Apologies for not posting any blogs for the last seven or eight weeks. What with holidays, visitors and the vegetable garden, I’ve just not got around to writing much. I must admit that the vegetable garden is somewhat of an obsession, and at this time of year it is almost a full-time job.

We are busy havesting fruit to eat and for the freezer, jams and preserves. Raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, redcurrents, blackcurrents, josterberries, cherries are all in full production now. Apricots should be ready soon, then peaches, pears, blackberries, damsons, greengages, Victoria plums, and apples.

We harvest a range of vegetables every day of the year, especially salads, herbs, and leafy greens like kale and chard. We’ve had a huge crop of field beans this year. Here are a few photos of the vegetable garden, all taken this morning, on Tuesday 4th July 2023.

Runner Beans flowering well!
Courgettes and Squashes growing on a compost heap, with the squashes climbing up a mesh fence. We are harvesting the courgettes already, and squashes forming nicely: one can be seen in the centre of the picture.
Apricots ripening over tomatoes, peppers, chillis, aubergines, and just undersown with winter salads and carrots. Rhubarb outside the greenhouse.

Green Party Growth Continues

Last week we had local elections in England. As the above graph shows, the Green Party made impressive gains, as it has done at every round of local elections since 2019. Before that electoral victories were very much smaller in number, and focused on a limited number of councils. One of the dramatic changes has been how the Greens are now winning in seats all across the country, and sometimes not just adding one or two new councillors, but lots at a time. The Greens now have an absolute majority on Mid-Suffolk District Council, and are the largest party in Babergh, East Hertfordshire, East Suffolk, Folkestone and Hythe, Forest of Dean, Lewes and Warwick. Their biggest gains were in Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Kent, and Sussex, but they also won multiple seats in many northern places, including Lancaster, the Wirral, Knowsley, Darlington, Derbyshire Dales, Amber Valley, Ribble Valley, South Tyneside and Trafford.

In England and Wales the Green Party now has 744 councillors, according to the Green Party themselves, or 766 according to Wikipedia. (This is on district, county and metropolitan councils, but does not count parish councillors.) Whatever the precise figure is, it is of course still less than the Conservatives, Labour or LibDems. If, and it is a big if, current rates of collapse of the Tories continue, and the growth of the Greens, and LibDems, continues, then in a few years it may be that Britain does start to become a multi-party democracy, and that the decades of dominance by the Labour and Tories will be a thing of the past. That is our best hope of getting proportional representation, better democracy, and actually tackling the real problems facing us, from climate change to poverty.

Sometime in the next year to eighteen months the UK will have a general election. On the evidence of last weeks’ local election results I would expect the Conservative vote, especially in rural southern England, to collapse. LibDems and Greens will be the main beneficiaries of this collapse. Labour will probably form the next government. Some commentators expect them to win a large majority, others, such as myself, are hoping for a hung parliament, with Greens and LibDems having some input into a Labour led administration.

Talks & Book: Positive Possibilities

I am about to start a Spring and Summer season of talks promoting my book ‘System Change Now!’ The book, like my old series of talks called ‘Global Problems: Global Solutions’, acknowledges the scale of the many problems humanity faces, but is overwhelmingly solution focused. We could provide a really good standard of living for all eight billion of us while restoring nature, reversing the climate crisis, eliminating poverty and much more besides. However to do all this does require change: change in politics, economics, technologies and land use systems. None of this change relies on technologies that do not exist, or on impossible ideas.

In many areas very much better systems are emerging, but sadly they get very little media attention and so are often not well known. My aim is to shine a light on some of these ideas and technologies, political movements and land use systems that show that the trajectory of our collective future as a species may be on the cusp of monumental change. I also want to explore our own agency as individuals and communities in creating change. Hope lies in action, and in understanding the alternatives that exist. For example, if we see humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels as unchangeable then climate breakdown seems inevitable. If on the other hand we can see that replacing fossil fuels with renewables can be done quickly across all sectors of the global economy, then reversing the climate crisis looks a whole lot easier.

The first talk of the series is to be in Colwall on Tuesday 11th April, at the Colwall Park Hotel, Walwyn Road, Colwall, Herefordshire WR13 6QG. Doors open 6.30pm for 7.00pm talk, hosted by Colwall Greener.

The second talk will be in Stourport, at a Sustainability Festival organized by Wyre Forest Green Alliance. I’ll be speaking on Saturday 29th April, time and exact location to be confirmed. More.

The third talk will be at Spring Greens, at the Court of Noke near Pembridge, Herefordshire, HR6 9HW, on Sunday 30th April. I’ll be around all day to sell copies of my book and to chat about the ideas within it. At some point in the day I will be giving a talk and slide show. More details to follow.

I would very much like to add to this list, so if you’d like me to speak at your festival, or in your village hall, or to do a presentation via Zoom, then do please e-mail me at