Latest from EU Member States

Letter From The Farm | Half The Price Of Your Food Is Paid By The EU

We hear again from Czech livestock farmer Josef who is disillusioned with the sector’s refusal to move with the times. He’s found he can do more ecological farming without the red tape of organic certification and senseless inspections. And although income supports were a huge help to him as a new entrant, he would be happy to see direct payments cut for established farmers. […]

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CAP | Time for Commission to Get Real on Spending, Say Auditors

The EU spends a lot on CAP – almost 40% of its annual budget. But are these billions of euros delivering results? In a new report, the European Court of Auditors find the Commission is “overly optimistic” on the performance of CAP spending and needs to focus on the real impacts. It also confirms that 80% of direct payments are going to 20% of beneficiaries. Louise Kelleher reports. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Czech Republic | Wrangling with the Next Generation

Meet Czech farmer Terezie Daňková, who raises cattle and sheep on a 450 ha. ranch on mostly rented land in Southern Bohemia, with the help of her cowgirl daughter Barbora (20), her son Vojtěch (13), and a stable of horses. Louise Kelleher speaks to two generations of women farmers about the realities of rural life, the pull of the city, and what brings them back to the farm. […]

Latest from Brussels

CAP and Biodiversity | Wake-Up Call For Green Deal Commission?

Last week’s damning report on CAP and biodiversity was a wake-up call. But will the Green Deal Commission go back to sleep? The European Court of Auditors insists CAP must deliver more in the 2030 biodiversity strategy. Civil society organizations are now watching closely to see the Commission doesn’t hit snooze and sink back into business as usual. Louise Kelleher takes us through the reactions. […]

Latest from Brussels

CAP | Billions Spent on Biodiversity with Little Impact – Auditors

The EU has funnelled €66 billion into farmland biodiversity since 2014 – and has little to show for it. That’s the conclusion of a special report released on Friday by the European Court of Auditors. The auditors slammed the half-baked targets of the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, its odd-couple relationship with CAP, lack of monitoring, and some very un-smart spending by the European Commission. A series of recommendations have been made. Louise Kelleher reports. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Letter From The Farm | A Conscientious Objector to the Meat Industry

Meet Josef, a Czech livestock farmer who is a conscientious objector to the meat industry. For ethical reasons he slaughters his animals on farm and sells the meat locally to friends and neighbours. On-farm slaughter is not legally possible for small farmers in the Czech Republic, where the only ways to kill a cow are via big processors, investing in your own on-farm facility – which is prohibitively expensive – or live exports. In order to speak freely about his activities, Josef (not his real name) chose to remain anonymous for this conversation with Louise Kelleher. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Czech Republic | Keeping Farming & Food in the Family

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, our creaking food systems have triggered a crisis within a crisis. Covid-19 has sounded the alarm on the planet’s unsustainable agricultural systems. Small-scale farms are vital links in the resilient local supply chains we need to build. But in the Czech Republic small farmers face challenges, and a six-week closure of farmers markets has hit hard. Louise Kelleher reports. […]

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IPES-Food on Covid-19: Protect the Vulnerable, Build Resilience, Stay Vigilant

The Covid-19 pandemic has put our food systems to the test, exposing the vulnerabilities of an unsustainable status quo. In a communiqué released on Tuesday, IPES-Food slams shortsighted solutions to the crisis. Calling for a paradigm shift to agroecological farming, it says now is the time to transform the seeds of change into the foundations of a resilient new food system. Industrial food systems are being peddled as solutions when in fact they are the problem. Louise Kelleher reports. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Winning the Battle with the Agri-Giant Next Door

Czech organic farmer Libor Kožnar has won his yearlong battle with Agrofert, the agribusiness empire operating next to his small holding. He lost the organic certification for his wheat due to fertiliser drift from an Agrofert sprayer. Agrofert is a multimillion euro conglomerate with ties to the Czech prime minister, currently under investigation in a conflict of interest case by the European Commission. […]

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Poking Holes in Farm to Fork: Environmental Groups Seek a Coherent Vision

Healthy ecosystems are the foundation for food production, but they are pushed to breaking point by the current system. In the face of existential threats, Farm to Fork needs a coherent vision. Friends of the Earth Europe, WWF, Birdlife Europe, Greenpeace, ClientEarth and Pesticides Action Network weigh in on the European Commission’s Roadmap to food sustainability. […]