Charlotte Haworth

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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Building Up Soil for a Nutrient-Rich Raised Bed

All photos by David Ashwanden A lot of permaculture involves utilising waste streams and turning problems into solutions, and I often bring these into practice by looking at what’s available around me and how I can use it effectively. With this in mind, having come across some old bath tubs, I decided to create some raised beds, building up the soil using a layer mulch recipe rich in a mix […]

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The Meat Industry and Ideas for What We Can Do About It

Some practical ideas about the meat industry Spacious chicken houses — a stark minority (Photo by David Ashwanden) In many countries, the state of the meat industry is fairly well publicised: poor conditions for animals (see for example 1, 2), strange and unnatural foods and medicines getting into our food chain (see for example 3; 4), unclear labelling (see for example 5), and mass industrialised butchery (see for example 6). […]

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Grow Heathrow: Response to Comments

Photo: Transition Heathrow Having received some rather interesting comments on the article about Grow Heathrow, I felt it worthwhile to expand upon some of the issues surrounding the project. As it says in my article (1), the legal situation of Grow Heathrow is far from certain and court proceedings against the people who set up the project actually began a few months into it. However, the project is still going […]

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European Seed Law: A Potential Threat to Biodiversity Everywhere

Tomorrow, the 11th of February, 2014, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will meet to discuss and re-vote on the passing of a proposed new EU regulation which, if made into law, will enforce massive restrictions on the way that seeds can be sold, swapped, or even simply saved (1) (2) (3). The potential consequences of this would affect the biodiversity of the whole world. The new law, known as […]

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