Latest from EU Member States

Interview with Mary Reynolds | Acts of Restorative Kindness (ARK)

Having won the biggest awards in Landscape Gardening including the Chelsea Flower Show, had a Hollywood movie made about her (Dare to be Wild), and been commissioned for some of the most striking and creative landscaping projects in Ireland, Mary Reynolds stopped being a landscape gardener. So what came next? (Hint – its different to ARC – its an ARK!) […]

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Agroecology Europe Forum September 26-28th

What should be the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the future for promoting agroecology? Which local practices and policies exist in Europe that support access to land for young and first generation farmers? Which traditional and new knowledge is available on soil restoration and biodiversity enhancements? Find out at the 2nd Agroecology Europe Forum in Greece 26-28th September. […]

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Rural Dialogues | Stochastic System Collapse Part 2 – the Social and Solidarity Economy Alternative

In part one, we outlined just how bad the situation is regarding climate and biodiversity collapse, as well as the people-driven responses to this  – from extinction rebellion to the school strikes. Beyond these alarm-raising direct action initiatives, what is there out there to become the system change that’s so clearly needed? Here in part 2 we introduce the social and solidarity economy, and the interesting lessons we can learn from separatist movements from the past and present, from Quebec to Ireland. […]

Main stories

Rural Dialogues | Smart Villages – Turning Momentum into Support for Local Action

The momentum behind Smart Villages continues to grow – both within EU and national policy circles and on the ground among rural communities. The challenge is to translate this momentum into a policy framework that provides fast and flexible tools which meet the needs and expectations of rural communities in different parts of Europe. This will mean avoiding complicated structures and plans, mobilising what exists in each place – and supporting local action rather than words. […]

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Ireland | Beef Plan Movement Steps up Protest

On Wednesday the 10th of July an estimated 2,500 farmers took to the streets of Dublin to protest against the proposed Mercosur deal. The protest was organised by Beef Plan, a voluntary not for profit organisation set up in October 2018 by a small group of farmers from Meath (in Ireland’s centre-east). Since then, its membership has grown to over 20,000. So who are they and what do they want?  […]

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Ireland | Agriculture as part of a Just Transition

How can the agricultural sector in Ireland be part of a Just Transition to address inequality in the sector and tackle climate change? Agriculture is not only a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland, it is also the most unequal sector in the Irish economy in income terms. When it comes to climate change and agriculture, we need to change how we think about the challenge of reducing emissions. Farmers and their communities must play a central role in planning climate action to ensure it is good for farmers as well as the planet. […]

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UK | Farmland Tax Breaks Revealed

Recent publications have thrust the inequality of UK land ownership into the public eye. Lesser known is that landowners (and farmers) profit further from a series of, sometimes bizarre, tax breaks. Miles King summarises the findings of a report by People Need Nature into this tax system. […]

Latest from Brussels

Series | Where Next for CAP – Can Strategic Plans Deliver?

While the next CAP reform is still in discussion at the Council, and the European Parliament has not yet taken a final position, Samuel Féret explains the rationale of the new concept of CAP Strategic Plans (CSP) for a future CAP as proposed by the European Commission. This is intended as a pivotal piece of the future new delivery model, probably the biggest proposed change in how the CAP is set to operate in the future. The first in a five part article series on where next for CAP. […]

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Farm Diversification – Agroforestry and Agritourism in Ireland

What future strategies exist for livestock farmers in Ireland? Beef farmers are struggling, and fighting over a EU/Irish government handout of E100 million due to clauses attached. A small number have opted for a different, more diversified route. Read about Jane Shackleton’s organic farm with Galloway cattle, sheep and an agri-tourism enterprise in the lakelands of Ireland.  […]

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The Challenge of Making UK Ruminant Production Sustainable

Ruminant livestock farmers have the unique potential to manage the British countryside to deliver a number of public goods, alongside profitably producing environmentally-sustainable premium-quality meat. The potential ‘prize’ is a carbon-neutral UK ruminant livestock sector, as part of a rural landscape that delivers a number of publicly-desired ecosystem services. […]