Latest from EU Member States

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. […]

Latest from EU Member States

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. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Ireland | Forty Shades Of Greenwashing? – Part 1

Ireland’s current agri-food strategy places environmental protection and economic competitiveness on an equal footing. But can ambitions for growth be squared with the state’s duty to protect the environment? In the first of a two-part series, Alison Brogan investigates the realities of sustainable growth on the Emerald Isle. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Ireland | Wake Up and Smell the Ammonia

In Ireland, dangerous levels of ammonia emissions are driven largely by the burgeoning cattle population. Yet policymakers are turning a blind eye to the link between ammonia pollution and the expanding national herd. The evidence shows that Ireland is pursuing growth in the agri-food sector at the expense of air quality, biodiversity and human health, reports Alison Brogan. […]

Latest from EU Member States

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.  […]

Main stories

Letter From the Farm – of Seeds and not Reseeding

Madeline McKeever has been farming in west Cork, on the edge of the Atlantic, since 1999. First in dairy and cheese making, then beef, and now mostly selling organic vegetable seeds. Madeline has seen a lot – like the return of mushrooms, white clover, and dozens of plants in her unploughed sward. […]

Latest from EU Member States

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. […]

Latest from EU Member States

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. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Ireland | Remote Work Could Rejuvenate Rural Communities

We don’t know yet what the “new normal” will look like, but we do know that remote work can work – with the right supports. In Ireland, the pull of jobs in the city and abroad has hollowed out rural areas, and young graduates have little incentive to return home after completing their studies in Dublin. Many young graduates from rural areas would jump at the chance to stay put and pursue their careers remotely, rather than facing crippling rents in Dublin, or a crippling commute. Now is the time for a paradigm shift in working life to rejuvenate rural communities, argues Luke Kent. […]

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. […]