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Letter From The Farm | Welcome To The Burren

Welcome to the Burren in the West of Ireland, where Shane Casey’s family have been farming Blackhead mountain for some two hundred years. Here, the unique limestone landscape requires a unique way of farming. Traditions are passed down through many generations of Burren farmers to maintain the critical symbiotic relationship between farming and conservation. In his first Letter From The Farm, Shane takes us through farming in the Burren, past and present. […]

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France | Tasting Independence in Beaufortain

In this excerpt from the book “Rural Europe on the Move: A travel guide to transitions”, Philippe Barret tells the story of Beaufortain, a community in the French Alps that has been coming together to practice rural sustainability since the 17th century. Beaufortain also happens to be the home of ARC2020’s project to build rural resilience in France – “Nos campagnes en résilience”. In this chapter you’ll meet some of the key people involved in this latest venture: coordinator Valérie Geslin, volunteer Jeanine Sochas, and farmer Pierre Gachet.  […]

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Parliament Holds Firm as Council Demands Rejected – for now

Despite a sequence of late night meetings and to-and-fro of proposals covering most of the contentious outstanding areas, the so-called jumbo-trilogues talks have ended without agreement. Parliament and Council failed to reconcile their positions on a number of key areas. The remaining areas include”green architecture” (a number of GAECs, ring-fencing of support for eco-schemes and environmental investments, tracking climate spending, alignment to the Green Deal), internal convergence, the social dimension and coupled income support. So what happened? […]

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UK | Pond Life Revives Hope for On-Farm Wildlife 

Pond restoration yields dramatic results for nature. Seedbanks, dormant for 150 years, spring back to life; rare indigenous plants return within months. Invertebrate populations explode, significant for severely declining freshwater biodiversity. Insect chimneys attract huge numbers of birdlife and twice the species normally seen in the area. Ursula Billington reports on a farmer-inspired project to restore pondlife in Norfolk, UK. […]

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Withdraw The CAP Movement Takes on Timmermans, Trilogues and Parliament Plenary

The Withdraw the CAP movement emerged in recent months to challenge Europe’s biggest policy spend. This initiative of young people, many climate strikers from the Fridays for Future movement, have taken the EU’s top brass to task over the gap between environmental rhetoric and business-as-usual reality. SO what happened at their  meeting last with with Vice-President of the EU Commission Frans Timmermans, of EU Green Deal Fame. Here the group who met him give us the lowdown, and tell us what they are focused on next for withdraw the cap.  […]

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Letter From The Farm | Welcome to Ciasnocha Family Farm

Welcome to Ciasnocha Family Farm – a 730 ha regenerative grassland farm in the Vistula delta of northern Poland. In his first Letter From The Farm, Mateusz Ciasnocha walks us through what’s involved throughout the year on his farm. But first, Mateusz gives us a whistlestop tour of the farm’s history over three generations, from Communism to CAP, and the transition to regenerative agriculture. […]

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Last Week of CAP Negotiations: What’s the Deal?

As the negotiations start to come to a close, this article focuses on the remaining fair and green considerations. We shed light on the state of play in the CAP post 2022 inter-institutional negotiations, particularly in relation to those articles of the CAP Strategic Plan Regulation which are still open to political and technical discussions. So what’s the deal? […]

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Letter From The Farm | Welcome to Mother Earth

Welcome to Mother Earth – Móðir Jörð – an organic farm in Vallanes, East Iceland, where people have lived and farmed since the 12th century. Here, Eygló Björk Ólafsdóttir and Eymundur Magnússon grow grain and vegetables, and cultivate local food culture in their on-farm shop and café.

The couple are in many ways ahead of their time. In the seventies they helped bring back barley at 66°N. In the eighties they got started on planting one million trees on the farm. In the nineties, their farm was one of Iceland’s first to be certified organic. Now, with the season of the midnight sun almost upon us, Eygló shares her first letter from the farm.  […]

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New Genomic Techniques in the EU – on the Road to Deregulation?

The European Commission wants to change legislation for biotechnology. Many in civil society fear an all-out deregulation agenda. ‘We have not announced a deregulation of new genomic techniques,’ the Commission rebuts. ‘But we would look at suitable regulatory oversight with very limited scope.’  Hans Wetzels presents an overview of developments in the regulation of new genomic techniques.  […]

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The True Cost of Britain’s Addiction to Factory-Farmed Chicken

The intensive poultry industry in the UK has expanded in recent decades, becoming more akin to the USA’s mega farms. Investigating how intensive poultry units have multiplied across certain parts of the UK, Alison Caffyn discovered that the poultry industry has taken advantage of weak regulatory and planning regimes to scale up the lucrative business.  […]

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Hidden Formulas and Agri-Media – Can we Find a Fair CAP in Ireland?

With EU CAP trilogue negotiations entering a critical, final phase, the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine has published the results of a modelling analysis on its official website. This analysis, published in April, attempts to estimate the effects of 85% internal convergence of direct payments by 2026. While the results have been used to make strident, fear-mongering statements in the farming press, the methods used to come to these conclusions remain unclear. And the conclusions may in fact be be quite different to what is being reported in the farming press in Ireland. […]

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Pesticide Poisonings – Numbers Revised Upwards Globally

15 times more pesticide poisonings occur annually now than 30 years ago. About 385 million cases of acute unintentional pesticide poisoning occur each year, according to a new systematic review on global pesticide poisoning. This is up from 25 million annually in 1990, the last year such an estimate was made. Here Justice Pesticides outlines key findings of that review, as well as a study on pesticide contamination near intensively managed agricultural areas in South Tyrol, Italy. […]