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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. […]

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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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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. […]

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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. […]

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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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Alan Matthews on the Current CAP process in Ireland

In this second of a two part series with Alan Matthews, we discuss his home country of Ireland and CAP. Oliver Moore speaks with Matthews on Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions; its increasing herd size, in particular in dairy; the success of the European Innovation Partnerships; the role of coops; issues facing the beef sector; diversification and more.   […]

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Rural Dialogues | Not Necessarily Money – farm renewal and (inter)generational considerations

How do farms pass on between the generations in a way that respects the needs of older and younger people? Share Conway and colleagues argue for an approach that allows older farmers to maintain and sustain normal day to day activity and behaviour on their farms in later life, whilst also ‘releasing the reins’ to allow for the necessary delegation of managerial responsibilities and ownership of the family farm to their successors. […]

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Rural Dialogues | Stochastic System Collapse Part 2 – the Social and Solidarity Economy Alternative

In part one, we outlined just how bad the situation is regarding climate and biodiversity collapse, as well as the people-driven responses to this  – from extinction rebellion to the school strikes. Beyond these alarm-raising direct action initiatives, what is there out there to become the system change that’s so clearly needed? Here in part 2 we introduce the social and solidarity economy, and the interesting lessons we can learn from separatist movements from the past and present, from Quebec to Ireland. […]

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Ireland | Beef Plan Movement Steps up Protest

On Wednesday the 10th of July an estimated 2,500 farmers took to the streets of Dublin to protest against the proposed Mercosur deal. The protest was organised by Beef Plan, a voluntary not for profit organisation set up in October 2018 by a small group of farmers from Meath (in Ireland’s centre-east). Since then, its membership has grown to over 20,000. So who are they and what do they want?  […]