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CIAT cassava specialist Dr. Tin Maung Aye studies cassava crops in NE Thailand, affected by pest and disease outbreaks. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT) / Wikimedia Commons.

Farm pests' global advance threatens food security

2nd September 2014

Tim Radford

Agricultural pests - viruses, bacteria, fungi, blights, mildews, rusts, beetles, nematodes, flies, mites, spiders and caterpillars - are spreading thanks to trade, travel and global warming, writes Tim Radford. The world faces a dire future of increased crop losses and growing insecurity. more...
'Mata Atlântica' in Brazil's Serra da Gandarela national park. But there are few large forest areas like this one remaining. Mostly the Atlantic forest habitat is fragmented by farms, roads and towns. Photo: Frederico Pereira via Flickr.

Saving Brazil's Atlantic forest on a shoe string

Cristina Banks-Leite

18th September 2014

As Brazil prepares for elections next month, conserving its remaining Atlantic Forest is a hot issue, writes Cristina Banks-Leite. Ecologists want to preserve more native habitat, while farmers want to expand their acreage. But there is one solution that ought to please everyone. more...
A male Onthophagus vacca, the species of dung beetle being released this week in Western Australia. Photo: CSIRO.

Australia - exotic beetles fly in to clean up the cattle dung

Jane Wright

5th October 2014

After rabbits, foxes, brambles and the cane toad, you would have thought Australia would have had enough of invasive exotic species, writes Jane Wright. Wrong! CSIRO scientists are introducing a French dung beetle, in the hope it will lead to fewer flies, improved soil fertility and structure, and greater carbon sequestration. more...
A gorgeous organic vegetable box from the Miller family farm. Photo: Alicia Miller.

Stony broke - the hard side of the good life

Alicia Miller

11th October 2014

The green dream of being a small farmer producing high quality, organic food for local people has ended up being anything but for Alicia Miller. The problem is money - there's never enough of it. But she's not alone. All over the world, life is a financial struggle for small, ethical cultivators, and constant source of stress. more...
Salad leaves growing in Lufa's rooftop farm in Montreal. Photo: Lufa Farms.

Coming to a rooftop near you - the urban growing revolution

Rachel Dring / Sustainable Food Trust

30th September 2014

Could London, New York and other cities be self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables? Yes, writes Rachel Dring, by converting wasted roof space into gardens and greenhouses. Benefits include reducing waste; raising energy efficiency, sustainability and food security; and healthier, more connected citizens. more...
A New Zealand lamb in the spring. Is it more important that the lamb is 'tayyib' (good, wholesome, ethically and humanely produced) or halal (slaughtered iin accordance with Muslim ritual)? Photo: Tim Pokorny via Flickr.

Eating your ethics: Halal meat

Alicia Miller

22nd September 2014

Halal ritual slaughter has raised huge controversy in the UK press, writes Alicia Miller. But the far greater issue is farm animals' entire quality of life - as reflected in the Qu'ranic principle that meat must be 'tayyib' - good, wholesome and from well-treated, healthy animals. Is this something we can all agree on? more...
Dying for GMOs? One of 35 members of the neo-nazi Aidar Battalion killed in an ambush by rebels in East Ukraine, 6 September 2014. Photo: Colonel Cassad.

Ukraine opens up for Monsanto, land grabs and GMOs

Joyce Nelson

11th September 2014

Hidden from mainstream media exposure, the World Bank and IMF loan has opened up Ukraine to major corporate inroads, writes Joyce Nelson. Loan conditions are forcing the deeply indebted country to open up to GMO crops, and lift the ban on private sector land ownership. US corporations are jubilant at the 'goldmine' that awaits them. more...
Algae on the Trinity River, July 2014. Photo: Klamath Justice Coalition.

Fish before agribusiness! California river tribes demand water

Oliver Tickell

22nd August 2014

Large scale salmon deaths are imminent on the Klamath River and its tributaries in northern California due to low flows and high temperatures. Native American tribes are protesting in the state capital as federal agencies illegally prioritize water for large scale agribusiness over fish and indigenous people. more...
Herbicide use in Argentina has soared with the introduction of GMO crop varieties. Photo: Santiago Nicolau via Flickr.

Cancer deaths double in Argentina's GMO agribusiness areas

Lawrence Woodward

24th August 2014

Sharply increased levels of crop spraying in Argentina's most intensively farmed areas have resulted in a public health disaster, writes Lawrence Woodward, with large increases in cancer incidence. And it's all the result of the widespread use of GMO crops engineered for herbicide resistance. more...
Letting the seeds grow free on a vegetable garden in BC, Canada. Photo: Christopher Porter via Flickr.

Free the seeds to feed the world!

Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman

20th August 2014

Patented and 'indentured' seeds are fast taking over the world's food supply, write Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman, terminating farmers' and gardeners' ancient right to develop new varieties, and forcing them to buy seed anew for every crop. Enter the Open Source Seed Initiative ... more...
A vast monoculture of corn in Iowa, USA - profitable, but not healthy. Photo: Rich Griffith via Flickr.

More calories from fewer sources means less nutrition, more profit

David Nally

21st August 2014

It's a global phenomenon - we are consuming more calories, and more of those calories are the same, writes David Nally. Just ten crops produce 75% of our food, as factory-farmed meat, sugar, wheat, corn, soybeans and palm oil displace more nutritious and diverse diets. It's not good for us, or the planet - but it's great for corporate food monopolists! more...
At the time of his rescue, Toto was kept chained by the neck. Photo: ADI.

The animals can't speak up for themselves - so we must do it for them

Sophie Morlin-Yron

18th August 2014

The essential first lesson for an animal rescuer: you are unimportant. It's the animals that matter. Sophie Morlin-Yron meets Jan Creamer - effective, courageous and seemingly selfless campaigner against animal cruelty worldwide, from Bolivia to Zambia, from circuses to factory farms. more...

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With the 'right to farm' constitutional amendment, this factory-scale hog farm in Missouri may be immune from regulation for environmental impacts, animal welfare and working conditions. Photo: KOMUnews via Flickr.

Missouri's 'Right-to-Farm' - an early win for third wave corporatocracy

Don Fitz

22nd August 2014

First corporations gained legal personhood, writes Don Fitz. Next they seized the right to force 'free trade' on unwilling populations. Now they are making sure that 'corporate rights' trump citizen rights - like the right to wholesome food and a healthy environment. That's where the 'Right to Farm' constitutional amendments come in ... more...
It's the RoundUp, stupid! Photo: London Permaculture via Flickr.

GMOs and RoundUp - junking down our food supply

Dr Thierry Vrain

18th April 2014

The introduction of GMO crops has caused a huge increase in the use of the herbicide glyphosate, writes Dr Thierry Vrain. In turn we are eating ever more of it in our food, depriving us of vital mineral nutrients and damaging the symbiotic bacteria we all depend on for life and health. more...
Crop-spraying in the USA. Photo: CFS.

Last chance to stop USDA approval of 2,4-D GMO crops

The Ecologist

14th August 2014

The US is poised to 'deregulate' GMO corn, soybean and cotton varieties resistant to the herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba. The result will be a big increase in the use of those herbicides, as high as 600%. Only a huge public outcry can now stop the GMO-herbicide juggernaut. more...
Does this seed library look to you like 'agri-terrorism'? Photo: via Sharable.net.

Agri-terrorists accuse seed bank of 'agri-terrorism'

Kevin Carson

13th August 2014

A Pennsylvania seed library stands accused of 'agri-terrorism' over alleged breaches of the Seed Act 2004, reports a bemused Kevin Carson. Have USDA and state agriculture departments become the enforcement branch of the agribusiness crime syndicate? more...
What will GM crops ever do for her? Neil Palmer / CIAT, CC BY-SA

Kenya chooses GMOs - but there are smarter ways to feed Africa

Andrew Adam-Bradford

9th August 2014

GM crops may benefit agribusiness, writes Andrew Adam-Bradford. But they offer little to Africa or the millions of farming communities that feed the continent. Rather than impose corporate 'solutions', governments should invest in indigenous agro-ecological farming. more...
Local Farmers Speak Out Against

Missouri: corporate agriculture wins 'Right to Farm'

Ben Whitford

6th August 2014

Missouri voters have narrowly passed a 'right to farm' amendment to the state constitution. But small farmers already enjoy such rights, writes Ben Whitford. The beneficiaries will be industrial-scale corporate producers who now have a legal shield against regulation on GMOs, pollution, animal welfare and health standards - and, of course, the lawyers. more...
A fall armyworm caterpillar in a sweetcorn cob. Photo: Judy Baxter via Flickr.

Brazil: GMO 'Bt corn' no longer resists pest attack

The Ecologist

2nd August 2014

GMO corn varieties that express insecticidal Bt toxins are failing in the field, with reports of infestations of the fall armyworm on Bt corn in Brazil and the USA. Now the EU is poised to approve one of the failing varieties for use on European farms. more...
Children at large in the orchard at the Apricot Centre. Photo: Photo: Martin Large / Biodynamic Land Trust.

Healing and inspiring children with animals, mud and a touch of magic

Martin Large

23rd August 2014

The Apricot Centre in Essex is a unique project that uses organic horticulture and animal husbandry to heal, inspire and educate children from diverse backgrounds, and kindle love for the natural world, writes Martin Large. Now it's expanding to Devon, to establish a second, much larger biodynamic smallholding near Totnes and Dartington. more...
Cattle in a paddock on a small farm in Russia. Photo: Vmenkov CC.

Russia's small farmers are the latest 'health and safety' victims

Georgy Borodyansky

5th August 2014

New regulations on animal slaughter are in force across Russia, writes Georgy Borodyansky, with devastating effects on small farmers and consumers, who face a three-fold hike in the price of meat. Will the 'health and safety' madness destroy Russia's main producers of wholesome food? more...
Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr.

Badger Trust wins 'right to know' about badger cull development

The Ecologist

1st August 2014

The Government must release key documents about its secret development of England's badger cull with the National Farmers Union. The Upper Tribunal ruled that the public interest would be served by a full disclosure. more...
After the pesticides we spray, who will be left flying? Photo: John Severns via The Conversation.

Pesticide safety research shouldn't be left to the pesticide companies

Christopher N Connolly

30th July 2014

Pesticide companies are responsible for assessing the safety of their products, writes Christopher N Connolly - and this situation cannot continue. The research should be carried out independently, subjected to peer review, and published. more...
About 250 boats took to the Peace River for the 'Paddle for the Peace' event on Saturday 12th July 2014. Photo: Emma Gilchrist.

Canada: saving the Peace Valley

Emma Gilchrist / DeSmog.ca

8th August 2014

Canada's biggest infrastructure project is planned for Peace Valley, BC - a gigantic $7.9 billion dam that would flood 83 kilometres of the Peace River - all to produce electricity that no one needs. But a coalition of farmers, ranchers and First Nations is determined to block it ... more...
A mother badger with three cubs to feed looks for food in garden in rural Dorset. Photo: Lesley Docksey.

Carry on Culling - the fiasco continues

Lesley Docksey

28th July 2014

'We need to look at the best scientific evidence' on badgers and bovine TB, says Environment Secretary Liz Truss. But as Lesley Docksey writes, the 'best scientific evidence' appears to mean only that which supports the cull - and there's precious little of it! more...

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