For mental health awareness week, I consider the therapeutic qualities of soil, both in terms of the well-being derived from the practice of gardening, and the biochemical reactions triggered by soil biology. Mental health awareness week was founded by the Mental Health Foundation in 2000 and since then has taken place every year in the second … Continue reading Mindfulness in the mud
To celebrate the beginning of May this year, I took a short bike ride 12km out of Oxford to some woodlands near Elsfield in search of wild garlic, also known as ramsons, buckrams, bear leek or bear's garlic. The plant, native to Europe and Asia, is actually a wild relative of the chive. Their latin name … Continue reading If you go down to the woods today: wild garlic in Britain’s ancient woodlands
New research suggests that we should be upping our veg intake from 5 to 10 portions a day. But is it all about quantity, or should we be looking closer at the quality of our veg? In the news recently, it has been announced that rather than the recommended daily fruit and veg intake of 5 … Continue reading One of your 10-a-day: the root of our veg problem
It is the subject that has been on everybody's jaw-dropped lips this week as the United States of America has announced that their new president-elect is to be Donald Trump. The presidential campaign has been like no other before, causing endless discussions, furrowed brows and brain racking in pubs, offices, cafés and dining rooms the … Continue reading Has the sustainable food movement been trumped?
On the last farm on which I worked, the wise man who ran the farm advised us to "judge a farm by its compost". This was an ecological farm working to biological principles, aiming to harness the best of organic, conventional, bio-dynamic and regenerative techniques to grow exceptional food good for the body and the … Continue reading “Judge a farm by its compost”
What is a weed? Along with slugs and snails, they are probably at the top of the gardener's hitlist. They seem to grow at 100x the speed of things you actually want to grow on your land, and once you remove them, after hours of toiling, they reappear in the blink of an eye. But what distinguishes … Continue reading What is a weed?
With the awareness of the environmental crises caused by the livestock industry gaining more and more popularity, many people are starting to ponder what we, as a species, may eat in the future. One solution proposed by researchers, and practiced by many indigenous people for millennia, is to the practice of eating insects, otherwise … Continue reading Grubs Up!
When talking about increasing the impact of sustainable farm projects, people often discuss it in terms of 'scaling up' sustainable growing. But what does that actually mean? According to the online Cambridge Dictionary, to scale something up is: “to increase the size, amount, or importance of something, usually an organization or process”. Implicit in this … Continue reading Lots of Little Ones or One Big One?
Perhaps this isn't the best image to use for what I am about to write about here. The snail, enemy of the humble gardener since the dawn of time. But they represent something more than just their penchant for allotment veg. Here, they represent an approach to food, or life even. They represent an appropriate … Continue reading Slow and Steady Wins the Race
1. Introduction Can we achieve a more sustainable food consumption by reframing the act of eating as a social practice? Conventional approaches which see unsustainable eating practices as the result of individuals choosing to behave in environmentally damaging ways are questionable, as they do not take into account the social, political, institutional and other factors … Continue reading Eating as a Social Practice?