My wish is that our government would follow the lead of other countries like France and Holland and also ban glyphosate until its safety is definitively determined.
On our lifestyle block, June is usually a month for reflection and planning improvements around the property. This year seems even more reflective and propitious than previous years.

In part, the driver of that reflection and change is Fieldays which finished last weekend with increased numbers attending and exhibiting. There seemed to be more innovations on display, more new ideas to work on and more reasons to think differently in how we solve some of the issues we face.

In another part, the organics course I am coming to the end of is a huge driver of change in how I approach my horticultural activities.

Pest management is one example of changing practices in the garden, particularly around my use of a long-favoured herbicide glyphosate, aka Roundup.

The World Health Organisation has found glyphosate to be “probably carcinogenic to humans”. So even though it will cause me more work, I am following the precautionary principle and have stopped using Roundup until either the “probably” adjective is removed from the warning or the warning is retracted.

My wish is that our government would follow the lead of other countries like France and Holland and also ban glyphosate until its safety is definitively determined.

What is really striking about the WHO’s finding is that the developer of glyphosate and manufacturer of Roundup, Monsanto Corporation, are going all out to deny the identified threat to human health. In the meantime, genetically modified corn and soy products are accumulating more glyphosate in to our food chain.

On the positive side, this year has seen the identification at Sydney University, of a fungi that can permanently sequester carbon in the soil.

This is a development that has the potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere in sufficient volumes to steady the growth in our carbon emissions and so directly address the most significant issue our world faces.

a-time-for-contemplation_3230Another part of that driver of reflection and change comes from helping organise two events with the Franklin branch of the Tree Crops Association.

In April 2016, Franklin is hosting the national Tree Crops conference with the theme Franklin: Fertility…Food…Future. A fantastic lineup of speakers, both domestic and international, are coming to Pukekohe from April 22 to 24 to share a little of their passion on this theme.

Having contact with leaders in the biological growing movements has had a major impact on how I choose to make my lifestyle block work for me. Whether this approach to growing our food is labelled as biological, natural, organic, permaculture or ecological, matters not at all. What’s important is that a growing number of farmers are coming to understand how our reliance on artificial inputs and industrialised methods is actually counter-productive.

This meme of biological growing is a part of this Sunday’s Customkit Buildings’ smallBlock Sunday Seminar at the Puni School Hall.

Speakers include Micky Cunningham from AgNZ and Bill Sinclair from Pacific Biofert who will talk about biological approaches to horticulture. Lynda Hallinan will put some light and bright on her favourite citrus trees before Dan Madsen from surveyors Madsen Lawrie gives us the rundown on the pitfalls and opportunities of rural subdivision.

Whether getting more from your lifestyle block or the opportunity to reflect on changing garden practices is what you want, then register your interest at www.smallblock.org.nz and join us on Sunday 21st June from 12 noon to 4pm. There is a $5 cover charge for non-Treecroppers which includes refreshments and the opportunity to mix and mingle with exhibitors both before and after the presentations.