Riverford Wicked Leeks

websites, seeds and petition fatigue!

As we continue to struggle with our new website, I have run off to France to bury my head in chilli plants and pretend it is not happening. It’s getting pretty tedious for all concerned: you, our customers, our local vegmen and ladies who deliver your boxes, our customer service team, and our IT department who are working 24/7 to keep the show afloat while trying to fix it. I have never felt so inadequate in the face of a challenge. I did offer my help, but the last thing they need is the ineffectual flapping of the technically illiterate. We know how frustrating it is for you all and we are working on getting it fixed as quickly as humanly possible. Sorry, sorry and sorry again.

Here in the French Vendée, we are cutting the last of the lettuce, prior to the Devon crop next week. The courgettes are flowering and the sweetcorn and beans are emerging. We are trying to save the carrots before they are submerged by weeds, but with other jobs stacking up I suspect some will be lost. The worst weeds are the tomatillos that self-seeded last year and have emerged with impressive vigour; note to self, never to follow them with a weed-sensitive crop again.

Do you suffer from petition fatigue? How many things can you muster outrage about each month? In a bout of bureaucratic excess that almost beggars belief, the EU commission are contemplating forbidding us from growing anything that is not registered, approved and licence paid for. Effectively it would be illegal to save, exchange or sell seed that is not on their list. It’s enough to make you join UKIP; almost. It is particularly bad news for organic farmers, small independent gardeners, seed banks and general diversity. It is good news for global seed companies and industrial farming. After much campaigning, some of the worst absurdities have been modified, but it still seems like a bad and unnecessary piece of legislation. If, like me, this makes you mad, please sign the petition at www.seed-sovereignty.org.

Guy Watson