The Ecologist


food farming: 25/50 of 1031
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A tractor prepares a field by turning over the cover crop into the soil in preparation for planting at Leafy Greens, in the Salinas Valley, California, June 2011. Cover crops of barley and rye grass hold the topsoil, reducing erosion. Photo: Lance Cheung

Conserving soil: precious, finite and under threat

Jane Rickson

5th August 2015

Human existence relies on healthy soils, writes Jane Rickson. But all over the world they are being lost and degraded by inappropriate land use, reducing their capacity to produce food and store water, nutrients and carbon. Sustainable land management must be incentivised to conserve this essential resource. more...
You want weedkiller with that? Photo: Peggy Greb, USDA ARS vis Wkimedia (Public Domain).

Keep health-damaging weed killer out of our bread!

Natasha Collins-Daniel / Soil Association

23rd July 2015

Soon UK farmers will begin to spray their fields of wheat, barley, oats and peas with weed killer to make crops easier to harvest, writes Natasha Collins-Daniel. But the chemicals - including glyphosate, a probable carcinogen - can end up in our bread and other food. Let's put a stop to it now! more...
A store of probably GMO soya in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Márcio Garoni via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

GMO study finds 'indications of harmful and adverse effects'

Nafeez Ahmed

15th July 2015

A new biosafety report for the Norwegian Environment Agency says GM foods cannot be declared safe due to major gaps in the science, writes Nafeez Ahmed. Indeed research clearly indicates harmful and adverse impacts to both health and environment. But Monsanto insists that GMOs are just as safe as, or even safer than, conventional crops. more...
Ethiopian teff grain. Photo: SarahTz via Flickr (CC BY).

African governments sell out their farmers in secret seeds protection deal

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

10th July 2015

African governments, ignoring the protests of their farmers and civil society, this week agreed an oppressive 'plant variety protection protocol' that will open up their countries to commercial seed monopolists, while limiting farmers rights to save, use, exchange, replant, improve, distribute and sell the seeds they have developed over countless generations. more...
The Vandana Shiva Reader (Culture Of The Land), front over (cut).

Green Revolution: wonderful science, catastrophic consequences

Colin Tudge

12th July 2015

In her new book The Vandana Shiva Reader, the celebrated campaigner and scientist deplores the way in which the Green Revolution forced India's poorest farmers off their land, writes Colin Tudge. Now she fears even worse outcomes in Africa where a GMO-fuelled farming revolution is under way. more...
Cattle ranching in the Amazon: once rainforest, now meat. Photo: Joelle Hernandez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Meat - the climate opportunity we can seize at every meal

Dora Marinova & Talia Raphaely

9th July 2015

Meat is already a huge contributor to climate change, write Dora Marinova & Talia Raphaely, and as 'atmospheric space' for greenhouse gas emissions contracts, its importance will only increase. The good news? If rich countries were just to eat less of it, there's a huge climate win there for the taking! more...
A handful of seeds, Porto-Novo, Oueme, Benin. Photo: Adam Cohn via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Seed Freedom! A last chance to thwart the great African seed grab

Ali-Masmadi Jehu-Appiah

29th June 2015

Nineteen African nations meet today in Arusha, Tanzania, to finalise a 'plant protection' protocol that would open up the continent's seeds to corporate interests, taking away farmers' rights to grow, improve, sell and exchange their traditional seeds, while allowing commercial breeders to make free use of the biodiversity they embody, to sell them back to farmers in 'improved' form. more...
Meat is all very well for lions, like this one in the Masai Mara, Kenya. But can the planet take billions of humans eating it too? Photo: Stuart Richards via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Worried about climate change? So why aren't you vegan?

Chris Lang

1st July 2015

You might be forgiven for thinking that climate change is all about fossil fuels, writes Chris Lang. But with livestock farming causing around a sixth of global emissions, there's one quick, cheap way to cut our carbon footprints: go vegetarian, or better still, vegan. So what's taking us so long? more...
'Nullius in verba' (Don't take anyone's word for it) - motto and coat of arms of the Royal Society, used in its bookplate. Photo: kladcat via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

The Royal Society's assault on the science of GM foods must cease

Steven M. Druker

25th June 2015

The Royal Society wants us to take its word that GM crops are safe and healthy, writes Steven Druker. But it refuses to retract its errors, apologise to those whose reputations it has impugned, or enter into constructive debate on the issue. To restore its scientific integrity, it must abide by its own motto. more...
Lettuce on an Organic Farm in Havana, Cuba. Photo: David Schroeder via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cuba's warming relations with the US may undermine its agroecological city farms

Julia Wright & Emily Morris

27th June 2015

Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country's agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country's fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness? more...
Low welfare pigs in an unhygienic intensive unit of the kind that can generate antibiotic resistant bacteria. Photo: Compassion in World Farming via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

MRSA superbug found in pork meat and sausages - it's time for action

Peter Melchett

19th June 2015

The discovery of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in pork products in UK supermarkets is a call to action, writes Peter Melchett. We must end the unhygienic farming practices that only work with constant antibiotic use, and reserve the most valuable antibiotics for human use only - or face a world in which routine surgery and infections bring serious risk of death. more...
Photo: Troed-Y-Rhiw Farm via Facebook.

To support 'green' farming, officials must learn that small is beautiful

Alicia Miller / Sustainable Food Trust.

16th June 2015

It's a hard life being an organic farmer, writes Alicia Miller - and specially when it comes to engaging with a bureaucracy that's trying to 'green' our agriculture. Should small scale farmers change their farming practices to fit in with it? Or the other way round? more...

food farming: 25/50 of 1031
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Milked fresh from real badgers every day! (Only kidding) Photo: ken fager via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Where Caffè Nero leads on badger-free milk, others will follow

Dominic Dyer

13th June 2015

Milk farmers in the badger cull zones hardly depend on Caffè Nero's custom, writes Dominic Dyer. So why are the pro-cull lobby so hot under the collar with the coffee chain's refusal to buy their produce? Because it could force the entire food chain to take responsibility for how milk is produced - and a very good thing too! more...
'Reykjavik' by Bob Whitehead via Flickr (CC BY).

Endgame for glyphosate? The global fallout of WHO's 'probable carcinogen' classification

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

12th June 2015

WHO's official recognition of the health damage caused by glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide, is having ramifications around the world, writes Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji. National governments are moving to restrict the chemical, campaigns to ban it are intensifying, and now 'Roundup Ready' GMO crops are coming under the regulatory spotlight. more...
What BBC / Panorama didn't want you to know: This year's GM Bt brinjal plants either died out prematurely or fruited insignificantly compared to the locally available varieties, bringing finacial ruin to their cultivators. Photo: New Age (Bangladesh).

Investigation or advocacy? The BBC reveals its pro-GMO bias

Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas

10th June 2015

The Panorama programme on GM foods and crops last Monday was a masterpiece of spin, bluster, misrepresentation and outright deceit, write Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas, with the BBC's top investigatory strand hijacked to force feed the UK population with the purest of pro-GMO propaganda. more...
All about using herbs. Photo: ICPPC.

Building the Ark - small scale farming in Poland for a green future

Julian Rose

20th June 2015

Poland is the front line for Europe's small scale family farming, writes Julian Rose, under assault from the EU regulations, corporate agribusiness, and a hostile government. A popular campaign is fighting back from its base deep in the Polish countryside, a small organic farm that's developing new green technologies to enhance the sustainability of small farms everywhere. more...
A farmer sows his seed in Asmara, Maekel, Eritrea. Photo: Andrea Moroni via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

G7, be warned: your 'New Alliance' threatens to destroy small-scale farmers

The Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles

4th June 2015

As the G7 leaders prepare to meet in Bavaria this weekend, small-scale farmers from around the world call on them to abandon their disastrous plan for the corporate takeover of global agriculture and the extirpation of small-scale farmers everywhere - those who produce most of the world's food. True food security must be rooted in local control over land, seeds and water. more...
Women in India preparing to dry their farm produce using Sunbest equipment. Photo: Ashden.

Solar heat - transforming rural enterprises around the tropics

Anne Wheldon

4th June 2015

Solar energy is not just about electricity, writes Anne Wheldon. It's also about heat - and three innovative projects highlighted by the Ashden Awards are showing how solar heat can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of food processing and farming, while helping agricultural businesses increase profits. more...
Chipotle Mexican Grill. Photo: Mike Mozart of JeepersMedia and TheToyChannel on YouTube via Flickr (CC BY).

As Chipotle goes GMO-free, Monsanto's worst fear is coming true

Jonathan Latham

20th May 2015

Next to McDonalds, Burger King and KFC, Chipotle's Mexican Grill is a minnow, writes Jonathan Latham. But its decision to go GMO-free will ultimately compel all America's consumer-facing food brands to follow suit - because that's what their customers want. Could this be the beginning of the end of GMOs? That's what Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer and Syngenta fear. more...
This small cultivator of fresh vegetables in China is probably practising agroecology already! Photo: Jing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Can agroecology save us from 'scorched-earth' agriculture?

Professor Henrietta Moore

6th May 2015

Industrial agriculture has become a prime driver of many of the world's most serious problems, writes Henrietta Moore: the loss of wild and farmed biodiversity, huge climate-changing emissions, and the entrapment of small farmers in ever-deepening cycles of poverty. But there is a solution: the widespread adoption of agroecological farming. more...
Something to celebrate: an orangutan swings through the jungle near Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Nick Leonard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Orangutans' reprieve: EuroParl votes to limit biofuels

The Ecologist

28th April 2015

Rainforests around the world and the wildlife they sustain have a rosier future after the European Parliament voted to limit the growth of biofuels such as palm oil in the transport sector. more...
To pollinate California's huge monocultural almond farms bees are trucked in from all over the US, even flown in from Australia, because there's not the quantity or diversity of plants to sustain wild bee colonies or wild pollinators. Photo: Steve Corey v

Bee collapse is the result of their enslavement in industrial monocultures

Allan Stromfeldt Chris­tensen

2nd May 2015

Bee 'colony collapse disorder' cannot be ended by easy technofixes, writes Allan Stromfeldt Christensen. The real problem is the systematic abuse of bees in vast industrial monocultures, as they are trucked or flown thousands of miles from one farm to the next, treated with insecticides and antibiotics, and fed on 'junk food'. more...
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...
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...


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