Dear friends and supporters,

In March, the fourth round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will take place in Brussels.  Since the last round of negotiations in December, more evidence the secretive nature of these negotiations has emerged, as reported by Corporate Europe Observatory: “In the 29 documents which were ‘partially released’, DG Trade has removed large parts of the text (…). In some cases, like a meeting with lobbyists from Fertilizers Europe, every single word has been removed from the document.” A glimmer of hope was offered at the end of January, when the Commission announced a public consulation on the so-called investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) part of the agreement. According to the official press release, the decision follows ‘unprecedented interest in the talks’ and in early March, De Gucht will publish a proposed EU text for the investment part of the talks on which people across the EU will have three months to comment.  We featured an opinion piece on thethreats the TTIP poses to Romanian peasants and farmers, and a prognosis of TTIP stakeholder engagement. We’ll also be reporting on the next round of negotiations; in the meantime, our briefing notes are a good place to look for an overview of upcoming events and negotiations to date.

A few other highlights from February on

March will also see the decision made at the EU level on whether pesticides will be allowed in Ecological Focus Areas, as well as decisions at the very grassroots level for what to plant on the German 2000m² field.  More on both below.Shirin Kiamanesh –
Communications Manager
Oliver Moore –

EU Correspondent

Keep Pesticides out of Ecological Focus Areas by 10th of March

23 European agricultural ministers* are trying to allow synthetic pesticides into areas designated as Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs). We are supporting an action to encourage ministers to keep the Ecological Focus Areas ecologically focused.  On our campaign page, you can find template letters in a range of languages and addressed to different EU agricultural ministers. Just download the letter for your country, add your name, and send to let your minister knowyou want to save this small bit of Greening in the CAP.  The final decision will be taken on 10 March, 2014.*see which 23 countries, here

New!  Topic Tabs and ‘Briefing Notes’
We’ve improved access to articles with a new menu bar at the top of our homepage organising all posts by key categories. You can now simply click on subjects such as industrial farming (under our ‘problems’ heading) or agroecology (under our ‘solutions’ heading) to read through all articles on the subject.Moreover, we’ve put together a few handy “briefing notes” on the TTIPSeedsCommon Agricultral Policy, and Land grabbing that should prove helpful if you are new to a subject or just want to brush up with all the main facts, dates, and links to further reading in one place.

Featured issue: GM Maize 1507

On February 11th, nineteen European Member states voted against the Dupont Pioneer GM Maize known as 1507, tabled by the European Commission. The European Greens have threatened the Commission with censure if it pushed ahead with authorisation. Days before the vote, German protesters said NO to the crop in front of the Chancellery. Environment Ministers will discuss the plan today (March 3rd) at the Environment Council.

See also: All ARC2020 stories on the issue here / Maize 1507: toxic and inadequately tested – Why GM Maize 1507 should be banned (by Friends of the Earth Europe)

Planting the global field : 2000m² in Berlin

We shared some exciting news on the 2000m² blog earlier this month: Christian Heymann, who runs a farm and CSA called Speisegut in the north of Berlin, will help us turn part of his farm into a real, living and breathing 2000m² field. Our field will represent the global situation, with some crops adapted to location and climate. We’ve started planning what to plant and look forward to sharing considerations, challenges, and what we’re learning as we get our hands dirty on the field this year.Read along on the blog and through Carla’s tweets.