The Ecologist

 

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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...
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...
Organic apples from the tree. Photo: Veronica Olivotto via Flickr.

A tale of two apple farms - can big be beautiful for organic growers?

Andrew Wasley

11th November 2014

The organic movement faces a dilemma. Should it hold to its roots and stick with traditional production methods and local distribution? Or embrace technology and supermarkets, and feed as many mouths as possible? Andrew Wasley meets two very different organic apple producers ... more...
With milkweed and other 'weeds' now facing the dual chemical assault of glyphosate and 2,4-D, what hope for the Monarch butterfly?

New seeds, old pesticides - 2,4-D and 'next generation' GMOs

Jim Goodman

27th October 2014

The US EPA has approved new GMO corn and soybean varieties resistant to both glyphosate and 2,4-D, writes Jim Goodman - and the highly toxic herbicide mix itself. In this latest escalation of the chemical war against nature there is one clear winner - Dow AgroSciences. But everyone else loses - farmers, consumers and our increasingly endangered wildlife. 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...
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...
These organic courgettes at Sandy Lane Farm in Oxfordshire are good for soil, water, wildlife - and you! Photo: Sandy Lane farm.

Organic farming boosts environment and nutrition

Pat Thomas

1st August 2014

How we farm matters, writes Pat Thomas - not just for water, insects, birds and the wider environment, which benefit from organic farming, but also the nutritional value of our food. It's time to value the quality of what we eat, instead of prizing quantity above all. more...
French dairy farmers Sandrine Lizaga milking her organic ewes.

EU outlaws animal use of herbal remedies on organic farms

Sandra Saadi

11th July 2014

New EU regulations forbid the use of herbal remedies and plant essences to maintain animal health instead of antibiotics, reports Sandra Saadi. An organic ewe breeder in France has already been threatened with the loss of EU farm support payments. more...
An anti-Starbucks rally. Photo: Travis Forden.

Boycott Starbucks! Here's five strong reasons why

Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins

5th June 2014

Starbucks has positioned itself as a 'progressive' brand - but it's no such thing. It refuses to commit to fair trade coffee, organic milk, GMO-free / organic foods and snacks, and supports the mighty Grocery Manufacturers Association, lobbyist for GMOs and industrial agriculture. more...
Peter Melchett farms organically at Courtyard Farm in Norfolk. Photo: Peter Melchett.

Organic inspections, organic growth

Peter Melchett

24th May 2014

Organic farming has changed, but for the better, writes Soil Association head of policy and Norfolk organic farmer Peter Melchett. As never before, organic inspections are central to the delivery of environmental and animal care, and food you really can trust. more...
Organic farming as it used to be ... sow with piglets at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm.

Organic certification - inorganic bureaucracy

Julian Rose

17th May 2014

Organic certification used to be carried out by real farmers in wellies, who knew all the tricks and could spot dodgy practice on the land at 100 paces, writes Julian Rose. Today's certifiers arrive in patent leather shoes and get no further than the office - and this is meant to be an improvement? more...
Planting out onion seedlings at Sandy Lane Farm, and organic farm in Oxfordshire, UK. Photo: Sandy lane Farm.

Organic farming benefits biodiversity

Lindsay Turnbull

19th February 2014

Organic farming really is wildlife friendly, new research from Oxford University has found, with far higher species diversity on organic farms than conventional ones. Lindsay Turnbull reports on her findings ... more...

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Pruning vines at Sedlescombe

Biodynamic British bubbly

Hazel Sillver

12th December 2013

The UK's first biodynamic sparkling white wine is available in time for Christmas. Hazel Sillver visited its creator, Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard in East Sussex, to find out more. more...
Peter Greaves

Fossil Free Europe Tour

Peter Greaves

13th November 2013

Bill McKibben is a charismatic speaker, a sort of Billy Graham for the Environment, filled with an evangelical fervour, writes Peter Greaves. But ... more...
plant and soil

Peak soil: act now or the very ground beneath us will die

8th November, 2013

Helen Browning

The health of our soils is more important now than ever, says the Soil Association’s Helen Browning - especially with the challenges that climate change will bring ... more...
Bill McKibben speaks at Rochester Institute of Technology

Bill McKibben: time for the climate movement to get on the front foot

Adam Ramsay

31st October 2013

Bill McKibben, founder of the 350.org network, is one of the world's most effective climate change campaigners. And he is in the UK this week. Adam Ramsay of Open Democracy caught up with him ... more...

Organic September

Emma Heesom

The Soil Association's Emma Heesom talks to the Ecologist about what this year's Organic September campaign is all about and how everyone can make a small change and a big difference....... more...
A sausage

Food matters: DIY supermarkets / restaurant workers / biodynamic wines

The Ecologist

1st July, 2013

Ahead of publication of the Ecologist Guide to Food - the first in a forthcoming series of hard-hitting consumer guides - our regular new blog will be covering all things ethical and culinary, and reporting on stories and issues that there simply wasn't room for in the book... more...

Boycotting organic farms over badger cull is 'counter-productive'

Helen Browning

Buying organic food is an important choice for everyone concerned about animal welfare, wildlife and conservation. It would not make sense for consumers to stop buying organic if they disagree with badger culling, says Helen Browning more...

Ignorance & Ineptitude

Tony Juniper

31st October, 2012

Sooner or later economics and ecology will need to be recognised as the two complementary faces of the same coin, writes environmentalist Tony Juniper more...
Food Bank

The UK sees a huge rise in families turning to Food Banks

Paul Creeney

Earlier this week, the Trussel Trust reported the number of UK families using food banks has tripled in the last year and increased a staggering FIVE FOLD since the coalition came to power. Paul Creeney asks the big question ...

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Britain’s forgotten foods

Britain’s forgotten foods

Grace Philip

31st May, 2012

With Jubilee fever hotting up, Grace Philip argues that it’s time to pay attention to another part of our heritage: our tasty native produce more...
Nudie jeans

Green jeans: Sweden's Nudie goes organic

Grace Philip

29th May, 2012

It might have taken 11 years but Nudie – purveyors of green jeans for the super stylish – has finally taken the plunge and gone entirely organic. Are you paying attention, H&M? more...
350.org

TAKE ACTION to help end government subsidies for dirty energy

Grace Philip

25th May, 2012

Global grassroots movement, 350.org is gathering support to persuade world leaders to stop subsidising fossil fuels at the Rio Earth Summit more...
Top Banana 2

Behind the label: how fair are organic and Fairtrade bananas?

Tom Levitt

28th May, 2012

The Dominican Republic's organic and Fairtrade boom has helped banana growers but what about the slum-dwelling Haitian migrant workers? Tom Levitt reports on the plight of the forgotten people in the banana trade more...

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