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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...
Thousands of farmers are protesting in Warsaw, Poland, to demand an end to land grabs, corporate domination of food and farming, draconian regulation, GMO crops, and the imposition of an 'agribusiness' model that undermines their independence and the inte

Occupy agriculture! Polish farmers sit in for land and freedom

Julian Rose

19th March 2015

At the heart of Poland's capital, Warsaw, farmers have founded a flourishing encampment known as the 'Green City', writes Julian Rose. It's a focus of protest against the sell-off of their land to agribusiness, the arrival of GMO crops, and the imposition of a failed 'Western' model of farming that's creating huge corporate profits while debasing food and bankrupting small farmers. more...
Fighting the land grabs: peasant farmers on Ile-a-Vache, Haiti, refuse to be moved from their ancestral lands by the US puppet government, 28th February 2014. Photo: marie-chantalle via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

World Bank's Conference on Land & Poverty is a cruel farce

Oliver Tickell

20th March 2015

On Monday the World Bank's Conference on Land and Poverty begins in the US. But farmer organizations, indigenous groups, trade unions and others denounce the whole exercise as a sham that, in tandem with other Bank initiatives, is all about accelerating corporate land grabs and robbing the poor that the Bank was founded to assist. more...
The voice of the people? Protester on the People's Assembly March Against Austerity 2014. Photo: The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Will the badger cull cost the Tories the election? It certainly should!

Dominic Dyer

16th March 2015

David Cameron has called the badger cull is 'probably the most unpopular policy for which I am responsible', writes Dominic Dyer. But unable to break his pledge to landowners and the NFU, he has left Environment Secretary Liz Truss to fudge the issue until election time. Electorally fatal? So events may prove. more...
A pack of Bayer's 'Calypso' pesticide that contains the bee-toxic neonicotinoid Thiacloprid, complete with the 'not harmful to bees' logo - as sold in Germany.

Bees victory in pesticide battle - Bayer libel action dismissed

Oliver Tickell

12th March 2015

Chemical giant Bayer has failed in its attempt to sue Friends of the Earth Germany over its claims that its pesticide Thiacloprid harms bees. Now pressure is growing on the EU to add the neonicotinoid to the three already banned. more...
In happier times, a Kwegu family on a maize field next to the Omo river. Photo: via Survival International.

Ethiopia: Kwegu tribe starves, victims of dam and land grabs

Oliver Tickell

13th March 2015

The Kwegu people of Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley are facing starvation because of the loss of their land to a huge sugar plantation, the destruction of their forest and the damming of the Omo river - supported by a UK, EU and World Bank funded 'aid' program. more...
The destroyed Bab Amro neighbourhood of Homs through a blooming field of poppies, 2nd May 2012. Photo: Freedom House via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Climate change sparked Syria's ruinous war

Alex Kirby

6th March 2015

Climate change probably caused the savage drought that struck Syria nearly a decade ago, writes Alex Kirby - and helped to trigger the civil war that has so far claimed over 200,000 lives. more...
'Altered Genes, Twisted Truth' front cover (cut).

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

Jane Goodall

26th March 2015

The history of genetically modified food has been one of systematic deception and fraud by corporations, scientists, media and regulators, Steven Druker writes in his remarkable new book. Jane Goodall finds the story by turn fascinating, chilling, distressing and ultimately, hope-inspiring. more...

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The pollution of Chao Lake is obvious - even from space. Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

Meat boom propels China's ecosystems into total collapse

John Dearing

2nd March 2015

China's farming boom has massively increased food production, writes John Dearing - especially of meat. But it has come at a massive cost: the wholesale pollution and destruction of core ecosystems. more...
The GREEN research garden in Stroud, Gloucestershire, which generated eight years of research data. Photo: Matt Adams.

No-dig farming to sustain nutrition in soils, crops, and us

Matt Adams

2nd March 2015

An eight-year research project into the nutrient content of food grown under three different organic gardening systems has left a filing cabinet full of documents, writes Matt Adams. Now he wants to analyse those years of accumulated data, in the hope that they can show the way to richer soils, more nutritious food, and healthier people. more...
Angeles Parra at BioCultura 2014. Photo. EcoArchivo.

BioCultura - celebrating Spain's organic revolution

Pedro Burruezo / The Ecologist EspaƱa

27th February 2015

Europe's biggest organic fair kicks off today in Valencia, writes Pedro Burruezo - 30 years after the first ever BioCultura event in Madrid in 1985 kicked off Spain's organic revolution. Since then Spain has become Europe's biggest organic producer, and the sector is growing at a dizzying rate of over 10% a year. more...
Protestors against the proposed 25,000-pig factory farm at Foston, Derbyshire. Photo: Farms not Factories.

Big stink! 24,500-pig factory farm defeated

The Ecologist

26th February 2015

A proposed factory farm at Foston, Derbyshire, condemned by locals as a 'pig prison' for 25,000 animals has been refused a permit by the Environment Agency because of the powerful stench it would emit and potential risks to health and the environment.
more...
As for whether we want GMO crops ... who cares? A field of wheat (non-GM) neat Templecombe, England. Photo: Helen ST via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

MPs' GMO report is a scandalous cave-in to corporate demands

Rupert Read

26th February 2015

A report published by MPs today displays a shocking ignorance of scientific logic and the nature of risk, writes Rupert Read. Confusing inconclusive evidence of harm from GMOs, with conclusive evidence of safety, they reach a false and dangerous conclusion - that the EU should give free rein to pro-GMO governments. more...
Olive tree cut by Israeli settlers from illegal settlements in the South Hebron Hills. Photo: Operation Dove.

Arboricide in Palestine - olive orchard destroyed

The Ecologist

25th February 2015

Israeli settlers in Palestine's South Hebron Hills last week cut down an orchard of 36 olive trees, in the latest attack of a decades-long war against Palestinian culture and survival in which has seen the cutting, burning and bulldozing of over a million olive, fruit and nut trees. more...
Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Roundup - a converging pattern of toxicity from farm to clinic to laboratory

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji / ISIS

25th February 2015

As scientific evidence grows of the many ways in which glyphosate - pipe-cleaner, herbicide and antibiotic - damages the environment and health, governments and regulators turn a blind eye, writes Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji, and the EU has even raised allowable residue levels. It's time for us all to put bans in place wherever we can! more...
Thousands of hectares of prime rainforest habitat for chimpanzees, drills, gorillas and other primates are being wiped out as agribusiness advances across Cameroon. Photo (Chimp Eden Sanctuary): Afrika Force via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Palm oil wiping out Africa's great ape rainforests

The Ecologist

24th February 2015

The rainforest habitat of chimpanzees and other great apes is being destroyed by the expansion of palm oil projects in central Africa, according to new evidence from Greenpeace. more...
Catering Mark may not guarantee quite this at every meal - but it's delivering huge improvements on the standard catering fare of yesteryear. Photo: pablo santa cruz diaz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The Soil Association's 'Catering Mark' is helping to deliver good food for all

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

24th February 2015

The Food for Life 'Catering Mark' is bringing fresh, healthy and local food into schools, hospitals and canteens, writes Peter Melchett - while driving big increases in the volume of organic food we eat, and growing the market for organic farmers and local food producers. more...
Cornfield in Iowa, almost certainly growing a GMO crop. Photo: Laura Bernhardt via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

There is no scientific consensus on GMO safety

Angelika Hilbeck & colleagues

23rd February 2015

A broad community of independent scientific researchers and scholars challenges claims of a 'consensus' that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are 'safe' to grow and eat. The claims - which continue to be widely and often uncritically aired - are a false and artificial construct that have been misleadingly perpetuated through diverse media. more...
This colorful 'beetle bank' at Sandy Lane Organic Farm provides a haven for beneficial insects: pollinators and predators of pest species. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire, England.

Only agroecology can tackle the global food and health crisis

Dr Julia Wright

23rd February 2015

The recently published Global Nutrition Report shows almost all countries face high levels of malnutrition and diet-based ill-health, writes Julia Wright. This reveals deep problems with the dominant industrial model of food production, and the need for new agroecological approaches to feeding the world. more...
John Muyiisa is one of the Bugula islanders dispossessed by the IFAD-supervised oil palm plantation that has robbed him of his land and livelihood - and a co-plaintiff in teh legal action that is launched today. Photo: Jason Taylor / FoEI).

UN, banks and oil palm giants feast on the stolen land of Uganda's dispossessed

Anne van Schaik & Oliver Tickell

19th February 2015

A small community in Uganda is challenging a UN-backed international oil palm venture that has expropriated small farmers and obliterated an entire forest on a Lake Victoria island to establish a vast plantation. Three years after the grab, Friends of the Earth groups are backing the islanders legal action, which is launched today. more...
These apples at Eberly's Orchard near North Liberty, Indiana are non-GMO - but look just like the GMO Arctic apple. In future, how will you know? Photo: Tom Gill via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

USDA approves world's first GMO apples

The Ecologist

16th February 2015

Scientists, environmental and consumer groups have decried USDA's approval of two 'Arctic' apple varieties, while major food companies and apple growers have no plans to source or grow them - despite their potential to 'generate consumer excitement in the apple category.' more...

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