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Orange roughy - one of the vulnerable fish species caught on the high seas. Photo: CSIRO Science Image (CC BY).

End high seas fishing for fairness and sustainability

Reg Watson

9th March 2015

What's the solution to the over-exploitation of fish on the high seas, outside territorial boundaries? Ban it altogether, argues Reg Watson. It would make little difference to the total fish catch, poor coastal countries would reap huge benefits, and the fishing fleet's fuel burn would be slashed. The main losers? Rapacious industrial factory-fishers. more...
Thousands of hectares of prime rainforest habitat for chimpanzees, drills, gorillas and other primates are being wiped out as agribusiness advances across Cameroon. Photo (Chimp Eden Sanctuary): Afrika Force via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Palm oil wiping out Africa's great ape rainforests

The Ecologist

24th February 2015

The rainforest habitat of chimpanzees and other great apes is being destroyed by the expansion of palm oil projects in central Africa, according to new evidence from Greenpeace. more...
Catering Mark may not guarantee quite this at every meal - but it's delivering huge improvements on the standard catering fare of yesteryear. Photo: pablo santa cruz diaz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The Soil Association's 'Catering Mark' is helping to deliver good food for all

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

24th February 2015

The Food for Life 'Catering Mark' is bringing fresh, healthy and local food into schools, hospitals and canteens, writes Peter Melchett - while driving big increases in the volume of organic food we eat, and growing the market for organic farmers and local food producers. more...
Cornfield in Iowa, almost certainly growing a GMO crop. Photo: Laura Bernhardt via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

There is no scientific consensus on GMO safety

Angelika Hilbeck & colleagues

23rd February 2015

A broad community of independent scientific researchers and scholars challenges claims of a 'consensus' that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are 'safe' to grow and eat. The claims - which continue to be widely and often uncritically aired - are a false and artificial construct that have been misleadingly perpetuated through diverse media. more...
This colorful 'beetle bank' at Sandy Lane Organic Farm provides a haven for beneficial insects: pollinators and predators of pest species. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire, England.

Only agroecology can tackle the global food and health crisis

Dr Julia Wright

23rd February 2015

The recently published Global Nutrition Report shows almost all countries face high levels of malnutrition and diet-based ill-health, writes Julia Wright. This reveals deep problems with the dominant industrial model of food production, and the need for new agroecological approaches to feeding the world. more...
John Muyiisa is one of the Bugula islanders dispossessed by the IFAD-supervised oil palm plantation that has robbed him of his land and livelihood - and a co-plaintiff in teh legal action that is launched today. Photo: Jason Taylor / FoEI).

UN, banks and oil palm giants feast on the stolen land of Uganda's dispossessed

Anne van Schaik & Oliver Tickell

19th February 2015

A small community in Uganda is challenging a UN-backed international oil palm venture that has expropriated small farmers and obliterated an entire forest on a Lake Victoria island to establish a vast plantation. Three years after the grab, Friends of the Earth groups are backing the islanders legal action, which is launched today. more...
These apples at Eberly's Orchard near North Liberty, Indiana are non-GMO - but look just like the GMO Arctic apple. In future, how will you know? Photo: Tom Gill via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

USDA approves world's first GMO apples

The Ecologist

16th February 2015

Scientists, environmental and consumer groups have decried USDA's approval of two 'Arctic' apple varieties, while major food companies and apple growers have no plans to source or grow them - despite their potential to 'generate consumer excitement in the apple category.' more...
Mmmm, pizza! But in the US, as much as 20% of the 'cheese' can comprise vegetable oil and starch from GMO crops. Photo: Lynac via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Why does the dairy industry oppose GMO labels?

Alexis Baden-Mayer / Organic Consumers Association.

12th February 2015

Why is the dairy industry joining in the legal action against Vermont's GMO labeling law? Could it be because a fifth of US 'cheese' can be vegetable oil and starch from GMO crops, asks Alexis Baden-Mayer - and even more of a 'frozen dairy snack' or 'processed cheese food'? more...
The Soil Association's 'Catering Mark' logo is so similar to its 'Organic' logo that he makers of this promotional video got the two mixed up - and released it without anyone noticing. The error has since been corrected.

The Soil Association's 'Catering Mark' - a compromise too far?

Lynda Brown

20th February 2015

The Soil Association's Catering Mark scheme promises 'fresh food you can trust'. This sounds great, writes Lynda Brown. But what does it really deliver? The truth, she finds, is much less than the promise might suggest, considerably more complicated, and threatens to erode the public's trust in the Soil Association's organic brand and values. more...
Sorghum, one of the crops that feeds Africa, is of little interest to profit-oriented corporate agriculture. Photo: Janki via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Land and seed laws under attack as Africa is groomed for corporate recolonization

GRAIN / AFSA / The Ecologist

12th February 2015

Across Africa, laws are being rewritten to open farming up to an agribusiness invasion - displacing the millions of small cultivators that now feed the continent, and replacing them with a new model of profit-oriented agriculture using patented seeds and varieties. The agencies effecting the transformation are legion - but they are all marching to a single drum. more...
Front cover of Farmageddon, published by Bloomsbury.

Farmageddon - the true cost of cheap meat

Julian Rose

5th February 2015

So just how serious is the impact of industrial farming? Worse than you could ever imagine, writes organic farmer Julian Rose in this review of 'Farmageddon - the Real Price of Cheap Food', which lifts the lid on the industry's human and ecological devastation, and the systematic cruelty inflicted on the animals that feed us. more...
The 'No TTIP train to Brussels' and 8m high Trojan Horse lobbying the European Commission today, 4th February 2015. Photo: Jess Hurd / NoTTIP via Gobal Justice Now / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

TTIP is a lethal attack on food safety and animal welfare

Oliver Tickell

4th February 2015

As 300 protestors gather at the European Commission to protest at the resumption of TTIP trade talks between the EU and the USA, Oliver Tickell finds that the EU's newly released draft 'chapter' on food safety and animal welfare is a disastrous capitulation to corporate interests that will strip governments of their powers to regulate. more...

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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...
The flowers are gorgeous! But the oil that's pressed from their seeds is best avoided due to its high linoleic acid levels. Photo: Ken Slade via Flickr (Cc BY-NC 2.0).

Linoleic acid - the overwhelming evidence against this 'healthy' poly-unsaturated oil

David Brown

24th February 2014

The established wisdom that 'high in polyunsaturates' means healthy, and that saturated fat and cholesterol are the way to an early grave, lack any supporting scientific evidence, writes David Brown. Indeed the truth appears to be the precise reverse: over-consumption of the omega-6 polyunsaturate linoleic acid is causing untold harm to our health and wellbeing. 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...
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...
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...
Keep the Yuletide flames burning with Christmas pudding ice cream ... Photo:  Brian Uhreen via Flickr CC-BY.

Reducing food waste with taste-bud tickling recipes for Christmas leftovers

Gavin Ellis

29th December 2014

Freezing Christmas leftovers can save families money, help the environment by reducing food waste, and tickle our tastebuds with new and exciting flavours, writes Gavin Ellis - who shares delightful recipes to make the most of your Christmas sprouts, turkey and plum pudding ... 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...
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...
This roman aqueduct near Haifa in modern-day Israel took water to Caesaria, the civilian and military capital of Judaea. But ultimately, most of the water flowed to Rome itself - if in virtual form. Photo: C. J.™ via Flickr.

The food-water-energy nexus defeated the Romans. It could defeat us too

Jonathan Bridge

13th December 2014

As well as being masters of water engineering, the Romans also engaged in a long distance trade in water across the Mediterranean - embodied in grain, oil, wine, cloth, metals and other goods. They also discovered the food-water-energy nexus - and not in a good way. We need to heed the warnings from Roman history. more...

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