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Grass-fed British cows - to keep them in our fields, we must pay dairy farmers a fair price for their milk. Photo: Steph French.

Save our farmers with fair trade milk!

Patrick Holden

22nd January 2015

As hundreds of British dairy farmers are forced out of business by milk prices well below production cost, writes Patrick Holden, it's time for a 'fair trade' British milk label that guarantees a fair price to smaller scale farmers operating to good environmental and animal welfare standards. more...
If only badgers could read. Photo: jayneandd (CC BY 4.0).

Fail - 2014 badger cull didn't kill enough badgers to be effective

Rosie Woodroffe

20th January 2015

Sneaked out just before Christmas, Defra's assessment of the 2014 badger cull inspired NFU leaders to claim 'success', writes Rosie Woodroffe. But the figures indicate the precise reverse: that too few badgers were killed to be effective against bovine TB, indeed the cull may even help to spread the disease. more...
Photo: Scott Wallace / World Bank via Flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND).

Warmer world threatens wheat shortages

Paul Brown

19th January 2015

Just one degree of global warming could cut wheat yields by 42 million tonnes worldwide, around 6% of the crop, writes Paul Brown - causing devastating shortages of this staple food. more...
Pioneer's PR39F58 maize at Werktuigendagen, Belgium 2009. Photo: Bdk via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

EuroParl votes in new era of GMO farming

13 January 2015

Oliver Tickell

Following a disgraceful EU stitch-up, the European Parliament today passed a law permitting EU-wide GMO crop cultivation. With regulation and safeguards devolved to member states, and only limited 'opt-out' rights, it is a recipe for chaos that GM corporations will ruthlessly exploit. more...
Fresh green chickpeas on sale in Varanasi, India. Photo: © Jorge Royan (royan.com.ar) via Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Obama - stand up for Seed Freedom and Food Democracy

Vandana Shiva

23rd January 2015

President Obama will shortly be on his way to India. In this Open Letter, Vandana Shiva invites him to join in securing the essential human freedoms to seeds and food - and to set aside any plans to pressure India into changing its laws to allow the corporate domination of life. more...
Log yard operated by plantation company PT Kahayan, October 2014. Photo: EIA.

Indonesia: palm oil expansion drives massive illegal logging

Environmental Investigation Agency / Oliver Tickell

14th January 2015

Indonesia appears to brought rainforest logging under control - but it's all a huge illusion, according to a new EIA report. Traditional logging has been replaced by the mass clearance of rainforest for oil palm plantations, creating massive supplies of hugely profitable but often illegal timber. And lurking beneath the surface is a pervasive network of criminality and corruption. more...
Old Bighorn ram on the banks of the North Fork of the Shoshone River after eating some of the first green grass of spring. Photo: Yellowstone Gate via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Who are the real 'eco-terrorists' on America's public lands?

George Wuerthner

27th January 2015

Ranchers can deliberately abuse public land and the wildlife that lives on it at will, writes George Wuerthner, confident that any breaches of the law are likely to be overlooked. But it's another thing altogether if you're trying to protect that land from destructive exploitation. Why the double standard? more...
Pipetting winegrape DNA samples in the lab during marker-assisted selection. Photo: Dan Ng (CC BY-SA).

GMO-free molecular genetics launch golden age of disease-resistant grapes

Andrew Walker

22nd February 2015

Advanced molecular genetic techniques are allowing scientists to breed disease resistance from wild grape varieties into susceptible domestic cultivars used for making wine, writes Andrew Walker. And it's all being done by conventional plant breeding accelerated by the use of DNA markers - with not a GMO in sight! more...
The future of farming is green, organic and healthy! Photo: Sandy Lane organic farm, Oxfordshire.

A tale of two farming conferences: the future is 'real' and organic

Peter Melchett

8th January 2015

Lord Krebs, self-appointed spokesman for industrial agriculture, used the Oxford Farming Conference to attack organic systems for causing more climate change - a claim as demonstrably false as it is ludicrous, writes Peter Melchett. But across the city, the upstart 'real farming' conference was showing the way to a cleaner, greener and healthier future. more...
The launch of the South West Seed Savers Coop at Embercombe Farm. Photo: SWSSC.

Farmers join to save the seeds that feed us

Ashley Wheeler

6th January 2015

Farmers and growers in south-west England have united to reclaim the lost skill of seed saving, writes Ashley Wheeler. They are determined to grow, develop, share and disseminate open-pollinated seeds, and oppose EU laws granting commercial plant breeders a legal monopoly on the seeds that sustain our lives. more...
Coming to EU soon - unless the Parliament blocks it. Photo: Dawn One / © Linda and Mikael Hammond / IndyFoto.com via Flickr.

UK ministers prepare for 2017 GM crop rollout

Lawrence Woodward & Oliver Tickell

5th January 2015

The Government is preparing 'rules' that will enable the planting of GM crops in the UK as soon as 2017, writes Lawrence Woodward. A ministerial letter also signals a significant weakening of GMO safeguards compared to the Tories' 2010 manifesto. Now is the time to exert maximum pressure and fight off a planned GMO invasion. more...
There is another way to farm - and the future is bright! Photo: Tony Armstrong via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Oxford Real Farming Conference: power, lies, and agrarian resistance

Colin Tudge

4th January 2014

As thousands rely on food banks to make it through the winter and a milk price crash threatens the survival of Britain's independent dairy farmers, Colin Tudge - co-founder of this week's Oxford Real Farming Conference - examines the growing need for an agrarian renaissance to tackle the increasingly obvious failings of neoliberal agriculture. more...

farming: 25/50 of 1147
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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...
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...

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