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UK | The Grassroots Groups Shifting Ground on Land Justice

The racialised history of British soil has consequences that are very much felt today. However where industrial scale farming is failing, the grassroots is doing what it does best, building fertile ground for a new food system that nurtures diversity. High-profile agroecology events such as this weekend’s Land Skills Fair are spotlighting land justice. This is thanks to the work of many projects that together are gradually shifting the ground for land justice. Ursula Billington reports. […]

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UK | Truth Waits In All Things

What’s next for our countrysides? Before we even begin to consider re-scaling the rural, we must slow down and work in deep collaboration and coproduction – with all. This requires deep listening to the voices on the ground. But also trusting farmers and artists, who are skilled at working alongside and within communities, human and nonhuman. Otherwise we will continue to do the countryside a disservice, argues Kate Genever. […]

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Ukraine | the Green Road of Ecovillages – Communities that Protect

In times of tragedy and disaster, people can come together and do extraordinary things. And so it is in and around Ukraine, where an amazing mutual aid network called the Green Road has emerged – organically, rapidly, and with impact. The Green Road has seen the global and the local ecovillage and permaculture communities involved in ongoing emergency support for people fleeing the war. Anastasiya Volkova of  Permaculture in Ukraine has more.  […]

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Ukraine | Two Farmers near the Frontline

Paul Lemaire is a photojournalist who has recently left southern Ukraine. Here we present a photo essay from his time in the countryside around the city of Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea between Odesa and Kherson. At the end of April, Paul spent some time with farmers Vladimir and Ivan, as they’ve tried to carry with their work in rural Ukraine. Here we feature a first look at photos from his time there. […]

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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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UK | Hemp – Overgrowing the Regime part 2

For many growers it’s a plant with huge potential. For many policymakers it’s a dangerous drug. Despite a lack of tools, knowledge, infrastructure and support, woefully few routes to market, and suffocating restrictions on production and use of the crop, meet the British hemp growers who are ploughing ahead. Now a campaign of civil disobedience hopes to provoke policymakers to rethink regulations. Story by Ursula Billington. Second in a two-part series. […]

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Ukraine | Connecting Rural Borderlands in the Carpathians

The Carpathian Civil Society Platform is gathering energy for change in the borderlands that connect Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. These remote mountainous areas have similar characteristics and face similar challenges, such as increasing poverty and social exclusion. With war moving closer to Western Ukraine, the platform’s work to connect civil society actors in the Carpathian mountains has taken on a renewed significance. Report by Sándor Köles, Chair of Carpathian Foundation-Hungary. […]

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Ukraine | Wheat, War and History

The breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine became famous for Turkey Red Wheat, a variety with good milling and baking qualities that does well in harsh winters. But Ukrainian farmers not only grew the grain that fed so many in Europe, the seeds became the life insurance of those fleeing the Russian empire in the 19th century. And that’s how Turkey Red Wheat came to the US where it is still grown today. […]

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UK | Hemp – Overgrowing the Regime part 1

Hemp is an ‘ecological wonder plant’ with almost endless potential as a sustainable raw fibre material, not to mention its intriguing nutrient profile and therapeutic benefits. It can even decontaminate radioactive soil. Yet in many jurisdictions, hemp production is hampered by baffling constraints. Where UK farming policy appears to bypass common sense, growers are taking the law into their own hands. […]

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A Food, Feed and Fertilizer Crises | Ukraine

The agri-food system is very exposed  – and was even before the war in Ukraine and its implications. Nitrogen fertilizer has been the bedrock of how farming happens, and its availability has led to a very specific type of food production to flourish. Decisions must be made – about feeding people, about feeding pigs, about how a grass-based system can really function sustainably. Op-Ed from Stuart Meikle.   […]

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More Food less Feed – Agriculture and the War on Ukraine

An appalling war on Ukraine has manifold impacts. The direct human cost is immense and incalculable. The impacts on the world’s agri-food trade and commodity systems will be huge. The 4 F’s  – fuel, feed, fertilizer and of course food are all heavily implicated. So what to do? Will Europe suspend progress on rerouting the food system towards more resilience, by doubling down into the worst aspects of these 4 F’s? Or can some aspects of a deeper iteration of food sovereignty emerge?  […]