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Sharing Our Planet…

By Sara Venn

When we think about kindness and sharing it must be seen as our entire planet, coming together to support all our communities.

At the beginning of the year there were some terrible figures released about the demise of our insects, our invertebrates, with some research showing a 76% drop in insect numbers in nature reserves in Germany. Whilst there has been some controversy about how true this is, there is no doubt that we are seeing fewer insects and that both bees and butterflies are in dreadful decline.

At Incredible Edible we pride ourselves in being a movement that puts kindness at it’s core, with many of our groups supporting local communities by growing food that is given away.  What is becoming more and more important is that we ensure that the food we are all growing, and the land we are the stewards of, is treated with the utmost respect and that we treat our invertebrate populations with as much respect as we do each other. Traditionally food growing in our back gardens and allotments was a constant battle with nature, with the grower fighting back with any means they could. This has resulted in a culture of chemical use and somewhat unthinking killing of the invertebrates that shore up civilisation, being the first rung of the food ladder. Why are we shocked to see bird populations plummeting when we kill off their natural food sources in our gardens and growing spaces? It’s no surprise we have lost 97% of our hedgehogs when our culture allows us to throw slug pellets around, despite knowing that these are poisoning birds and mammals who rely on slugs and snails as a food source.

We know most, if not all of Incredible Edible groups, follow organic principles, using natural methods to cut down on pests, but could we do more? Would creating ecosystems rather than gardens, habitats rather than growing spaces, not mean that we could ensure that with some thought and reasoning that the only pest control we need are the natural predators of the pest? Waiting for the ladybirds to arrive to tackle the aphids, rather than squashing them or using a pyrethrum type spray that whilst certified organic, still kills anything in it’s path.  As Ross Symonds, an ecologist who works with Incredible Edible Bristol says, “It’s easy to kill the caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly, but that butterfly is endangered so even fewer caterpillars means fewer baby birds whose species predate them get fed.”

So at the end of Global Sharing Week, let’s think about the way we share our planet with it’s other populations and support those who we might not welcome every day but are a vital part of all our ecosystems.

If you’d like to find your local Incredible Edible group, search on our map now.  And if there isn’t a group near you then have a look at our 10 Steps to being Incredible guide and sign up to our website to access a whole array of useful information and advice.