Organic News - 29 April

Organic News - 6 May


Wildflowers can expose bees to neonicotinoids

Independent studies show 97% of neonicotinoids brought back to honeybee hives come from wildflowers around field fringes, presented at a Soil Association scientific briefing April 28. Three studies have shown that mixtures of neonicotinoids and other pesticides can be found in wildflower nectar and pollen in the spring and summer – and that the degree and length of exposure is higher than previously understood. As a result, the Government’s Pollinator Strategy, which aims to create wildflower havens for bees, could actually be causing them damage. April’s panel determined that more work is needed to investigate chronic exposure to neonicotinoids.

Horticulture Week (28 April 2016)

The Soil Association held a scientific briefing on neonicotinoids on 28 April 2016. Experts Prof Dave Goulson, Dr Penelope Whitehorn and Dr Lynn Dicks presented the latest scientific evidence on the impacts of neonicotinoids. Learn more

Nature escape in urban London

A once-barren wasteland in London, previously used as a chemically-treated water reservoir, has been turned into a nature reserve. Reed beds, hedgerows and wildflower meadows teem with bees, butterflies, insects and migratory birds. The 11-hectare Woodbury Wetlands reserve, opened by Sir David Attenborough, has taken six years to regenerate and has costed £1m. Maintained weekly by volunteers, the reserve offers a bird-watching and nature retreat for Londoners. It is the 42nd nature reserve in London, and one of 2,300 national nature reserves in the UK managed by separate wildlife trusts.

The Guardian (03 May 2016)


Molly Cow! Milk wins national award

The ‘Our Cow Molly’ brand of milk, produced by a Sheffield dairy farm and enjoying considerable commercial success, has won the Future Food Award at the 2016 BBC Food & Farming Awards. The brand of milk is supplied to Sheffield-based coffee shops and Sheffield University, and is now being sold at the city’s branches of The Co-operative. The ‘Our Cow Molly’ brand was launched in response to diminishing returns for dairy farmers, and the need for added value.

The Grocer (29 April 2016) 

'100 Percent Natural' Quaker Oats contain Glyphosate

Despite claiming to be ‘100 Percent Natural’, PepsiCo Inc’s Quaker Oats has been accused of false advertising, due to the glyphosate herbicide used to dry its oats before harvesting.  The case laid against Quaker Oats has stated that, as a synthetic biocide, glyphosate cannot be considered to be ‘natural’. Quaker has responded that only a trace amount of glyphosate is present, below the levels set by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency to be safe for human consumption. While Glyphosate is present in many products on the market, the debate continues as to whether or not it is carcinogenic.

Ecowatch (3 May 2016) 

The Soil Association campaigns to keep glyphosate out of British bread

Eating insects may become mainstream

Broadening culinary horizons in the west and growing environmental responsibility is driving interest in eating insects and attracting serious investment.  Just ten years ago, only a few people looked to  insects as a food source, whereas today it is becoming increasingly common.  Consumption is highest in Belgium and The Netherlands where insect burgers and meatballs are on offer.

Food Manufacture (21 April 2016)


New ideas for sustainable farmers to access land

With 11 hectares of land being concreted over every hour in Europe, there is strong competition for land in an ever-growing urban environment.  Many new farmers can't afford the land they need, leaving the farming landscape in a perilous state with an aging population, diminishing land resources and in the hands large intensive enterprises.  A new film has been launched by the Access to Land Network providing solutions to this issue by looking at what other countries are doing to connect potential farmland with small scale farmers.

Permaculture (4 May 2016)

Learn more about Access to Land

Glyphosate use widespread on wheat, fruit, nuts and vegetables

Concerns about the use of glyphosate on crops have been growing since the herbicide was declared a probable carcinogen by World Health Organisation experts last year. A document released by the US Environmental Protection Agency has revealed that glyphosate use in our food supply is widespread, affecting not only row crops like corn and soy beans, but also a range of fruits, vegetables and nuts.

EcoWatch (5 May 2016)