The Rise and Rise of Famine Farms

Before permaculture. Bealtaine CottageI describe monoculture  practice as creating “Famine Farms” for bees and wildlife…becoming places of slow starvation for all.

I recall thinking this when first beginning to plant out the permaculture gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

As you can see from the place as it looked then, it was bereft of food for anything!

Bealtaine Cottage potage beds in the permaculture gardensWalking around the gardens of Bealtaine during the Spring and Summer, watching bees forage in the blossom, frogs delight in the ponds and listening to the birds sing out a mighty chorus, makes me think of the dire situation these creatures face in the monoculture world of modern farming.

Bealtaine Cottage barnThe average person knows little of bees and their importance to all life as we know it.

It forms part of the massive disconnect going right through the core of society.

Bealtaine Cottage Buddleia flowers for the butterflies and beesIn much the same way that medical doctors have a two week slot on diet and nutrition, during their four year medical training, farmers are unaware of much of the way in which the food chain operates around them and, in particular, the intricacies of Nature.

Bealtaine Cottage hanging baskets in the trees...a slug free zoneWithin western culture, religion teaches us that we are placed here to have dominion over Nature.

Such arrogance is reprehensible as we gather more and more knowledge of the decline and loss of habitat of life as we know it!

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds and BuddhaIt is widely held that our increasing use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, which honeybees ingest during their daily pollination rounds, are largely to blame for the continuing decline of the bees.

Many people point to the proliferation of  genetically modified crops, which may generate pollen with compromised nutritional value.

The list of who and what is to blame goes on…

Bealtaine Cottage flowering Ground ElderHowever, from my own observations I have come to this conclusion: we are responsible for starving the bees; with loss of hedgerows; tree depletion; use of chemicals; growing of gaudy flowers with no pollen; proliferation of ridiculous lawns and constant demand for monoculture raised foods, to name but a few!

Bealtaine Cottage flowers and porchIt behoves us all to make it our business to know how to create and nurture bee habitats.

Bealtaine Cottage Missy and ValerianAnd that means looking at the natural world, not as a resource to be continually trodden on and suppressed, but as a wondrous gift from the Divine we all need to cherish.

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    • your words are so true colette, we have put nothing on our grass and are growing food and flowers with no chemicals but with just a little help from mother earth,and watching a squad of birds feasting on the worms .
      love and light to you

    • A beautifully stated unfortunate truth. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate the work you do and also the inspiration for us all to be more conscious of. Blessed Be!

  1. Colette thank you for these lovely posts I read and enjoy them all. I live just down the road from you in county Roscommon, my son and I went for a walk yesterday and saw a large bumblebee in the hedgerow, our first sighting of the season! My son is two and a half and was amazed by the bzzz as he called it. Children see the wonder in the world around us…

  2. Reblogged this on Eremophila's Musings and commented:
    Over the years I’ve watched as more and more fertile soil is damaged by so-called progress – and if it’s not famine farms, it’s housing subdivisions that are little more than concrete castles – and there’s no need for it to be so!

  3. Beautifully stated Colette. The word famine is a powerful word, especially to the Irish perhaps, but it is very appropriate. The excuse for modern farming techniques is to feed more people….which it of course doesn’t do…but the costs to the rest of the planet are never considered. As if somehow what happens to life on Earth has no bearing on us. It absolutely boggles the mind. Thank you again for your clear thinking on all this. Patti

  4. ” A wondrous gift from the Divine we all need to cherish” I am going to cut and paste this blog and send it to the Minister for Agriculture – if I have the technical know how, fingers crossed.

Your comments are welcome!