Latest from EU Member States

Germany | Surviving Below Sea Level

How does a rural community plan for the future when it is literally living below sea level? In this excerpt from the book “Rural Europe on the Move: A travel guide to transitions”, Hannes Lorenzen shares the story of his home island of Pellworm on Germany’s North Frisian coast, where the community has come together in the face of climate change, rising sea levels, and other threats to its survival. […]

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CAP Strategic Plans: Germany Taking Steps in the Right Direction?

In March 2021, the German Agriculture Ministers’ Conference and the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture agreed on important cornerstones for the country’s CAP Strategic Plan. In his preliminary assessment, Sebastian Lackner shows that while the resolutions have opened the door for a more ambitious CAP in Germany, it remains to be seen whether the federal and state governments will seize the opportunity when they decide on details still to be negotiated. […]

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German Environment Ministry Proposals For CAP Green Architecture

Recommendations published by the German Ministry for the Environment echo fears that the CAP reform might not align with the environmental ambitions of the European Green Deal, and urge that regardless of the outcomes of the negotiations, Germany should use its Strategic Plan to gear the implementation of EU agriculture policy towards environmental needs. Hans Wetzels reports.  […]

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Germany | Traditional Wine-Making Feeling The Heat of Climate Change

Although known for its beer, Germany has a long history of viticulture dating back to the Roman era. Wine markets have always been shaped by changing climate conditions such as the little ice age. The new climate reality is forcing many wine regions in Germany and across Europe to make large-scale adaptations to keep the winemaking tradition alive. Kyle Morrison reports. […]

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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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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. […]

Main stories

Covid19, Meat Processing Plants and the Limits of the Intensive Farming Model

While the exploitation of agri-food sector workers is a longstanding food system issue, the emergence of slaughterhouses across Europe and the US as coronavirus hotspots has brought renewed urgency and heightened awareness to issues relating to the conditions to which meat-plant workers are exposed. Alison Brogan rounds up the Covid19 news on this topic from the US, Ireland and Germany. […]

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Rough Ride for East European Workers in Seasonal Veg

Low cost labour intensive vegetable production has been under strain in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of seasonal workers have moved from east to west –  as they do each year. This year is not, however, a typical year. Covid19 has added new dimensions, while also shining a spotlight on an otherwise hidden army of harvesters. But is harvesting the white gold more valuable than the health of Romanian farm workers? […]

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Effects of Coronavirus on Agricultural Production – a First Approximation (part 2)

Agricultural production is on track for this year, and the EU is self-sufficient in most areas. Despite the challenges of the coronavirus crisis we have little reason to worry about food supply in the EU. This was Sebastian Lakner’s tentative conclusion in part 1 of his review of the available data. But his findings come with some major caveats. Trade in commodities must continue to flow to guarantee food supply in the context of the EU’s interconnected agribusiness model. Here in part 2 Sebastian Lakner examines another critical factor: labour and seasonal migrant workers. […]