I am hoping that you , dear reader, will excuse my post today if you consider it too political. I am not intending to promote politics but am just voicing a concern I have had for many years now...
As many of you may know, I am a gardener. I like to potter. I have a constant battle between the ordered, control freak in me who loves the symmetry and order of Tuscan gardens, and the hidden wild child who loves rambling, self-seeding English cottage gardens. Many things just pop up around my garden. I love it that way!
Much of my garden has edible plants: Vegetables include broccoli, lettuce, spinach (we can never have enough spinach), carrots, leeks, garlic, kale, shallots and silverbeet. In summer, we also had tomatoes and beans. I am even giving potatoes a go. Most of these plants also have interesting textured leaves and beautiful flowers once they self seed. We also have two different apples that produced fruit for the first time, this year. Unfortunately, we have an ant problem; they ate our orange flowers! We also have some plants that some people do not realise are edible including English lavender, several roses, nasturiums, violets, hibiscus (though I have not eaten those yet).
We do not use chemical sprays. I want to be able to eat anything, at any time. As a result, we also have a lot of native animals, including blue-tongues, geckos, possums (ugh) and occasionally a koala. We often play host to dragonflies and butterflies though, sadly, there have been less dragonflies of late. We have several different variety of birds including rosellas, ravens and honeyeaters.
Best of all, we get bees. Lots of bees, including native bees. Though allergic, I encourage them. I have flowers (especially in blues and purples) peppered amongst the edibles, specifically to encourage my bees and beneficial insects. We have an agreement; the bees polinate happily and do not sting me, while I garden and leave them alone. This has worked well for over twenty years.
And the point of my rant...
I have been very disturbed for many, many years about two main things: the growing trend to try to control seed production and the decline of bee numbers.
Recent overseas events have been of serious concern. The possible rulings that would make it illegal for seed gathering from one's own garden for the next crop, the possiblity of terminator seeds, the large company controls of seed production, laws to protect companies from prosecution for harm done by their modified seeds, or their pesticides (how incredulous is that !!!!!) and most of all the decline of bees, particularly in the US and in Europe.
I have been saying for years: the next major war will be over food production and/or control of water supply... One third of our diet comes from plants that are bee pollinated. This year, there are areas of the US where the loss of bees is so significant, it is now predicted they will not have enough pollination and fruit and nut trees will fail next year!
Just take a gander at these:
Biodiversity and responsible use (or non-use) of pesticides, particularly organic farming may give us hope so why control and limit seed production?
and the loss of bees could mean more than just reduced food production, if these studies prove to be true:
Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying "If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live"
Whether by famine or war, this could become a prophetic prediction. In the meantime, my bees will continue to feast on my garden for as long as they want - chemical and pestacide free and I shall risk allergic reactions for these wonderful creations to whom we owe so much.
No one is messing with my babies!