SOME VERY IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS FIRST:
An essential SIX of an A, BEE, C GUIDE!
1. THE BEE COALITION
Formed in the UK in 2012, consists of Buglife, Client Earth, Friends of the Earth, RSPB, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Environmental Justice Foundation, Natural Beekeeping Association, Pesticide Action Network and the Soil Association. These organisations are all working to engage with and lobby policymakers to bring their attention to the serious plight of bees and other pollinators eg butterflies. Pollination services by bees currently contribute £6 billion to the UK farming industry, and 8 out of 10 UK wildflowers need insect pollinators to reproduce. Let`s bless and thank our bees, as Dorothy suggests…..
Act now for bees .…read on and list your intent……next week, next month ,this year
2 F1 HYBRID SEEDS
Seed is selected and saved from plants over many years. Desirable characteristics often equate to vigour, high yield, uniformity or pest resistance. POLLEN from 2 distinctly different parent plants is the transferred to produce offspring which is vigorous, pest resistant etc =the F1 hybrid seed. If seed is saved and sown from this hybrid, the seeds will not grow true to type ie they may not resemble the parent. To maintain the F1`s EXACT desirable characteristics, the parent plants must be crossed over and over again, causing a reduction in genetic diversity. This also means the gardener cannot seed save, but needs to repeatedly buy the F1 plant, and this plant cannot adapt and evolve to local climatic conditions. Most garden centres only sell F1 hybrid seed packets as they are more profitable. It should say on the bottom of a seed packet if it is an F1 hybrid.
3 GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEED
Seed collected from a plant which has had a “foreign gene “ie from another species, inserted into its DNA ,in order to produce a desired characteristic eg a gene from snowdrops inserted into potatoes to reduce blight. Can produce poisons to kill insects.
4 NEONICITINOIDS (neonics)
Main producers: Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta are systemic pesticides based on nicotine, mainly used to control aphids. They are applied at the root, as a seed coating or soil drench, and are taken up by all of the plant ie root, stem, foliage, pollen. The toxins remain active for many weeks and the infected pollen is what causes bee deaths or neurological disorientation when foraging for pollen/nectar, which causes bees to lose their way back to their field nest (bumblebees) or their hive (honeybees) They are particularly susceptible here to neonics on oilseed rape crops, as bees are naturally attracted to its sweet scent.” Nicotiana” is the plant of origin.
The 3 highest risk neonics to bees are imidacloprid, thiamehoxam and clothianidin…..
2013 U S A : “a single corn kernel coated with a neonicitinoid can kill a songbird”
These 3 are currently temporarily banned in the EU, and by DEFRA in England, but not in Scotland, but 2 others, thiacloprid and acetimaprid are available in garden centres on Bayers “Bugkiller” range, Multirose bug killer ,”Rose Clear” and Baby bio house plant insecticide.
They are reputedly 4,000 times more toxic than DDT and can remain in the soil for many years or seep into underground water sources…
5. OPEN POLLINATED SEEDS
Seeds created by the natural process of pollination, ie pollen is transferred from the male to the female parts of the same or a different flower, assisted by pollinating insects, birds, the wind or other natural mechanisms. This leads to successful fertilisation. Open pollinated seed can be collected and saved from healthy plants, and can be grown to closely resemble the plant from which the seed was taken. Open pollinated seed can then be grown, selected and saved to adapt to local conditions, increasing BIODIVERSITY.
6.SEED FREEDOM MOVEMENT AND FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
…..needs pollination to happen….
To develop the skill of seed saving and to begin to reclaim our whole food system.
“The right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods,” to help create a hugely diverse living bank of seeds that constantly adapts to changes and increases local resilience. This IS CO-CREATING.
Local seed swops and seed savers co-operatives are an example of this. Basic idea is that each member saves open-pollinated seeds, comes away with many more varieties and is less reliant on hybrid seeds bought from large national seed companies.
?? HOW DO WE APPLY THE THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL PRINCIPLE HERE?
With difficulty, but not impossible! We want to support our local nursery and to plant locally sourced native wildflowers
- SEED SWOPS done regularly with plant information at Newbold House,Forres
- See also the Scottish website Common Good Food for seed saving info:
- LOCAL TO HIGHLANDS , CERTIFIED ORGANIC AND BIODYNAMIC:
- POYNTZFIELD HERB NURSERY Black Isle, near Cromarty and Udale bay on N side of Black Isle off the B9163 poyntzfieldherbs.co.uk Tel 01381 610352 Herb garden since 1976.Open for visits and sales from 1-5pm May to Sept, also sends plants/seeds online. Large catalogue with native species in English, botanical Latin and colloquial Gaelic names. Seeds sell at £1-2, plants £1.50 to £6.00. Post and package: up to £20 is £7.50,min order £10
4. Local but not organically certified as use 1 herbicide to stop weeds (as most companies do)
SCOTIA SEEDS, Wildflowers of Scotland Mavisbank,Farnell,Brechin, Angus DD9 6TR tel.01356 629183 Mail order only
www.scotiaseeds.co.uk Provides a very wide mix of meadow flowers/grasses sells traditional Scottish wildflowers and rare species, Latin ,Gaelic and English names. Packets to start a wildflower area on dry,sea or cornfield conditions, min 50kg
Eg Bird, bee and Butterfly mix 50gm £15.00 plus P&P £1.99 plus planting advice
Cornfield Annual mix 50gm £ 8.00 “ “
One Individual species £ 2.60 comes with plant story and soil requirements
Definitions and related links
(selected by Ethical Consumer and “The Ecologist”