#Immediacy on speech making

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FOE

IRAIN - It recognises that nature has sustained a rich mantle of life on....

It recognises that nature has sustained a rich mantle of life on the planet for millions of years, producing a yield and a range of crops that no gardener can hope to match. It sees gardening as the careful manipulation of natural cycles in such a way that they give us what we need in terms of food and beauty, but without unnecessary damage to soil, plants and wildlife. The rapid post-war increase in chemical gardening, with a spray for every insect and a poison for every weed, may have given many gardeners instant solutions to specific problems.

But we now know that the long-term consequences - the death of the soil and the indiscriminate destruction of wildlife - cannot justify the sustained use of a chemical arsenal. The garden suffers and in the long run we suffer too, from sterile soil and contaminated food. The organic approach involves more than the questioning of unnecessary chemicals, however.

A more holistic perspective recognises the dangers of losing traditional species, and of over-dependence on exotic hybrids controlled by an ever smaller number of large companies. It asks us to rethink what we mean by pests and weeds. It asks us to take responsibility for the future of the land we are fortunate enough to be looking after.

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: Information and training in organic gardening techniques should be more widely available, as should organic garden supplies like non-chemical composts, manures and remedies. The patenting of rights in plants and plant material should be questioned, and, the use of traditional species be more widely encouraged.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Get to know your garden thoroughly. Find out....

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Get to know your garden thoroughly. Find out what sort of soil you have and what is already growing there.

Then work out what your soil needs... read more

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: Gardeners need to learn about the ecology of....

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: Gardeners need to learn about the ecology of their gardens, and the role of each species - whether 'mate' or 'foe' - within th... read more

Even today around one household in eight grows some food crop in....

Even today around one household in eight grows some food crop in their garden or greenhouse, and one in 40 maintains one of The UK's 480,000 allotments. Twelve million packets of vegeta... read more