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EU Organic Action Plan – Decoding Texts of Supposed Support

The European Parliament recently proclaimed its support for organic farming and food, by an overwhelming majority. However, delving into the details a little, it turns out that our MEPs could be accused of offering pie in the sky – salvation via organic farming’s great sustainability performance some time in the future, provided no real significant changes are made in the here and now. Here we critically assess the language used line by line, to help decode the more hidden  motivations behind the eurospeak.  […]

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Graduation then Desertion – French Ag Students Opting for a Different Path

Last week, French students at Agro Paris Tech  – France’s most prestigious agro-engineering school – staged a “call to desert” during their graduation speech. To desert? Yes, to desert the environmentally destructive engineering positions the university sets them up for after graduation. But these inspiring words and actions of these young people don’t match up to the government’s actions, nor the school’s response. A recap and analysis by Ashley Parsons. […]

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Ukrainian Refugees Won’t Solve Labour Shortages

As labour shortages loom, the agricultural sector is preparing for yet another tough season, especially in countries like Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Some farmers and officials hope to alleviate this crisis with labour-capable Ukrainian refugees. But are these expectations realistic? As perceptions of Ukrainian labourers change, instead of stopgap solutions, more systemic change is needed, argues Péter József Bori. […]

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Diversification in Rural Ireland – event report

With many farms specialising, mixed farming in Ireland is now at only 3%. This compares to an EU average of 21%. Such specialisation has made Ireland vulnerable to global events as it relies heavily on feed and fertilizer imports for an export driven agri-food sector. Meanwhile, there has been a deterioration of ecosystems and a failure to reach climate targets. So what level of agri-food diversification is possible – and desirable – in Ireland? […]

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All Hot Air? An Organic Action Plan without Farm to Fork Targets

The European Parliament voted this month to endorse the EU Action Plan for Organic Agriculture. The adopted action plan garnered 611 votes to 14, with five abstentions. What is missing however is any specific mention of the Farm to Fork target of shifting 25% of agriculture to organic. So, where’s the action in this action plan? Or is it all just hot air? Ashely Parsons has more.  […]

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The Influence of EU Policies in National Rural Digitalisation

Digitalisation is progressing in rural areas around Europe in different ways. There are a number of reasons for variability in style and substance, as María Alonso-Roldán and Mar Delgado-Serrano of the DESIRA project show. The pair have engaged with experts in 15 countries. Here’s what they’ve found.  […]

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A Just and Green CAP and Trade Policy in and Beyond the EU – Part 2

Trade liberalisation enforced by the WTO, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and several bilateral trade agreements largely contributed to the current economic instability in agriculture, but also to the climate and biodiversity crises. Family farmers in the EU and the Global South face unstable low prices and lose access to their land because of priority to export-led production. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Bridging Worlds Old and New

Meet Claire Jeannerat, who runs a sheep and goat farm with her family in the Swiss Alps. The title of shepherdess is is a true and often humbling apprenticeship with mother nature and all the uncertainties. Claire and her husband endeavour to live this vocation in a manner that respects and upholds ancient traditions that are being lost in modern society, bridging a path between the old and new. […]

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Just Transition in Ireland – Next Steps

What’s really involved in a genuinely just transition? Here we summarise the perspectives of wide range of actors from agriculture, energy, forestry and rural areas gathered to exchange views on the meaning and practical application of a just transition in a farming, food and rural context in Ireland. Event held in the WeCreate Centre in Cloughjordan ecovillage. With Matteo Metta and Oliver Moore. […]