Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Protect our Seeds

The European Commission is changing the European Union’s plant legislation, apparently to enhance food safety across the continent. This move has sparked a heavy opposition from many, saying that the measure will threaten seed diversity and favour large agrochemical businesses. This new law creates new powers to classify and regulate all plant life anywhere in Europe. You can view the entire proposal in the list of sources at the bottom of this article.

The “Plant Reproductive Material Law” regulates all plants. It contains restrictions on vegetables and woodland trees, as well as all other plants of any species. It will be illegal to grow, reproduce, or trade any vegetable seed or tree that has not been been tested and approved by the government, more specifically the “EU Plant Variety Agency.” This agency will be responsible for making a list of approved plants and an annual fee must also be forwarded to the agency if growers would like to keep what they grow on the list. The new law basically puts the government in charge of all plants and seeds in Europe, and prevents home gardeners from growing their own plants from non-regulated seeds. If they did, they would now be considered criminals.

The draft text of the law has already been changed several times due to a large backlash from gardeners.

This law will immediately stop the professional development of vegetable varieties for home gardeners, organic growers and small scale market farmers. Home gardeners have really different needs – for example they grow by hand, not machine, and can’t or don’t want to use such powerful chemical sprays. There’s no way to register the varieties suitable for home use as they don’t meet the strict criteria of the PLant Variety Agency, which is only concerned about approving the sort of seed used by industrial farmers – Ben Gabel, Director of The Real Seed Catalogue

It seems the government is taking over everything, virtually all plants, vegetables seeds and gardeners are to be registered by the government. What’s even more disturbing is that all heirloom seeds will be criminalized. This means that saving seeds from from one generation to the next will become a criminal act!

This law was written for the needs of the globalized farm seed industry, who supply seed by the ton to industrial farmers. It should not apply at all to seed used by home gardeners and small market growers. Freely reproducible seeds should be a human right, they are part of our heritage.

I understand this is to protect the business of big agri-companies, but registration and testing should be voluntary for all non GMO, non-patented and non hybrid seed.

Please Sign the Petition at https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_dont_accept_this_Let_us_keep_our_seeds_EU

from http://www.collective-evolution.com/

Monday, December 29, 2014

Our Limes trees get a hair cut @ Landmark

We gave our Lime Trees at the Landmark Garden a hair cut today. 

The two main trees were reduced by a third and the sucker was removed. This will greatly add light to the garden at the front as well as maintaining the trees.

The Limes Tress are an important feature of garden - not only do they help frame, support wildlife  and shade but are also a vital part of the edible aspect of the garden. You should try some new lime leafs in a spring salad!

A big thank you to George Kitching and Crew from Mongeham Logs who donated their time, equipment and expertise for the Tree Surgery.

Thanks also to all the volunteers who supported this on a cold morning from the Landmark Centre and Garden.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused to anyone using the High Street this morning ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 24th December 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

The subject of waste is always one to bear in mind, particularly at Christmas time when there is both lots of food waste and lots of packaging leftover when the festivities are finished. The best policy to follow is, of course, to waste as little as possible and to recycle as much as possible.

Plastic waste is a huge problem today. Research has shown that there are more than five trillion pieces of plastic, weighing 269,000 tonnes, floating in the world’s oceans. This is damaging to the entire food chain. The amount of plastic pieces, mostly from food, drink, clothes packaging and fishing gear was calculated from data taken from 24 expeditions over a six year period to 2013.

The ocean’s wildlife is being affected in two different ways; large pieces of plastic can strangle seals, turtles eat plastic bags and fish ingest fishing lines while smaller pieces are eaten by fish and therefore passed up the food chain, eventually to humans.

All this plastic has accumulated in five large ocean gyres, where circular currents churn up and shred the debris, making it more ingestible to smaller creatures. Each of the major oceans has a plastic filled gyre, the most famous is the ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’ covering an area approximately the size of Texas.

Researchers expect that the volume of rubbish will increase because more and more ‘throwaway’ plastic is being produced and only 5% is recycled worldwide.

We need to act more responsibly and recycle much more.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Victoria Nicholls.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

'A thousand lights to chase the darkness'

We had a really great afternoon and fantastic response to our Winter Solstice celebration 'A thousand lights to chase the darkness'.

It was great to see the number and range of people dropping in - many bringing jars and lights others just wandering in from some shopping.

It was gentle and magical; a great example of the community coming together on a winter's afternoon.

The mulled elderflower wine was going down faster than we could cook it.

The oysters were flying out of their shells and cobb nuts were wolfed down.

We had great entainment from the Sunshine Ukes and Roisin Murray told us some winter stories.
 Nick and Kieran from Chocolution came with real chocolate treats.

We had Lucia Stuart from the Wild Kitchen with her foraged oysters from Minnis Bay in a roman style.

Roisin had brought samples of "foraged" goodies such as bramble chutney, sloe gin, blackberry and redcurrent vodka
The fruiters in the town market had kindly donated an array of fruit.

Lots of people mucked in and helped openning oysters, lighting candles, cooking nuts, clearing up, singing, telling stories, bringing jars and lights to make it a great success.

It was a great way to end our second year in the Landmark Garden.

Thank you all for coming and contributing.

Happy Winter Solstice and Love from Deal With It + the Landmark Gardeners (Imogen, Tracy and Steve) x

All our photos can be found here

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sparkle at the Deal Station Garden

Our Gardeners were out today doing a end of year tidy and adding some sparkle to our planters at the Station.

Thanks to Sarah, Phillip and Pat

Happy Xmas to all from Deal Station Garden group

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 18th December 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
In the early hours of Sunday morning in Lima, Peru, United Nations (UN) members have reached agreement on how countries should tackle climate change. These talks were being held to forge a blueprint for a global agreement due to be adopted in Paris in 2015.

The Lima climate talks began on an upbeat note after China, USA and the European Union announced new commitments to cut carbon pollution. The euphoria was short lived as they were brought down to earth by the perennial divide between rich and poor nations in the negotiations. Countries need to share the burden for carbon dioxide reduction but who will pay?

Industrialised countries are held responsible for the pollution that is causing the climate change effects that are already being felt but developing nations are not seeing the commitment needed to limit emissions. Developed countries are now expected to set targets that go beyond their present undertaking.

There had been an initiative for rich nations to provide $100bn a year for climate finance by 2020 but developing nations are bitterly disappointed by the way that the green climate fund has been reduced over the years. There has now been a loss and damage scheme established to help poorer countries cope with the financial implications of rising temperatures. Environmental groups are scathing in their response to the document, stating that it is nowhere near drastic enough. Their fears that there would not be a fair and ambitious outcome have been tragically accurate

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A thousand lights to chase the darkness - Solstice celebration at the Landmark Garden Deal

'A thousand lights to chase the darkness' is our Winter Solstice 'Seedy Saturday' celebration on Saturday 20th Dec between 3pm - 5pm @ Landmark Community Garden on Deal's thriving High Street

We want to celebrate the close of our second year at the Landmark Garden with a special ‘Seedy Saturday’.

The idea of is flood the garden with lights – both candle and solar powered – and come together with music, mulled wine and winter treats to celebrate the winter solstice on Sunday.

We have local performers singing tradition English winter songs, The Sunshine Ukes to get us singing, story tellers, poetry as well as an interesting array of local treats to sample: such as mulled elderberry punch, roasted Cobb nuts and Chestnuts, fresh oysters with roman dressing, Georgian oyster loaves and some medieval gingerbread. All local or foraged food flavoured with herbs from our garden.

There will be a few stalls from Chocolution and the 'Wild Kitchen' with Lucia Stuart

Please bring a jar with a tea light, dress warm and help us chase the darkness for another year!

We would welcome any donation of jars, teas lights - please drop a line to info@dealwithit.org.uk or see us any Saturday morning at the Landmark Garden.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 11th December 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:The word ‘sustainable’ is much over used at the present time but the principles that it represents are vital if we want to live in a world which is not slowly destroying itself. Simply, it means that we should live today in such a way that future generations do not pay the price.

Our ‘buy-cheap-and-throw-away’ society is not sustainable. In this country households throw away 26,000 tonnes of waste and we only recycle half of that material. Commercial and industrial waste is much worse with 48,000 tonnes, only 21% of which is recycled. This is a linear economy, with the producers of goods giving no consideration to the fate of those products at the end.

To live a sustainable lifestyle we need a circular economy. Some companies have the foresight to already run their businesses this way with products that are obsolete being sent back to the production line to be made into something else. Restaurants that run their vehicles on biodiesel made from cooking oil are the obvious example but there are more. There are fashion houses that collect used clothing for the material to be reused in industry and Japanese manufacturing companies carry out their own recovery and recycling processes.

With some raw materials becoming scarce, resources that used to be considered waste are now being looked at as a source of supply. This will also be cost effective as the price of raw materials rise.

‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ is the principle that we all must follow.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 4th December 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: Some excellent news last week for the UK jobs’ market and in particular, the Isle of Wight, where the world’s largest wind power company has stated that it will restart turbine production, five years after it closed down its manufacturing operation.

Danish company, Vestas, has maintained a research and development unit on the Isle of Wight which is employing 225 people and will reopen the plant next year when it will begin manufacturing the most powerful wind turbines in the world. The company have said that the operation will be worth up to £200million and 800 jobs in the UK.

The new blades which are 260 feet long will generate 8MW which is twice the capacity of earlier designs and are expected to be used to extend the existing wind farm in Liverpool Bay which was given the go-ahead last September.

The UK has been accused of failing to provide a stable market for onshore wind farms, mostly due to the failures of the planning system where permission is hard to come by. Some reports have suggested that climate change scepticism among Tory MPs has led to planning permission being stymied and some small wind farms have gone into administration owing to cuts in the feed in tariff scheme. Our ‘greenest government ever’ again stands in the way of progress.

We heard recently of the £2million subsidy that was given to our ailing coal industry when we need to be using that money to encourage renewable energy production.