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New Seed Platform – Seeds4All – Launches

Seeds4All is dedicated to seed diversity, and it aims to “give visibility to all European organisations that collect, enrich, produce, disseminate and sustainably use traditional and new varieties of seeds belonging to the public domain, freely reproducible and not genetically modified.” […]

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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. […]

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Ireland | EIPs make the case for a better CAP

A group of EIPs – European Innovation Partnerships – has come together in Ireland to argue the case for this environmentally engaged form of farming. So what’s next – will some of the methods and approaches used in these EIPs become templates for other farming regions in Ireland, or for the design of CAP schemes, or for more market-orientated approaches such as PDO and PGI? Here we publish a joint letter by a number of EIPs from Ireland to help stimulate this debate.  […]

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Catcher in the Rye: Breeding Diversity for Unpredictable Conditions

The new EU organic regulation, to be implemented in 2022, promises new opportunities especially for young farmers to regain control and knowledge of local conservation, breeding, sustainable use and marketing of seeds fit for organic production. As part of the team that negotiated the new EU organic regulation, ARC2020 President Hannes Lorenzen is curious about how the new less restrictive conditions for organic seed production and marketing will impact breeders and farmers. He spoke to an organic plant breeder and a young farmer about their ideas on the future of seeds. […]

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Italy – Digitalisation, Diverse Farms and Rural Resilience

Digital tools that suit the complexity of diversified farms and meet their specific needs, can bring new challenges but, once these are overcome, they can contribute to farm resilience and viability. Meet two Italian farm enterprises and see how their stories and narratives show that digitalisation means not only access to connectivity, but also capacity to use, manage and control technologies. […]

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Swiss Study Backs Water Clean-Up

As part of Switzerland’s groundwork for its Clean Drinking Water Initiative, the Swiss federal government’s food and  environmental agency Agroscope has completed a second, detailed study on the environmental impact the clean drinking water initiative can achieve. Peter Crosskey found that Agroscope’s preliminary findings suggest that while the country could indeed reduce pesticide levels in its drinking water, the gains would be eroded by the current carbon footprint of imported foods. […]

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Food Framing: Think Like An Eastern European

Must we choose between formal market and non-market economies? This is the longstanding Western narrative. But Eastern European food practices tell a different story. Co-author of a new paper that points to tried-and-tested alternatives to the West’s broken food systems, Bálint Balázs makes the case for looking East. […]

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Europe’s Agroecology Movement – Stepping up in Times of Covid19

Four innovative and committed agroecology initiatives showed how they stepped up in times of Covid19 at a webinar organised by Forum Synergies and ARC2020 last week. And dozens, from all over Europe and beyond, got involved in the conversation. Alison Brogan tells us about this event which provided a moment to reflect, some key contemporary learnings, and which sowed the seeds of further action. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Welcome to Western Macedonia

Meet Nikos Tsioumplekas, a budding farmer who is reviving the family farm in Western Macedonia in the North of Greece. So far he has restored his great-grandfather’s orchards and planted a vegetable garden. Inspired by Greek tradition and best practices from all over the world, Nikos is determined to realise his farming vision. […]

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Germany | Islanders Go Digital

If remote rural communities want to be part of the conversations that will shape their futures, the ability to connect with other projects and stakeholders is a crucial skill. For one island community, the coronavirus crisis was a crash course in online networking. Hannes Lorenzen reports on Eco-Week 2020 and the digital leap forward on his home island of Pellworm, Germany. […]

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Ammonia | Hanging Around Like A Bad Smell

An unpleasant stench stank out cities across Europe this spring as the pandemic-induced drop in emissions from transport and industry cleared the air for agricultural air pollution. As luck would have it, the Covid-19 lockdowns coincided with peak slurry-spreading time – making the stink all the more pungent. But there’s more to manure than a bad smell to worry about. Alison Brogan reports. […]