There is evidence that neonicotinoids marketed by the likes of Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto (of genetic modification fame) are killing bees...Yes, of course its not ALL farmers who use this kind of stuff, but many do - and so do many ordinary gardeners. We've reached a point where its seen as 'normal' to use poisons in farming and gardening. Look at the common use of slug pellets ...and when did you last see a thrush ? I find it laughable (and of course very sad) that humans see themselves as so separate from nature that they think its fine to soak the planet in poisons - whilst assuming it won't affect them!
out of the blue came the letter from the Town Council - 'you have an allotment - plot 48b - you can start right away'.
- suddenly we are people who can grow stuff...well, serious stuff! - so Luke dug and we planted some chitting spuds from under the sink
we broke off the old raspberry canes and stuck them in the ground.
we dug some more and planted onions and garlic (released from a pot in the kitchen). Chris pulled up the long tough grass growing round the strawberry plants and gave us baby brassicas and a chestnut tree in a pot
we filled carrier bags with dandelion clocks and seed heads - '1 year's seeding 7 years weeding!' said Steve
Sue gave us a key to her new shed and showed us her sherry, glasses, kettle, and the red and green grass cutter her dad had given her (no petrol, no electricity)
Steve said - 'Oh you're growing brassicas...you'll have to cover them or birds 'll have 'em - you can borrow my cages'
'Don't you need them? ' 'No - I've got club root - can't grow brassicas - you can't get rid of it'
we cut Steve's grass path with Sue's mower
Margaret had some palettes and Bill built a compost stable - also using the bricks at the back of the plot.
Now our allotted plot looks quite 'meant' ...... allotment
The blackbirds approve of the digging as it unearths worms - but I'd like to do some permaculture...so we're going to start a small tree nursery with the tiny oak trees dug out of the grass at the playground near Thirsk, Chris's chestnut and some birches rescued by Luke.
Shan Oakes was Green Party candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough in 2015. She previously stood for Haltemprice & Howden for 2010 and in the 2008 by-election coming second out of 26 candidates.
Shan lived in Beverley from 1975. She taught English at schools in Hull and Beverley. This was followed by eight years championing child welfare, parent partnership and special needs for Humberside County Council and City of York education departments, and further work in the York Community Safety Partnership.
Shan then spent two and a half years living, working and learning a great deal in Uganda. She is a co-founder (with Bill Rigby) of Voice International, which promotes sustainability through education. In her MSc dissertation
(Education for Sustainability) Shan argues that diversity is fundamental to sustainability.
Shan works with organisations such as Friends of the Earth Transition Towns, the Earth Charter UK. Shan and Bill run an eco holiday house in York. They moved to Knaresborough in 2014 to be nearer some of their 11 grandchildren - who are a wonderful window into the future.