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Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus, in Glendale, CA. Photo:  David Levinson via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Monarchs may win 'endangered species' protection

The Ecologist

6th January 2015

With Monarch butterfly numbers down by 90% in 20 years - largely as a result of GMO crops in key feeding areas - the US Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the insect's status with a view to granting it legal protection under the Endangered Species Act. more...
Fishing boats on Sasyk Lyman were abandoned following the collapse of its marine fishery. Photo: Dimeter Kenarov.

A failed Soviet irrigation project brings eco-apocalypse to SE Ukraine

Dimiter Kenarov

29th December 2014

In 1976, it looked like a good idea: to divert the waters of the Danube into a salt-water lagoon on Ukraine's Black Sea coast, and irrigate millions of hectares of arid steppe land, writes Dimiter Kenarov. But the result has been human and environmental disaster on an epic scale. more...
What we want: happy free range pigs on the Sandy Lane Organic Farm, Oxfordshire.

Pork at Christmas? Make sure it's from a happy pig!

Giulia Barcaro

22nd December 2014

As families across the country stock up on food for Christmas feasting, Giulia Barcaro urges them to give a thought to animal welfare - read the label to discover whether the meat you're buying comes from high-welfare farms, or has condemned a sentient creature to a life of suffering. more...
Stop TTIP protest in Germany. Photo: Stop TTIP.

Closing the gate on GMO and the criminal transatlantic trade agreement

Julian Rose

17th December 2014

A key element of the TTIP is the deregulation genetically modified seeds and plants for cultivating in European soils, writes Julian Rose. This alone is reason enough for us to reject it - but it's only the beginning of a huge power grab that would make our governments more accountable to corporations, than to people. more...
FAO - it's not a forest! Miles after mile of Eucalyptus plantation in South Africa. Photo: Steve Slater via Flickr CC-BY.

FAO - a plantation is not a forest!

Via Campesina and many more

26th December 2014

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization's definition of 'forest' includes commercial plantations of fast growing trees - often replacing biodiverse native forests relied on by local communities. FAO must stop using this mis-definition to claim that forests are expanding, when the reverse is the case. more...
For tomatoes, apples and oats, there is no 'organic yield gap'. 'Heirloom' organic tomatoes on sale in San Francisco. Photo: Zacklur via Flickr CC-BY.

Organic farming can close the gap on conventional yields

Lauren C. Ponisio

28th December 2014

The apparently lower productivity of organic farming systems is caused by research bias, writes Lauren C. Ponisio, and the far greater research spending on 'conventional' agriculture. Funds should be redirected to agro-ecological methods that are highly productive, sustainable and maintain biodiversity. more...
At COP20 in Lima, Indigenous protestors from Saweto in the Peruvian Amazon protest at ongoing land grabs and murder of their leadeat the COP20 in Lima, Peru. Photo: Luka Tomacrs / Friends of the Earth International.

COP20 and corporate power - destroying the edifice of false climate solutions

Alexander Reid Ross

10th December 2014

Peru, notorious for its brutal exploitation of forests, oil and minerals, theft of indigenous lands and murder of eco-defenders, is an unlikely host for the COP20 climate talks, writes Alexander Reid Ross. Except that Peru's actions reflect the corporate land-grabbing agenda manifest in the false solutions on offer in Lima this week. It's a time for resistance, not compromise! more...
Bringing in the olive harvest. Photo: Zaytoun.

Olive oil for peace and justice in Palestine

Cathi Pawson

11th December 2014

Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ain died yesterday after being attacked by Israeli soldiers while planting olive trees in the West Bank - a peaceful and fruitful challenge to a long and brutal military occupation. As Zaytoun co-founder Cathi Pawson writes, we can help by buying organic Palestinian olive oil, available in the UK against all the odds. more...
Wolves - to reduce farm animal predation, don't shoot them! Photo: USFWS Midwest, CC BY.

Shot in the foot? Killing wolves, lynx, cougar increases farm predation

Niki Rust

4th December 2014

Farmers who shoot wolves and other predators to save their animals from predation are actually having the opposite effect, writes Niki Rust. The disruption that killing predators has on the stability of their families and packs actually causes more, not less predation. Ultimately, we're better off learning to live with predators. more...
Spaying agro-chemicals on a windy day. Photo: Graham Rawlings via Flickr.

Negligent and unlawful: EFSA's latest guidance on pesticide use and exposure

Georgina Downs

4th December 2014

After an apparent cave-in to Europe's pesticide industry, the European Food Safety Authority's latest guidance on pesticides conflicts with European law, writes Georgina Downs - by ignoring the real-life agrochemical exposure of rural residents. Commission President Juncker must step in and demand the withdrawal of this disgraceful document. more...
Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association, among her organic cattle. Photo: Soil Association.

The Soil Association's mission is organic - and it always will be!

Helen Browning / Soil Association

2nd December 2014

The Soil Association doesn't need to 'get back to its roots', writes Helen Browning - because it never left them! It remains firmly committed to its founders' original organic mission for health, environment and animal welfare. And that means reaching out to a broader public, ensuring that organic principles are ever more widely understood and applied. more...
Uvas Dam and Reservoir, California, February 1, 2014. Photo: Ian Abbott via Flickr.

Climate change and the downfall of California's big agriculture

Joshua Frank

5th December 2014

Thanks to cheap water and plentiful sunshine, California grows most of the US's fruit, vegetables and nuts, writes Joshua Frank. But with the drought looking ever more permanent, the $40 billion industry is facing a terminal crisis. It's only a matter of time before we have to rely on local produce - so let's make a start now! more...

Farming: 50/75 of 1160
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Last year’s fine crop of olives in Umbria, Italy, has been followed by what farmers say is the worst in memory.Photo: Carolyn Lyons.

Climate turbulence deals costly blow to olive oil yield

Kieran Cooke

2nd December 2014

The growing popularity of olive oil has driven more intensive systems of olive tree cultivation, writes Kieran Cooke. But they are vulnerable to the kind of extreme weather that has brought pests and disease to olive crops across southern Europe, damaging crops and pushing up prices. more...
The Real Costs of Fracking - front cover.

Exposed: what fracking really does to you, your family, pets and food

Allison Wilson

25th February 2015

America's shale gas boom threatens families, pets, and food, writes Allison Wilson. Fresh from her reading of 'The Real Costs of Fracking', she finds a host of adverse health impacts on those living near fracking sites, the toxic pollution of the food chain, and a wall of corporate and official secrecy. more...
Now this is really what it's all about ... harvesting organic leeks at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: facebook.com/sandylanefarm .

Soil Association must get back to its roots

Joanna Blythman, Lynda Brown, Andrew Whitley and Pat Thomas

1st December 2014

Four trustees of the Soil Association just resigned, 'more in sorrow than in anger'. Joanna Blythman, Lynda Brown, Andrew Whitley and former Ecologist editor Pat Thomas all decided they were unable to contribute further to the organisation, the UK's leading organic certifier and the 'mother ship' of British organic farming. more...
Villagers stand in the ruins of their house after the 2001 eviction of Tabaco. Photo: London Mining Network.

Stop forced displacements by Cerrejon Coal in Colombia!

Richard Solly

3rd December 2014

Las Casitas is a small community living on the edge of one of the world's largest coal mines, writes Richard Solly - one inhabited by the descendants of escaped slaves, located in the poorest region of Colombia. The village is under imminent threat of forced displacement by the brutal corporation that runs the Cerrejón coal mine. more...
Increasing amounts of meat in our diets are doing no good to use, or to the planet. Photo: Ariel Dovas via Flickr.

Thanks to meat, farming emissions set for 80% rise

Tim Radford

1st December 2014

The increase in meat and dairy consumption is set to cause huge increases in greenhouse gases, reports Tim Radford. A shift to less animal-based diets would cut greenhouse gases, conserve forests and grasslands - and make us all healthier, with reduced obesity, diabetes and associated conditions. more...
Drought leaves dead and dying animals in northern Kenya, 2006. Photo: Brendan Cox / Oxfam via Flickr.

World Bank: weather extremes will be the 'new climate normal'

Alex Kirby

28th November 2014

The Earth is on an unavoidable path towards a 1.5˚C temperature rise by mid-century, says a new World Bank report. And as Alex Kirby reports, it could reach 4˚C by 2100 unless immediate action is taken - with dire impacts on the planet's poorest people. more...
The Red Dacca banana (Musa acuminata) growing on Zanzibar, East Africa - smaller, plumper, softer and sweeter than the yellow Cavendish varieties, with a slight raspberry-banana flavor. Photo: Harvey Barrison / Wikimedia Commons.

Why is Bill Gates backing GMO red banana 'biopiracy'?

Adam Breasley & Oliver Tickell

24th November 2014

The Gates Foundation has sunk $15 million into developing GMO 'super bananas' with high levels of pre-Vitamin A, writes Adam Breasley. But the project is using 'stolen' genes from a Micronesian banana cultivar. And what exactly is the point, when delicious, popular, nutritious 'red bananas' rich in caroteinoids are already grown around the tropics? more...
Digital Green records a discussion on best agronomic practice with an Ethiopian farmer for dissemination among his peers. Photo: Digital Green.

New technologies can help poor farmers - just not the ones you're thinking of

Tony Juniper

18th November 2014

Modern technology has a lot to offer small farmers in poor countries, writes Tony Juniper - just not the GMOs and pesticides that are widely touted. But how about film, digital communications and smart phones? These new media can empower farmers and allow them to share knowledge and experience of how to produce more, from less. more...
No neonics here: organic Brussels sprouts from Home Farm, Nacton. Photo: Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr.

Farming for profit? Or for people, nature, health, wellbeing and human survival?

Colin Tudge

19th November 2014

Farming today is well on the way to becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the agro-chemical-biotech industry, writes Colin Tudge. Defra and the European Commission are all too keen to make it so, reflecting the interests of an agro-oligarchy obsessed with profits and growth at all costs. But there is an alternative. Join the 'real farming' agrarian renaissance ... more...
A typical small farm in Russia of the kind that provides much of the nation's food. Photo: Vmenkov CC.

Want to double world food production? Return the land to small farmers!

GRAIN

22nd November 2014

All over the world, small farmers are being forced off their land to make way for corporate agriculture, writes GRAIN - and it's justified by the need to 'feed the world'. But it's the small farmers that are the most productive, and the more their land is grabbed, the more global hunger increases. We must give them their land back! more...
With GMO agriculture, a walk in the countryside could be like this in the future. Photo: Liam Wilde via Flickr.

Living with GMOs - a letter from America

The Undersigned

12th November 2014

NGOs, scientists, anti-GM groups, celebrities, food manufacturers, and others representing 57 million Americans today publish an Open Letter to the UK and the entire EU warning of the serious and manifold hazards of GMO crops - and promising their support in our fight against them. more...
In the future, European corn fields like this on in Poland could be GMO. But at least the EU can no longer force its member states to allow GMOs to be planted. Photo: Maciek via Flickr.

Euro Parliament strengthens national GMO opt-outs

Keith Taylor MEP

11th November 2014

An attempt by the UK's Conservative Party and its allies to force countries to allow EU-approved GMO crops has been defeated by the European Parliament, writes Keith Taylor. Instead MEPs voted to strengthen the national GMO opt-out. But the UK still has a battle to fight against its avidly pro-GMO government. more...
Lorsban is sprayed on a soccer pitch to control grubs, 1987. Photo: srv007 via Flickr.

Chlorpyrifos - cause of birth defects, mental impairment - sprayed on farms across the US

Janette D. Sherman

15th November 2014

Dow's teratogenic pesticide chlorpyrifos is a human and environmental disaster, writes Janette D. Sherman. It causes serious, irreversible damage to the human foetus even at low concentrations that may be harmless to the mother, resulting in severely and permanently disabled and mentally damaged children. But it's still sprayed in vast quantities on America's farms. more...

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