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Vegetable medley. FreeImages.com/ William Stadler

A Food Renaissance

Colin Tudge

28 January 2016

Colin Tudge reports on The College of Real Farming and Food Culture; a project designed to tackle the current issues in global food production. The current system is not fit for purpose but through a holistic approach and an overhaul of current mainstream agriculture, achieving a balance between feeding the world and conserving the environment is within grasp. more...
Protestors in Rosario, Argentina, comes out in support of the Monsanto blockade at Malvinas Argentinas, tth January 2016. Photo: Fernando Der Meguerditchian / Cooperativa de Comunicación La Brújula via Facebook.

'No Pasaran!' After two years, Argentina's Monsanto blockade is fighting on

Ciara Low / GMWatch

29th January 2016

Protesters have now blocked a Monsanto seed factory in Córdoba, Argentina for over two years, writes Ciara Low. Another eviction attempt is now imminent, and campaigners are calling for a big mobilization this Sunday to fortify the blockade and send out a strong message to Monsanto and its acolytes: 'No Pasaran!' - 'They shall not pass!' more...
Children learn about the wild fruits of the forest. Photo: Damitha Rajapakse.

Conserving and popularizing wild fruits in Sri Lanka - the Native Forest Foundation

Damitha Rajapakse

1st March 2016

Modern practices mean that more than ever, people are disconnected from nature, writes Damitha Rajapakse. In Sri Lanka - a biodiversity hotspot which is full of endemic plants with unique properties - a conservation programme is under way to teach the new generation about the rich heritage of native fruits which surrounds them. more...
Protest rally aganist Monsanto in Toronto, Canada, 25th May 2015. Photo: Nisarg Lakhmani via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Monsanto defeated? That's what the Syngenta merger shows us

Carmelo Ruiz / GMWatch

27th January 2016

Monsanto has acquired a commanding role in the biotech, seed and agro-chemical industries, writes Carmelo Ruiz. So why is the company desperate to merge with its rival Syngenta? The truth is the company is in deep trouble, as its top-selling Roundup herbicide runs out of steam, and its rivals combine to challenge its dominance. more...
Photo: Daniela Hartmann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From banks to food banks: money, inequality and the price of food

Colin Tudge

26th February 2016

From banks that are too big to fail, to food banks for the too small to matter, the global econom systematically pumps money from the social economy and the poor up into the hands of a tiny minority of wealthy beneficiaries, writes Colin Tudge. Farmers, trapped between mountains of debt and low food prices, are among the main victims. It's time for a big rethink, starting from first principles. more...
Here lie the bones of academic freedom and scientific objectivity. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Photo: Katrina Koger via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Why is Cornell University hosting a GMO propaganda campaign?

Stacy Malkan

22nd January 2016

Cornell, one of the world's leading academic institutions, has abandoned scientific objectivity, writes Stacy Malkan - and instead made itself a global hub for the promotion of GM crops and food. Working with selected journalists and industry-supported academics, Cornell's so-called 'Alliance for Science' is an aggressive propaganda tool for corporate biotech and agribusiness. more...
Bill and Melinda Gates, 18th March 2014. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (CC BY).

Gates Foundation is spearheading the neoliberal plunder of African agriculture

Colin Todhunter

21st January 2016

The Gates Foundation - widely assumed to be 'doing good', is imposing a neoliberal model of development and corporate domination that's opening up Africa's agriculture to land and seed-grabbing global agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter. In the process it is foreclosing on the real solutions - enhancing food security, food sovereignty and the move to agroecological farming. more...
You want transgenes with that? Avocado Alfalfa Delight. Photo: Victoria Ristenbatt and Scott Redding via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Feral 'Roundup Ready' GM alfalfa goes wild in US West

Bill Freese / Center for Food Safety

19th January 2016

A USDA study shows that a GM alfalfa has gone wild in alfalfa-growing parts of the West. This may explain GMO contamination incidents that have cost US growers and exporters millions of dollars - and it exposes the failure of USDA's 'coexistence' policy for GMOs and traditional crops. more...
Ducks by their pond on a small farm near Ostróda, Northern Poland. Photo: Leszek Kozlowski via Flickr (CC BY).

Polish government backs small farmers' and food sovereignty

Julian Rose / ICPPC

25th January 2016

Since Poland's new government was elected last October it has moved to protect the country's 1.3 million small farmers, writes Julian Rose. First it freed those arrested for protesting corporate land grabs, now it is seeking to lighten oppressive hygiene regulations, and next it may support a new Food Act that would ban GMOs, and legislate for national food security and food sovereignty. more...
Mums say 'No' to GMOS!

Mums - let's use our consumer power to keep GMOs and deadly herbicides out of food

Sally Beare

21st January 2016

No matter how concerned we are about the quality of food we and our families eat, we can be sure governments are putting corporate profit first, writes Sally Beare. But we - Mums in particular - still have our power as consumers to push supermarkets and other retailers into going GM-free and keeping toxic agrochemicals out of the food chain. Let's use it! more...
We enjoy farming! Photo: Alto vicky via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Who's telling the truth about the New Alliance and farmers in African countries?

Aisha Dodwell / Global Justice Now.

15th January 2016

The 'New Alliance', backed by £600m of UK aid, is meant to improve food security, reduce malnutrition and lift people out of poverty, writes Aisha Dodwell. But it's all a huge con - delivering corporate welfare, attacking small farmers, enabling land grabs - and leaving a trail of poverty and human devastation. It draws praise from only a single review of its activities: its own. more...
Photo: Weiderinder.de.vu via Wikimedia (Public domain).

Disgraceful 'Honour' for failing to protect people from poisons

Georgina Downs

18th January 2016

Easy to miss in the New Year Honours list: a little-known civil servant for 'services to pesticides regulation'. But none the less shocking for that, writes Georgina Downs. Paul Hamey MBE is the very man who has been responsible for ensuring that rural residents receive no proper protection from repeated exposure to toxic mixtures of pesticides on nearby farms. Go figure. more...

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Devastating fire last year in the cerrado savanna region, one of Brazil’s most threatened biomes. Photo: José Cruz/ABr via Wikimedia (CC-BY).

Brazil: as forest fires rage, new laws will open gates of hell

Jan Rocha

14th January 2016

Never mind Brazil's COP21 promises to cut its carbon emissions, writes Jan Rocha. New laws passing through Congress will encourage deforestation by removing safeguards and opening up indigenous territories to mega-projects. Serious drought is already contributing to a big increase in forest fires. more...
Under TTIP, this landscape of small farms interspersed with trees and woodland in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, might be unable to survive. Photo: Renate Dodell via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

TTIP: the downfall of European agriculture?

Dario Sarmadi / EurActiv.de

14th January 2016

The TTIP 'trade agreement between the US and the EU would devastate EU farms as it opens them up to competition from larger, less regulated US operations, writes Dario Sarmadi. This is the conclusion of a new study to be published tomorrow, which also finds that small-scale farmers would be the first to go - with the big winners the large agri-food corporations. more...
RoundUp by Monsanto. Photo: Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube via Flickr (CC BY).

EU regulator attacks IARC scientists on weedkiller safety

Arthur Neslen / Guardian Environment

13th January 2015

A fierce dispute is raging over whether glyphosate, the world's biggest weedkiller, causes cancer, writes Arthur Neslen. The row has pitched EFSA, the EU's food regulator, against 96 of the world's top medical scientists - and comes shortly before the EU is to decide on renewing glyphosate's licence. more...
An Eastern Mountain Gorilla forages on a hillside just outside of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. A large deforested buffer zone of inedible tea plants has been constructed in order to keep the gorillas from leaving the park and disrupting loca

Uganda: Save Kafuga Forest and gorillas from tea plantations

Richard Sadler

27th January 2016

Mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are at risk from tea plantations that would obliterate the adjacent Kafuga Forest, a vital buffer zone for local people, writes Richard Sadler. Deprived of foods, herbs, medicines and clean water from the forest, human pressure on the gorillas would inevitably increase, and expose them to potentially lethal diseases. more...
How much Roundup is in your breakfast cereal? We don't know, as USDA and EPA have created a bureaucratic logjam that means the 'probably carcinogenic' herbicide is not tested for. Photo: Trish via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

USDA and EPA must come clean over Roundup residues

Carey Gillam / USRTK

12th January 2016

Each year the US Department of Agriculture manages to test for over 400 pesticides in food, writes Carey Gillam. But glyphosate, the world's biggest-selling herbicide, is not among them, even as evidence of its dangers mounts. It's time for USDA and EPA to stop their buck-passing - and give consumers their right to know. more...
Dr. Shanta Karki studies rice plants being grown at IRRI's Biotech labs, which have worked on the development of Golden Rice. From the image collection of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

How GMO lobbyists taught me we're winning

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

11th January 2016

GMO promoters enthuse about how GM crops will be able to help the poor and hungry, far in the future, writes Claire Robinson. But they are silent about the currently-planted GM crops - 99% of them herbicide-tolerant or insecticidal. Could it be because opponents of the technology are being proved right at every turn? more...
Original illustration for The Rural Manifesto by Clifford Harper.

Equality in the countryside

Land Workers Alliance & The Land

7th January 2016

At a time when the Labour Party is discovering its egalitarian roots, inequality is as much of an issue in the countryside as in the city, states this 'Rural Manifesto' from the Land Workers Alliance and The Land. The neglect and exclusion of Britain's rural poor and landless farmers must end. more...
A tribal elder from the Tagbanua tribe in Quezon municipality, central Palawan. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Philippines islanders unite to resist 'land grab' palm oil companies

Rod Harbinson

7th January 2016

Farmers on Palawan are being tricked into giving land away to palm oil companies with local government support, writes Rod Harbinson. Under the palm oil company 'leases' the farmers lose all rights to their land, never receive any money, and are saddled with 25 years of debt. Those who resist the land grabs are now in fear for their lives following the murder of a prominent campaigner. more...
Mining Bee (Andrena dunningi) on Hawthorn. Photo:  Dan Mullen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

New research exposes hidden cocktail of bee-killing pesticides in hedgerows and wildflowers

Oliver Tickell

5th January 2015

Dangerous volumes of neonicotinoid insecticides and other pesticides are expressed in common wild flowers like buttercups and hawthorn blossom in countryside under arable cultivation, a new study has discovered. The discovery invalidates the UK government's 'pollinator strategy' based on creating 'safe havens' in arable areas - because the havens are in fact loaded with pesticides. more...
Why did the badger cross the road? Maybe to get away from an Environment Secretary on a personal mission of death and destruction to Britain's wildlife. Photo: Badger in the Quantock Hills of Somerset by Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Truss's decision: badger culling will continue, with no evidence it works

Lesley Docksey

5th January 2015

Sneaked out shortly before MP's Christmas recess, the Government's decision to 'carry on culling' badgers with no evidence that the slaughter is reducing the incidence of bovine TB is a travesty of process, writes Lesley Docksey. But it does have one useful outcome - it has exposed Defra's claims that the cull is 'science-led' as arrant nonsense. Science never even got a look in. more...
A farmer at work on his tractor amid oilseed rape (canola) in Oakwood, Derbyshire, England. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To control flood - and drought - we must involve farmers

Colin Tudge

2nd January 2015

Building resilience to flood and drought is all about working with farmers, writes Colin Tudge. Simple things like ploughing across slopes, not up and down them, planting trees, and caring for soils, can make a huge difference in helping rainwater to sink into the ground, not run off. And to make it happen, the government must take a lead. more...
These Venezuelan watermelon (sandía) seeds are now protected by law from corporate takeover, while GMOs are banned. Photo: Rufino Uribe via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Venezuela's 'people as legislators' ban GMOs, protect traditional seeds

William Camacaro, Frederick B. Mills & Christina M. Schiavoni

2nd January 2015

A radical new Seed Law drafted by Venezuelan people, farmers and NGOs was signed into law in the closing days of 2015, write William Camacaro, Frederick B. Mills & Christina M. Schiavoni. Striking back against the corporate takeover of seeds and peddling of GMOs, the Seed Law bans transgenic seeds, protects the country's germplasm, and establishes the legal foundation for a participatory, agroecological food and farming system. more...
Female Agapostemon sp. sweat bee, Oregon, USA. Photo: Thomas Shahan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Farm expansion driving US native bee declines

Beyond Pesticides

28th December 2015

Wild bee decline is closely associated with the advance of intensive farming and habitat loss, a new study shows. It follows an earlier paper that linked 'delayed action' decline of wild bees to exposure to pesticides including fungicides - previously considered 'bee-safe'. more...

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