Category Archives: Demeter/Biodynamic

Firmly on the side of planet earth 🌎

It will be no surprise to our Ulula friends that Ulula is firmly on the side of planet Earth!

For us, our planet is our most precious resource, and to be looked after well our soil needs to be nurtured not poisoned with chemicals – and we have been lucky enough as a family to have always understood this.

We farm biodynamically on Rush Farm where Ulula is based, and we choose brands like Holle and MOGLi because of their enduring commitment to the environment. In recently published trial results, fewer harmful greenhouse gas emmissions were discovered from biodynamic agriculture – 44% compared to 100% with the conventional system!

While it may be true to say that by our very existence we humans are hurting nature and the Earth, we can tread softly, and even where our ‘bit to help’ seems only a little bit, it is still important to strive – and to feel that in our striving we are not alone.

The third ‘State of Nature’ report, released today, is extremely upsetting reading – for us all – both adults and children.

One of the concepts mentioned is called ‘shifting baseline syndrome’ – i.e. each generation accepts the situation in which they live as normal. Once a field has been built on, we forget how it used to look as a field rather than houses. We’ve forgotten or not experienced how our countryside ‘should’ be & tend to think that what we have now is ‘normal’.

Is it time to ask ourselves as adults how our memories of the countryside differ to those of our experiences now? Where is the bird song when we walk through the park? Do you remember when journeys in the car used to be accompanied by the thuds of insects crashing into the windscreen? The age old joke always told – ”what’s the last thing that goes through a bug’s mind when it hits the windscreen?”…. Bad jokes aside, there are far fewer bugs to hit our windscreens nowadays, and as so eloquently put on the Channel4 News last night – “If you pour poison onto the land for 70 years, you’re going to kill everything!”

Our children are aware, children across the world are becoming more aware – they want to make positive changes, and we adults have to be able to hear them and help them to act not just think – by changing our views and the ways we live in our precious world.

Greta Thunberg is an inspiration to our children, and to us as grown-ups too. We used to talk about these issues between ourselves, very rarely finding others who would want to talk on these subjects with us, but thanks to Greta’s courage in the face of her very real fears, this is now an open conversation between family, friends and strangers too.

On the 20th September 2019 there was a Global Climate Strike. Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion movement coalesced on this day to lead a climate crisis protest. Millions of people marched for urgent action on climate breakdown. There have been many marches before and since – the “Fridays for Future” movement continues to ensure that there is a place and a time for children to take a stand, to not be immobilised by their fears for the future, but to collect their courage and act.

On the 20th, our children’s school agreed to go out on the march together – not just the older students who have used the “Fridays for Future” strikes to demonstrate their positions. This time all students and all teachers took direct action about something that has meaning to them – and discovered through the day a shared intent to do something.

Ulula is a family shop, run by a family, for families. But, as so often in life, we talk from the perspective of the adult, and we talk to other adults. Of course, we ‘should’ because we are adults, and as parents we make the decisions of what to buy and where from. But… maybe it is time to hear from the children:

Our School’s Global Warming Strike

© Theo Parsons

On 20th September 2019, our school got together to hold a global warming strike in the nearby Mary Stephen’s Park. Other protests also happened on the global warming day. In the afternoon the whole school got together to march down clutching a placard each. When we arrived we sang to Mary Stephen’s Park. Several watchers-by filmed us! After that we scanned the area for litter. Bin bags were filled, and the park got cleaner! We approached the grounds intending to save the planet. Remember, one bottle top could take a turtle’s or any other animal’s life! Once we had spread out across the park, collecting plastic sweet wrappers, yoghurt pots, bottle lids and many other planet ruining items, we returned to the bandstand where we marched round it shouting

‘what do we want?’

‘save our planet!’

‘when do we want it?’

‘NOW!’

We chanted this back to the school hoping the whole town would hear us. My friends are also very passionate to pick up litter and help where we live make a change. Although some people may think we are only kids and won’t make a difference, I saw people videoing us. Just think, that video could get shown to a friend and then more friends. It also might make it onto facebook where lots of people would see it and also make a change.

It felt good to finally get out there and make a dent!

Theo Parsons, Aged 12

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Bees make more than honey; what we can do to protect bees & other pollinators…

biodynamic-bees

Bees make more than honey – they are key to food production because they pollinate crops. Honeybees, bumblebees, wild bees and insects like butterflies, wasps, and hoverflies are responsible for pollinating at least 35% of the crops we eat, including our favourite fruit and vegetables like apples, pears, onions and carrots, as well as enabling up to 90% of wild plants to thrive. 80% of European wildflowers require insect pollination. Many of them such as foxglove, clovers and vetches rely on bees.

But currently, more and more bees are dying.  There is a 2% decline in insects every year. A world without pollinators would be devastating for food production. Why is this decline happening and how can we help bees and other pollinators to recover?

The trigger for the decline in bees is man

Loss of habitat, urbanisation, intensification of agriculture, insecticides and herbicides, monocultures, parasites, pathogens and climate change all play a part in declining bee and insect pollinator numbers.

Urbanisation means fewer green spaces with bee-friendly plants, which when combined with the intensification of agriculture has led to a loss and fragmentation of valuable habitats for pollinators, such as grasslands, old fields, shrublands, forests, and hedgerows. This is thought to be the major cause of decline in wild pollinator numbers.

Since the 1940’s industrial monocultures have replaced polycultures full of biodiversity. Monoculture farming means that only single varieties of plants are cultivated over large areas, which then all bloom at the same time. This is great for the bees during those flowering times, but during the other months of the year they can struggle to find food.

wild-beeNot all bees are the same. There are over 20,000 known species of bee globally. Around 270 species of bee have been recorded in the UK. Only 1 of these is the famous Honeybee. Wild bees, in contrast to the honeybee and the bumblebee which live in social colonies, are loners and build their nests in tree trunks, snail shells, crevices and holes in the ground. They undertake all work from nest building to brood care themselves. About 30% of the wild bee species find their food only on certain plant species and are in symbiosis with them. This means that plants and wild bees benefit from each other. If these plants are no longer sufficiently available because other plants are more profitable, the bees are unable to feed on their ideal food source and if they then die the plant cannot survive either. As a result, not only the bee dies, but also the plant biodiversity decreases.  Therefore, it is very important that we protect the diversity of plants and thus also the wild bees.

Biodynamic farming uses open-pollinated seed.  This is seed that is renewable, it can be saved by farmers and growers for the next year and used to naturally breed new varieties which helps to ensure diversity

Pesticides are harming bees and other insects, after all that is what they’re designed to do. There has been a rise in pesticide use over recent times, with farming becoming heavily dependent on pesticides. The average field is treated with pesticides 17.4 times a year in the UK.

In Biodynamic agriculture soil preparations containing oak bark are applied to the soil. The tannins contained in it help to repel insects

Parasites like the Varroa mite have been identified as a major cause of bee colony loss. Agro-chemical companies claim that industrial chemical pesticides, including neonicotinoids, play an almost negligible role in bee death. However, studies show that pesticides undermine the immune system of insects, making them more susceptible to disease, parasites and pathogens which in turn significantly weakened honeybees, causing high mortality and high levels of stress. In addition, the use of pesticides contaminates the soil.

In order to fight the mite, only organic acids are used in biodynamic beekeeping

What we can do to protect bees & other pollinators

Bees are a fantastic symbol of nature. That they are in trouble is a sign that our natural environment is not in the good shape it should be. Whilst over 60% of crops such as wheat, millet, rice, potatoes and bananas are wind pollinated or self pollinated, a world without vegetables and fruit would result in diets that would be dull, poorer and less nutritious. Ecological, organic and demeter farming offers a solution for the global pollinators and agriculture crisis. Ecological farming ensures healthy farming and healthy food for today and tomorrow by protecting soil, water and climate and by promoting biodiversity. It does not contaminate the environment with chemical inputs like synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilisers nor genetically engineered organisms. Ecological farming is feasible and already practiced on a large geographic scale within Europe.

MOGLi and Holle advocate organic and organic-plus demeter farming, helping to ensure healthy habitats and food for bees and pollinators, and healthy food for babies, children and adults too.

What we can do as gardeners to help bees

There are things that we can do at home to make our gardens as bee-friendly as possible:

  1. Put away harmful chemical insecticides.
  2. Leave a small area of your garden to go wild or undisturbed in the summer months, so bumblebees can create their nests and other insects are given shelter.
  3. Provide habitat such as a small wood pile in a corner where bugs can nest and feed. Build (or buy) a simple home for solitary bees.
  4. Grow a wide range of plants that flower throughout the year to ensure there are no hunger-gaps. Ivy flowers during the autumn months, a crucial time for bees as they build up their stores for the winter. Spring bulbs will provide an early source of food as will hazel and pussy or goat willow.
  5. Choose bee-friendly plants. Honeybees prefer open, daisy-like flowers such as cosmos, sunflowers and michaelmas daisies, asters etc. Verbena bonariensis is also a favourite. Bees also love herbs such as marjoram, mint, chives, fennel, lavender and thyme and will help pollinate your veg and fruit.

 

mogli.de/ursachen-fuer-das-bienensterben/

sos-bees.org/

friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/why-do-we-need-bees

www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/news/2018/november/bee-declines-is-banning-pesticides-the-solution.html

www.biodynamic.org.uk/sustainability-corner-bee-positive/

Popsicle Time!

holle-fruit-popsicles

Here’s a fruity delicious popsicle recipe for you from the Holle Kitchen 💗

Ingredients

Method

Mix the almond paste and greek yoghurt and half fill the popsicle molds. Put pieces of fruit into the molds, add the fruit puree, sprinkle with the junior muesli and freeze for 2 hours.
Simple, delicious and super refreshing for the summer!

MOGLi Sustainable Packaging

It’s not only the content that counts!

Demeter quality in sustainable packaging

Sustainable product packaging is always an issue, because packaging waste is a major problem worldwide. MOGLi have made it their mission to continue to work on adapting all their product packaging into sustainable packaging and are constantly working to reduce plastic waste. MOGLi’s team has already achieved:

1. Packaging of 85% renewable raw materials

To keep product fresh and safe, plastic packaging is currently the “best” solution for packaging many of the MOGLi products. Nevertheless, MOGLi are constantly looking for sustainable packaging solutions. That’s why they’re especially pleased with their new Fruit Pouch packaging. Sugarcane-based and completely aluminium-free: this is their first step towards a more sustainable packaging future.

mogli-no-aluminium-packaging-fruit-pouches          mogli-no-aluminium-packaging-fruit-pouch1

2. Packed 100% aluminum free

All of the MOGLi Fruit Pouch and Spelt Bites packaging is completely aluminum-free. As a rule, deep-fried or oil-baked products, such as aluminium-free-logoMOGLi Spelt Bites, are packaged in aluminum-lined inner packaging. This helps to ensure freshness.

On the one hand, aluminum is harmful to the environment and energy-intensive, and on the other hand aluminum cannot be recycled when used in combination with other film layers of packaging. MOGLi are happy to have found an alternative packaging without aluminum what works as well in terms of freshness and continue to work hard to adapt their other products to more sustainable packaging.

Join us and MOGLi in making that first step and take a minute to think about packaging when you’re shopping.

mogli-friut-pouch-range-aluminium-free-packaging

Simple Savoury Finger Food

january-19-biscuits

From the Holle Kitchen these home-made savoury biscuits, coconut chips and pomegranate seeds are perfect for older babies.

Ingredients:

  • 350 g spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 100 ml Holle Organic Baby Weaning Oil
  • ½ jar of vegetable puree Veggie Curry

Method:

  1. Whisk the egg
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder and add to the egg
  3. Add the cinnamon, butter and puree
  4. Mix with a dough hook to a firm dough
  5. Roll out and then cut out with fun shaped biscuit cutters
  6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 200 degrees / Gas level 3-4

Holle Infant Formula Demeter Milk

Schrozberger-dairy

The cow’s milk used in the Holle infant formula milks come from the Schrozberger dairy – the largest Demeter organic dairy in Germany. The dairy is a cooperative run by the Schrozberger dairy farmers themselves who are totally independent of the interests of banks and shareholders. Schrozberger dairy farmers do not dehorn their cows, a painful process for the animals, as they believe that how the cows are treated affects the wholesomeness and quality of the milk. In fact, everything the farmers do, they do because they believe it is good for the quality of their products, good for the welfare of their animals and good for people and nature.

Schrozberger dairy

Established in 1974, Schrozberger dairy was one of the first dairies to start processing Demeter milk and they have since grown to become the largest Demeter dairy in Germany.

What does Demeter mean with regards to animal husbandry?

In biodynamic animal husbandry, the focus is on the fitness and health of the animals. Demeter does not approve of the painful dehorning of cows, or the cropping of ears and tails in pigs. While around 70% of free-roaming organic cows today have their horns removed, Schrozberger dairy farmers do not dehorn their dairy cows. For them it is out of respect for the animal but also, they believe that the integrity of the cows affects the wholesomeness and quality of the milk – even though there are no clinical studies to prove it. The administration of drugs such as antibiotics or hormones is strictly prohibited. In addition, the animals are kept in small herds to enable healthy ranking and social behaviour. Care is taken to ensure that the animals can move freely – both in their barns and in the fresh air. As a result, each barn and enclosure is adapted to the specific needs of different species.

schrozberger-cows-in-field

Demeter has strict feed guidelines. 100% of the feed must be organic feed and at least 2/3 of the feed used should comply with Demeter guidelines.

The cow’s manure is viewed as a valuable fertilizer. When mixed with choice herbs and minerals, it is used as a natural fertilizer to improve soil fertility. For this reason, cows are not just valued for their products such as milk or meat, but also for the benefits they bring to the health of the soil.

Schrozberger dairy processes only Demeter milk produced on their own farms. They also follow Demeter production guidelines and adhere to additional strict quality requirements when processing their milk, keeping their products as natural as possible. They use only gentle processing methods such as traditional pasteurisation and deliberately do not use homogenisers, UHTs, and ESL milk manufacturing processes that extend shelf life. This preserves most of the vitamins and natural ingredients.

Demeter is good for the animals, the environment – and above all for the quality of their milk.

Cooperative

Some say cooperatives are old-fashioned. But as a cooperative, the Schrozberger dairy farmers can make all decisions themselves and do not have to take either banks or shareholders into consideration. They can decide for themselves a ‘fair’ price to sell their milk at, how they manage their farms and business and which innovations they choose to invest in. Today, their dairy processes around 17 million kg of milk according to the strict Demeter guidelines and offers the world’s largest assortment of Demeter dairy products.

Holle produce the highest quality baby food products and will only use the best ingredients and the highest quality and most wholesome milk in their infant formula milks. For them, the cow’s milk from Schrozberger dairy farmers is the very best.

holle-organic-infant-formula-1-new-packaging-18 holle-organic-infant-follow-on-formula-2-new holle-organic-growing-up-milk-3-left-new

 

 

Love, comfort & Holle – Happy 85th Birthday Holle!

Happy 85th Birthday Holle!

It has been 85 years since Holle began manufacturing baby food using Demeter ingredients. Conscious of the fact that, as a manufacturer of baby food, they bear a very special responsibility – for the environment, our babies and their future, sustainable management and social responsibility have always been among their core values. Within the Ulula family we’ve been using Holle foods for our family for two generations so we say hooray for Holle!

Holle themselves celebrated this milestone saying:

“Always ORGANIC- for all the right reasons.

We are proud of our brand Holle’s 85 years’ history, and of the fact that Holle has become one of the leading manufacturers of organic baby food. Click here to find out more about our company’s history.

Ever since our company was founded, we have consciously focused our attention on mankind and the environment – because we want our products to deserve being called “sustainable”. Click here to find out more about our commitment to sustainability.

Today, we have a comprehensive baby food range with more than 80 products representing the message “Always ORGANIC – for all the right reasons”. From the start, we have focused on naturalness: Holle baby food is being produced only with raw ingredients grown to biodynamic or organic standards. We do not use chemical processing materials and preservatives, flavouring and colouring agents, added salt or granulated sugar.

Our long-term partnerships with our organic raw material suppliers are very important to us. They are the basis for the particularly high quality of our baby food.

Holle baby food products are gently processed; they represent a wholesome, natural and balanced diet, from the very beginning.”

Ulula. The home of Holle in the UK. For your Holle Hugs, check out the whole range at here xx

credit for this gorgeous photo @thismelissaworld