Pesticides are chemical compounds that are used to kill pests, including insects, rodents, fungi and unwanted plants (weeds). Pesticides are used in public health to kill vectors of disease, such as mosquitoes, and in agriculture, to kill pests that damage crops. By their nature, pesticides are potentially toxic to other organisms, including humans, and need to be used safely and disposed of properly.
Need it be more emphasized than this?
A vast number of alarming reports on the harmful use of pesticides can be read on vast numbers of internet pages. In fact, so many that every allotment - or home gardener ought to react strongly before using any them. Just search for "Pesticides" and your evenings for a long time to come will be filled with interesting articles on the subject. But do not let it scare you. Every gardener should read as much about it as they can as it can save lives for the future.
A week without pesticides is merely a drop in the ocean. A "Week" is not to be taken literally.
It can start when you like and go on for as long as you like. Pesticides are more dangerous than you realize. They're sprayed in abundance, but research on these chemicals remains surprisingly scarce.
As of today, the scandals of pesticides deal with issues like this: "The European food safety authority (Efsa) based a recommendation that a chemical linked to cancer was safe for public use on an EU report that copied and pasted analyses from a "Monsanto study", the British newspaper The Guardian reveals.
Glyphosate is the core ingredient in Monsanto's Round Up weed killer brand and a battle over its relicensing has split EU countries. A final decision for a prolonged authorization for 5 years was taken on 27th November 2017.
And how about these headlines:
"Honey tests reveal global contamination by bee-harming pesticides"
"Free school fruit contains multiple pesticides". In Raisins; Soft citrus; Pears; Strawberries; Apples; Bananas; Carrots; Tomatoes…….. The list can be much extended.
The assumption by regulators around the world that it is safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes is false, says a chief scientific adviser to the UK government.
What do you think? Is the use of pesticides worth it?
The national delegates met in Luxembourg on February 23rd and 24th, 2018 for their annual statutory general assembly.
In addition to the statutory missions, the conclusions from the study session in Copenhagen were drawn. The cornerstones for a greater internal and external efficiency of our work were fixed.
The Norwegian federation presented its activities, successes and problems in a very interesting PowerPoint. All the other federations informed on their activities.
This exchange brought interesting insights and gave – according to what was needed – stimulations for national activities and international discussions.
A working group discussed the topic “competition between green organizations” and gave suggestions to better position our movement in future in the “urban gardening landscape”.
A special Hyphen on the topic urban gardening will be published and a working group is charged to work out a specific strategy.
The Office and the affiliated federations decided to also take part in the week without pesticides in 2018 and to publish a memorandum on the Office homepage, the national homepages as well as in the national allotment magazines.
The delegates will meet again in Kortrijk (Belgium) on coming 22nd August during their study session
The next statutory general assembly will take place in Luxembourg on March 8th and 9th, 2019.
During my stay in Rovaniemi I could, thanks to the Finnish allotment federation, visit the most northern allotments of the world. Edmond and myself were warmly welcomed by Marjukka METSOLA, member of the executive board of the Finnish federation. She is a passionate gardener and photographer. She helped the architect with the layout of the site, when it was created in 2002.
The allotment site, 6 kilometers from the city center, is idyllically situated at the border of a small forest. There are 24 plots (+/- 300 sqm) with very smart cottages. .An extension of the site is possible in the future.
The cottages, between 25 and 35 sqm, in the center of the site are painted in yellow to symbolise the sun, the cottages near the forest in red/brown, the cottages near the entrance in blue. According to a Finnish tradition the cottages have/can have a sauna. The gardeners stay in their cottages during the summer.
There are no wooden fences separating the plots, but you could guess under the snow the fruit bushes making the separation. Many, many nestboxes could be seen.
There is a common shed for the tools with an information board. Next to it you also find a large place to sit together and have barbecues when the days will be longer and warmer. We found, however, only lots of snow but the cold was acceptable.
Around a cup of coffee and local specialities Edmond and myself could learn much about the Finnish allotment gardening near the Arctic cercle.
I addressed the best wishes on behalf of their colleagues all around Europe and Japan to the Rovaniemi allotment gardeners.
For many information on this allotment gardening you can read the article in Hyphen no. 59.
Secretary General of the International Office du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux