GOOD FOOD NEWS
Volume 5 Number 20 May 21, 2013
FIELD NOTES: by Daniel D'Agostini, Abbondanza, Plymouth
In mid-April I was overwhelmed with the thought of the work ahead, planting out 80 tomato plants, preparing the beds for those plants (each plant gets its own gopher cage), cleaning all the lavender rows that were overgrown, preparing the ground for lots of squashes (hubbards, butternuts, red kuru, etc.), melons peppers, eggplants….oh so much to do. Plus pick flowers for the teas I use. Those are dandelion, yarrow, chamomile, and valerian. I felt like giving up and then came in the house and checked my e-mail. There was a note from a WWOOFer stating that my little farm sounded like a place they would like to help and learn. I read their description about themselves and they sounded like a perfect fit so I wrote right back "I need you right now!" Within three days Kristin and Albin arrived like two heaven sent angels.
They have just left but in the two weeks they were here the three of us worked and worked and laughed and had a joyous time. And all the tomatoes are in, all my beds are in clean beautiful order - all my summer crops planted and already coming up. The little farm looks like a manicured park. I am so grateful to this energetic young couple. The WWOOF program can be wonderful and this time it was amazing.
At my elevation and climate the winter garden is winding down, still a lot of mizuna, a little lettuce and kale, and lot of fava beans. The bees in my top bar hive seem to be thriving and happy. My activities over the next month or so will focus on spraying my plants with teas.
Visitors are always welcome, just give me a call or e-mail in advance.
All photos in this issue are courtesy of Daniel, and feature his WWOOFers and the work they did.
For more information about World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), go to: www.wwoofinternational.org
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE NEWS:
Sent in by Daniel D'Agostini, of Abbondanza
Europe just banned bee-killing pesticides! Mega-corporations like Bayer threw everything they had at this, but people-power, science and good governance came out on top!
Vanessa Amaral-Rogers from the specialist conservation organisation Buglife, says:
“It was a close vote, but thanks to a massive mobilisation by Avaaz members, beekeepers, and others, we won! I have no doubt that the floods of phonecalls and emails to ministers, the actions in London, Brussels and Cologne, and the giant petition with 2.6 million signers made this result possible. Thank you Avaaz, and everyone who worked so hard to save bees!”
Bees pollinate two thirds of all our food -- so when scientists noticed that silently, they were dying at a terrifying rate, Avaaz swung in to action, and we kept on swinging until we won. This week’s victory is the result of two years of flooding ministers with messages, organizing media-grabbing protests with beekeepers, funding opinion polls and much, much more.
But the EU ban is only in place for 2 years pending further review. And around the world bees continue to die from the pesticides which weaken and confuse them, as well as from loss of habitat as we plough up and build over the countryside. In Europe and across the world there's lots of work to do to ensure sound science guides our farming and environmental policies.
For more information, go to www.avaaz.org .
IN YOUR BOX THIS WEEK:
Turnips-- “ Most cooks think of turnips only in winter, but I reach for them all year long. Whether braised in stews or simmered in soups, slivered into salads or simply sliced, buttered, salted and nibbled raw as a snack (a favorite with my 4-year-old), turnips are quietly making a bid for your attention. They deserve it. Sweet and juicy, crisp and taut, they have a mild mustardy undertone that is characteristic of their cruciferous lineage.”
– Melissa Clark, in the NY Times, February 1, 2013
See Melissa's recipe in the recipe section.