Here I am sitting at my desk, getting a little bit of shade from the midday sun and suffering from hayfever. What a wonderful contrast to last year. The weather forecast only shows sun at the moment and the vegetables are thriving, compared to merely surviving (the lucky ones) last year.
We have started harvesting courgettes, cucumbers and beans and have had the odd couple of tomatoes before the blackbirds have snatched them. The broad beans are in their pomp, perhaps we have grown a few too many in fact. The first of the new potatoes have been coming out of the ground just for ourselves.
The seasonality of a grower is what has always appealed to me, and each season brings forgotten joys, such as the seed sowing of spring, harvests of autumn and the rest period that winter brings. This time of the year brings the first tastes of so many vegetables – courgettes, french beans, broad beans, tomatoes, basil and the like and by summer's end I have usually tired of the tastes of summer and long for some kale. Getting excited by the first tomato of the year is something you can only truly appreciate if you either grow your own vegetables or eat seasonally in the true sense of the word (not in the sense of pretty much every menu in every pub and restaurant which states that they use local, seasonal vegetables whilst serving tomatoes in the salad in December). It is a true shame that most people don't experience this way of eating, and that it has almost become seen as a luxury to be able to eat seasonally.
We have just sowed all of our chicory, which should allow it enough time to form heads for the autumn and early winter salad. We are also now picking from our second batch of lettuce, and the first lot will shortly be cultivated to make space for all of the kale, cabbages and purple sprouting broccoli.
In the world outside our garden, negotiations are currently undergoing for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US. This intends to remove trade barriers such as import tariffs which will make it easier for the EU and US to trade goods and services. Import tariffs are a way of protecting european farmers such as ourselves from having to compete with cheap, intensively produced food from the US. The removal of such tariffs would not only undermine small scale food producers in the EU, but also increase our reliance on other countries (US) for the production of our food. This would ultimately go completely against the principles of Food Sovereignty and we would be in danger of losing yet more small scale producers and relying on even more large scale industrial food production. Keep up to date with our campaigning and see our statement about the TTIP negotiations on www.landworkersalliance.org.uk.