Above: the plots at An Fheirm in Orchardstown, seen today.
A pact for the advancement of micronational agriculture has been formed by a number of micronations. The International Agricultural Development Pact will facilitate discussion between micronations interested in agriculture, and promote agriculture as a vital economic sector for other nations. The group will also exchange seeds and other materials, promote sustainable and traditional cultivation methods, and publish a quarterly journal. The seven founding members of the pact are Leylandiistan & Gurvata, Lundenwic, Elsanor, Mallanor, Roseland, Timeria and Uberstadt. Over the past week they have agreed on a treaty for the pact, which will act as a founding document. The aforementioned states are now ratifying the treaty, after which the first quarterly journal will be published.
Above: the oats, on the right of the bed, are thriving while the barley, on the left, is not as tall or healthy in colour.
Meanwhile, late frost in March followed by tough conditions for seedlings in April have caused setbacks in this year’s agricultural activities. Farmers in both regions of the Confederation have reported that their plantings are around two to three weeks behind on the same period last year.
One crop which is thriving in the Leylandiistani climate is “Caffreys” oats, an old Irish variety of oats. Standing over two feet tall already, the plants have not been damaged by pests or strong winds. The crop is due for harvest around July, although the oat inflorescences which will emerge in the next few weeks will be harvested before they harden into grain, in very small amounts, to make herbal teas. Much of the seed harvested will be donated to the National Seed Bank, while some may also be marketed by the Confederation Seeds Company.
Above: the barley crop in An Fheirm is around 6 weeks away from harvest.
The other overwintering grain being cultivated this year is barley. The awns are beginning to emerge from within the plants, with a harvest expected in late June. The variety of barley is unknown, but it is now considered likely that it is a spring variety, not suited for overwintering. It is suspected the plants may have net blotch, or a similar disease affecting the leaves, but since the barley is progressing to the grain-producing stage it is unlikely to affect the harvest or the quality of the grain. In addition to oats and barley, spring sown grains are being trialled. These include einkorn, emmer and amaranth, all of which are at the seedling stage of growth.
Above: a view of the location where the Treaty of Union was signed in August 2014, with barley in the foreground.
Above: a robin examines some seedlings (left); young leguminous plants are among the first to be planted out, with peas left to climb a fence.
As well as being a year for trialling grains, several different types of bean are being trialled too. Gurvatan farmers are growing dwarf french beans, while broad bean, borlotti bean and soya beans are being grown in Leylandiistan, as are lentils, which are related to beans. The variety of pea in Leylandiistan this year is a purple podded pea from West Cork, while in Gurvata the “Progress #9” pea marketed by the Confederation Seeds Company is being grown.
Lastly, the National Budget for 2015 became invalid on the 1st of May, thus the spending abilities of the government have been suspended until a new budget is agreed by the Co-Presidents. They are expected to meet as early as tomorrow to resolve this situation. Béal na Tíre will be reporting on Budget Day 2016 as it happens, and will offer a summary of the major changes.