad bean falafels and pea shoot cocktails and forages for willow to make plant supports. She has two new additions to the family, her chickens!

As with all of these types of programs their is an element of it being unrealistic and just for TV but it’s still worth watching for those that enjoy this type of thing. I’m sure as with everything you’ll learn a thing or two along the way.

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Cornwall’s Carbon Neutral Farm Offers Hope For Sustainable Agriculture

Free range pigs, UK

With no experience in farming, the Sousek family left their urban life in Kent to run a farm powered by solar panels, a wind turbine and waste vegetable oil

Agriculture is responsible for almost 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and a quarter globally. It doesn’t have to be this way, as farmers Paul and Celia Sousek demonstrate. Their commitment to organic farming without the use of fossil fuels demonstrates that far from contributing to climate change, agriculture can be part of the solution. I headed to Cottage Farm near Jacobstow, North Cornwall to see how on-farm renewables are enabling the Sousek family to fulfil their role as stewards of the environment as they cultivate a successful, family-run farm business.

It’s hard to believe that Paul and Celia Sousek, Farmer of the Year finalists in the BBC Food and Farming awards 2011, had absolutely no farming experience when they upped sticks and moved 300 miles West to Cottage Farm back in 2005. Unfazed, they embarked on their new livelihoods with a weekend course in Cows for Beginners and now oversee 50 hectares of land which is home to cows, sheep, hens and some very vocal geese. So why did the couple leave behind successful careers and the life they had built in Kent to take to the Cornish fields?

“That’s a simple one to answer”, says Paul. “I learnt about peak oil. Right on cue we then had the oil crisis in 2007, swiftly followed by the financial meltdown in 2008. Some believe that has all been resolved, but together with the ever worsening climate change situation, I think our problems are only just beginning.”
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Study Finds Clear Differences Between Organic And Non-Organic Food

organic-food-post

Research is first to find wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals

Organic food has more of the antioxidant compounds linked to better health than regular food, and lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides, according to the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date.

The international team behind the work suggests that switching to organic fruit and vegetables could give the same benefits as adding one or two portions of the recommended “five a day”.

The team, led by Prof Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, concludes that there are “statistically significant, meaningful” differences, with a range of antioxidants being “substantially higher” – between 19% and 69% – in organic food. It is the first study to demonstrate clear and wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals.

The researchers say the increased levels of antioxidants are equivalent to “one to two of the five portions of fruits and vegetables recommended to be consumed daily and would therefore be significant and meaningful in terms of human nutrition, if information linking these [compounds] to the health benefits associated with increased fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption is confirmed”.

Organicfood
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