Charlotte Haworth

La Loma Viva

Of all the countries in Europe, Spain could be arguably said to be the most destructive and irresponsible when it comes to agriculture: widely condoned cultivation of genetically modified crops (see for example 1), high-input intensive farming and notably heavy use of chemicals for fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides (see for example 2). This is especially true in Andalucía, where the most common method of agriculture is use of controlled environments […]

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Understanding Water Part 1: The Theory of Flow

It’ such a key part of our lives – indeed, all of life – that it can be said to be quite literally elementary; but much of the way in which this vital force is being used appears sometimes to lack some understanding of what water is, and how it behaves. A Fragile Resource? Much of current thinking (see for example 1) emphasises the fragility of our access to water […]

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Real Farming and Seed Exchange: Making Connections and Sowing Change

Photos © Ingrid Pullen Though we are less than three months into 2015, already the year has seen some momentous occasions in the sphere of changing attitudes towards food and agriculture. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (1) has designated this year the ‘Year of Soils’ (2): a positive sign, perhaps, that soil is becoming recognised by international organisations, although the time designation does seem to beg the question […]

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Varieties, Additives and Sourcing: What’s Happening with your food?

Photography by Ingrid Pullen Eating: one of the most simple and basic human activities. Yet as our food systems become increasingly more mechanised and complicated, this simple act begins to carry with it a whole spectrum of messages. When you lift that juicy apple to your lips, do you think about which chemicals were used to make it so perfectly red? How many miles has it been traveling in order […]

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Orchards Without Borders

Last week I joined one of the final (for now) in a series of trips between France and England in order to promote biodiversity, preservation of cultural heritage, and, some might say crucially, the joys of eating and growing high-quality food. The exchanges, which are a part of the project Orchards without Borders (Vergers Sans Frontiers) (1), were organised by a mix of British and French organisations with help from […]

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Seed Saving, Part 2: Practical Ways to Save Seed

Saving wildflower seeds can be a great way to spread biodiversity – like this selection harvested by Josie Jeffrey Having learned some background knowledge on why you would want to save seeds in the first place (see Part I), you may now be wondering how to go about doing it. There are many ways to do this, and though it can be as simple as keeping a few leftover tomato […]

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Seed Saving, Part 1: Seedy Issues

For many interested in permaculture, one of the first and perhaps simplest joys of becoming more involved in holistic design is the experience of being able to harvest something which you have grown yourself; whether it is pesto made of basil from your window-sill or a forest garden so packed with fruit, nuts and climbing vines that you are not sure what you will do with them all. If you […]

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The Importance of Eating Food

With global food prices rising (see for example 1), concerns over climate change causing major disruptions in the food supply system (see for example 2), and the dubious nature of many food additives or products (see for example 3), it is no surprise that there appears to be a growing trend towards foraging for wild food. But how can we be sure that what we pick is good to eat? […]

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Scientific Research Condemns Neonicotinoid Pesticides: What More Will It Take?

Photo © Craig Mackintosh Last week, newly-published research (1) in the Nature journal links a type of pesticide whose use has been restricted in the EU to the decline of bird population in the Netherlands. The study, which focussed on a particular type of neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, found that where the chemical was present in a “high concentration” — more than 20 nanograms (ng) per litre of surface water — it […]

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Organic Europe – Growing or Wilting?

ducks in a permaculture system scotland feat

Europe’s status as one of the most rigidly regulated and GM-controlled agricultural zones in the world (1) is being severely tested in a number of ways: regulations allowing member states to choose whether or not to support genetic modification (2) (3), corporations suing the European Parliament for banning dangerous pesticides (4), and the mysterious TTIP (see for example 5, 6) lurking shadily in the background. Growing Last week, however, a […]

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Propagation Using Willow Water

There are many ways to propagate plants, which can be broadly divided into sexual and asexual. Taking cuttings is an asexual method, as your new plants will be clones of the mother. The method is simply to cut a new shoot from an existing plant and encourage it to take root itself. Information abounds about which plants are best to take cuttings from, and how to go about the process, […]

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Spreading Seeds

The seed regulation proposal from the European Union (1, 2), which could have severely disrupted the biodiversity of the entire continent and ultimately the planet (3), was dismissed in March (4); recognised as the bad idea so many thought it was. Regardless of your opinions on the EU, the fact that the act was proposed in the first place shows the power of a well-organised international network, and the significance […]

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