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A truck carries palm fruit for processing from a rainforest plantation in Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Banks raising $400m for palm oil expansion 'must examine high risks'

Oliver Tickell

20th April 2015

Banks preparing to launch a $400m bond issue for a global palm oil giant with a history of legal violations and broken standards have been warned of their 'high risk client' and the 'extreme and outstanding' social and environmental conflicts in the palm oil agribusiness sector. more...
The Monarch butterfly has become an icon of the anti-GMO movement following the species' population collapse in North America - poisoned by 'Bt' GMO crops and starved out by the the destruction of its food plants by massive application of glyphosate on 'r

The existential crisis facing GMOs - they don't work and we don't want them

Colin Todhunter

21st April 2015

The GMO industry has legitimised itself via a vast network of lobbyists and the assiduous capture of the politicians, regulators and scientists that should be holding it to account, writes Colin Todhunter. But as the failure of the GM revolution and its disastrous impacts become ever more evident, the industry's legitimacy is fast eroding away. more...
A farmer and cattle herder in Lawra village, Ghana - the kind of person the World Bank claims to be working for, while promoting a corporate model of agriculture that leaves them landless and destitute. Photo: Photo: P. Casier /CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-

The battle for the future of farming - why is the World Bank on the wrong side?

The Rules & the Oakland Institute

18th April 2015

The World Bank exists to fight poverty. So why does it promote a profit-driven model of agriculture that enriches corporations at the expense of the small farmers who provide most of the world's food, creating poverty by stealing their land and water, depleting resources and undermining sustainable livelihoods? more...
View from the Goodnoe Hills near the Columbia River Gorge, Washington. A small settlement with a school once existed below the abandoned farm house. Photo: gary via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Agroecology and the people's struggle for land and freedom

Blain Snipstal

23rd April 2015

Everyone in this society is caught up in the battle between two models of agriculture, writes Blain Snipsta - industrial agribusiness for profit, control and domination; and small-scale agroecological farming for good food, health, people and planet. more...
By learning skills like composting, crop diversification, organic pesticide production, seed multiplication and agro-forestry farmers in Malawi are increasing their ability to feed their families over the long term. Photo: Find Your Feet via Flickr (CC BY

Sustainable agriculture in Malawi: a desperate struggle

Marc Crouch / Naturally Africa Volunteers

17th April 2015

Malawi, one of the Earth's poorest nations, faces a desperate struggle to feed its people without destroying the ecosystems it relies on, writes Marc Crouch. Poor agricultural practice has left the country with low crop yields and rampant food shortages, however the government and charities are fighting back. more...
Workers caught in pesticide drift as they work in the fields. Photo: Ecologist Film Unit / Channel 4 News.

Salad days? Semi-slavery on the 'sweating fields' of southern Spain

Almudena Serpis / EFU

16th April 2015

Lettuces, peppers and other vegetables grown under 'semi-slavery' conditions in Spain are filling supermarket shelves in the UK, writes Almudena Serpis. Workers are routinely abused, underpaid, sprayed with pesticide, and sacked if they dare complain, an C4News / Ecologist investigation has found. But now they are getting organised to defend their rights. more...
A tractor spraying unknown chemicals in the British countryside. Photo: Billy Ridgers, author provided.

Thank you Greens! Now other parties too must keep us safe from pesticides

Georgina Downs

14th April 2015

The Green Party manifesto, published today, pledges to enact long overdue restrictions on the use of toxic pesticides to protect rural residents and children from adverse health impacts, writes Georgina Downs. Now all political parties must follow where the Greens have led. more...
Conditions in US factory farms are even worse than those in the EU. Now will MEPs vote to make the higher of EU and US standards apply under TTIP? Or the lower? Photo: Farm Sanctuary via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

TTIP: Europe's food, farms and animals at risk from EuroParl backroom deal

Molly Scott Cato MEP

13th April 2015

MEPs vote tomorrow on Green measures to ensure that TTIP 'harmonisation' on food and farming means applying the highest standards, not the lowest, writes Molly Scott Cato. But will MEP's put farmers, food and animals before corporate profit? more...
A 'money-burning' event organised by the Miami Tea Party to oppose a 46,000 acre conservation land purchase - but were the 'protestors' all actors? So it would seem. Photo: from Youtube video by Miami Tea Party.

Tea Party's fake protestors for Big Sugar against Florida Everglades

Oliver Tickell

8rg April 2015

The Tea Party of Miami put up a convincing demo last week to oppose a 'land grab' that would see 46,000 acres of sugar farm land restored for Everglades conservation. Just one problem - the 'protestors' were actors each being paid $75 for the two-hour shift. more...
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexipus) caterpillar feeding on butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), a relative of milkweed. Photo: Martin LaBar via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Neonicotinoid link to Monarch butterfly decline

Jonathan Latham

9th April 2015

Monarch caterpillars are vulnerable to neonicotinoid toxicity at concentrations as low as 1 part per billion, writes Jonathan Latham, and that makes them vulnerable to residues from commercial crops - and even more so from horticultural use in plant nurseries! more...
Dead fish on the beach at Cape San Blas, Florida, after a 'red tide' event in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Judy Baxter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Ocean 'dead zones' are spreading - and that spells disaster for fish

Lee Bryant

9th April 2015

Oxygen levels in our oceans are falling, writes Lee Bryant, producing growing 'dead zones' where only the hardiest organisms can survive. The causes are simple: pollution with nutrient-rich wastes, and global warming. But the only solution is to stop it happening - or wait for 1,000 years. more...
Rajendra Singh believes conservation is vital to combat future 'water wars' and climate change. Photo: Deccan Chronicle.

'Water man of India' makes rivers flow again

Pramila Krishnan

8th April 2015

The revival of traditional rainwater harvesting has restored flow to rivers in India's driest state, Rajasthan - thanks to the tireless efforts of Rajendra Singh, recent winner of a Stockholm water prize. And as Pramila Krishnan discovered in a fascinating meeting, Singh's techniques, and his philosophy, are of truly global significance. more...

farming: 1/25 of 1182
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Front cover image from of 'In Defence of Life' by Sir Julian Rose, published by Earth Books.

In Defence of Life: essays on a radical reworking of green wisdom

Philip Lymbery

23rd April 2015

Julian Rose's diverse collection of essays is engaging, enlightening and life affirming, writes Philip Lymbery - conveying an organic farmer's revulsion at the increasing horrors of industrial agriculture, while setting out his vision of the green and sustainable future he is working to bring about. more...
Grass Fed Cattle certified under the USDA's 'Certified Grass-Fed' scheme on a farm in Maryland. Photo: F Delventhal via US Department of Agriculture on Flickr (CC BY).

Vegetarians, ranchers and conscious omnivores of the world, unite!

Ronnie Cummins

7th April 2015

Thinking people of all stripes are agreed in their opposition to cruel, exploitative animal farming, writes Ronnie Cummins. So it's time for them to move beyond sterile 'meat-eater versus vegetarian' debates, and unite in their opposition to the daily atrocities of industrial agriculture. more...
As California's drought bites, its $500 fines for 'water waster' households, but the water's still flowing for the state's powerful agribusiness sector. Photo: Malcolm Carlaw via Flickr (CC BY).

California drought: agribusiness, fracking untouched by water rationing

Evan Blake

5th April 2015

California has responded to the drought by rationing water, with $500 fines for domestic 'water wasters', writes Evan Blake. But agribusiness and water-intensive industries like fracking remain untouched by the restrictions, even though they consume over 90% of the state's water. more...
Free range, grass fed cattle in the Derbyshire uplands. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA)

The scientific case for badger culling - an organic farmer writes

Charles Mann

9th April 2015

Organic farmer Charles Mann, aroused by The Ecologist's anti-cull stance, makes an evidence-based case for culling badgers in areas of high TB incidence - together with other measures including enhanced testing in apparently 'low risk' areas that present a high risk of disease spread. more...
It's estimated that 70% of food products in US supermarkets contain GMO ingredients. With TTIP, things could soon go the same way in the UK and other European countries. Photo:  Jaro Larnos via Flickr (CC BY).

TTIP could soon bring GM foods to UK supermarket shelves

Linda Kaucher

2nd April 2015

Thanks to pro-GMO politicans and lobbying by powerful agribusiness interests the UK and other EU countries may soon find supermarket shelves flooded with GM foods, both imported and home grown, writes Linda Kaucher. We must press parliamentary candidates now to defend us from this serious and long-term debasement of our food and farming. more...
A helicopter of the San Jose Vector Control Agency spraying an unknown pesticide in the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Don McCullough via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

EPA fail: refuses to ban 'brain damage' pesticide

Patti Goldman / Earth Justice

1st April 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency has just failed farm workers and their families by refusing to ban a neuro-toxic pesticide that causes severe brain damage in utero and to exposed children, writes Patti Goldman - imposing only weak, inadequate restrictions based on flawed science. It must do better! more...
TB is among the infections that are gaining resistance to antibiotics. A colorized scanning electron micrograph of Mycobaterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause TB. Photo: Microbe World via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Restrict antibiotics to medical use, or they will soon become ineffective

Laura J V Piddock, Richard Meek, Victoria Wells, Hrushi Vyas

6th April 2015

Antibiotics have saved hundreds of millions of lives since they came into use in the 1930s, but their power is running dry thanks to their massive use in factory farming, horticulture, aquaculture and industry, says a new report published today by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics. We must stop all inessential uses of antibiotics, or face a future where we all risk death from minor injuries and routine surgery. more...
Monsanto's Roundup herbicide contains Glyphosate, one of the three herbicides that causes antibiotic resistance on pathogenic bacteria. Photo: via Sustainable Food Trust.

Glyphosate, 2,4-D, dicamba herbicides cause antibiotic resistance

The Ecologist

30th March 2015

Scientists have discovered that exposure to three widely used herbicides including Monsanto's Roundup and Kamba causes pathogenic bacteria to develop resistance to medically important antibiotics. more...
Dried beans in Blantyre Market, Malawi. Photo: Michaelphoya via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

'Heat beater' beans could feed millions in warmer world

Alex Kirby

27th March 2015

Thirty new heat tolerant varieties of bean - a staple food crop around the world's tropical regions - will help people survive in a world as much as 4C warmer that it is now, writes Alex Kirby - and look: no genetic modification! more...
The work is hard, but the seed is free - for now! Men and women harvest the Ethiopian staple grain teff in a roadside field between Axum and Adwa in Northern Ethiopia. Photo: Alan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Carving up Africa - aid donors and agribusiness plot the great seed privatization

Ian Fitzpatrick & Oliver Tickell

26th March 2015

An elite group of aid donors and agribusiness corporations met in London this week to plan the takeover of Africa's seeds, writes Ian Fitzpatrick, replacing traditional seed breeding and saving by small farmers with a corporate model of privatized, 'improved', patented, genetically uniform and hybrid seeds in a profit-driven market. more...
No, Monsanto's 'Roundup' glyphosate-based herbicide is not safe enough to drink. It's 'probably carcinogenic to humans' - and that's official! Photo: London Permaculture via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

IARC: Glyphosate 'probably carcinogenic'

Oliver Tickell

23rd March 2015

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has labelled the world's biggest herbicide, glyphosate, as 'probably carcinogenic'. Another four widely used organophosphate insecticides may also pose a cancer risk. more...
Where water meets desert ... Egypt depends entirely on the waters of the Nile to irrigate its farmland, but the river's flows are now imperilled by dam building upstream in Ethiopia. Casus belli? Photo: Tom Lowenthal  via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Global water crisis causing failed harvests, hunger, war and terrorism

Nafeez Ahmed

27th March 2015

The world is already experiencing water scarcity driven by over-use, poor land management and climate change, writes Nafeez Ahmed. It's one of the causes of wars and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond, and if we fail to respond to the warnings before us, major food and power shortages will soon afflict large parts of the globe fuelling hunger, insecurity and conflict. more...
Seed saving in Malawi: farmer Maria Banda's cupped hands holding cowpea seeds. Photo: Stephen Greenberg / ACBIO.

Grabbing Africa's seeds: USAID, EU and Gates Foundation back agribusiness seed takeover

Stephen Greenberg & Oliver Tickell

23rd March 2015

The latest salvo in the battle over Africa's seed systems has been fired, writes Stephen Greenberg, with the Gates Foundation and USAID playing puppet-masters to Africa's governments - now meeting in Addis Ababa - as they drive forward corporation-friendly seed regulations that exclude and marginalize the small farmers whose seeds and labour feed the continent. more...

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