Above: Despite the cold conditions of late November, most of the beds are still lush with vegetation, with two remaining broad bean plants are also continuing to flower and set pods.
The temperature in Leylandiistan & Gurvata has been dropping gradually week by week, however this has not prevented the plots at An Fheirm, Leylandiistan and Eastrip, Gurvata from remaining lush and colourful. Winter crops like beetroot, leek, carrot, swede and parsley are thriving in the brassica and root crop beds, while mint and broad beans are still producing meager crops.
Above: “Caffreys” oats sown in October are now half a foot tall (left), barley growing in front of swedes (right)
An ambitious scheme is underway at An Fheirm to grow the first grains in Leylandiistan & Gurvata’s history. Two types of grain were sown in October in beds left vacant by summer crops. 1.5 m² of barley has been sown, as well as 0.5 m² of “Caffreys” oats, a heritage Irish variety of oats from the Irish Seed Savers Association. While the oats are thriving, it is thought that the barley , which is struggling somewhat, is a spring variety, thus unsuited to winter growing. Both grains will be harvested next spring.
Another agricultural project is the Confederation’s seed industry, in the form of the state-owned Confederation Seed Company. The first draft of the company’s 2015 seed catalogue received widespread attention. An article in the Coprieta Standard was devoted to the catalogue as well as the agrifood sector of the Confederation. Significantly, Brown Envelope Seeds, an organic seed company based in west Co. Cork (the same Irish county home to the Confederation) gave a welcoming endorsement to the catalogue, sharing it on their Twitter feed.
Trading these seeds with other micronations, with a view to encouraging food cultivation in micronations, is still in the planning phase, though it is understood Lundenwic, Uberstadt and Siar Fordell have shown interest in exchanging the seeds for their own goods. Béal na Tíre understands that discussions with these countries are at an advanced stage. Packaging for the seeds has also been designed, and will be publicised when the final draft of the seed catalogue is released in the coming weeks.
Government policy on environmental protection and sustainability has been extended for the first time beyond agriculture with the installing of solar powered electricity late in October in the summerhouse of Orchardstown, which had been built by the government and paid for privately by Co-President Ó Cathail in March. The front of the summerhouse, which has also been used as a storehouse for crops and seeds, is now lit every night, free of charge, by these solar powered fairy lights. The interior of the summerhouse is currently lit with candles and a paraffin lamp, though these may be replaced with more solar powered lighting. It has been proposed that the money collected by the National Contribution Charge since last October will go towards more environmental projects like solar and wind powered electricity grids. The Co-Presidents have met to discuss reducing the carbon footprint of the Confederation using such schemes.
Above: The winter crops of Leylandiistan (left to right); beetroot, carrot, curly leaf parsley, more carrot, swede.