Main stories

Down to the Ground – Green Medicine for the People!

Health is a human right, not a privilege. Herbalists Without Borders work to deliver health justice to displaced and disadvantaged people via the powerful medium of herbs. Through valuing indigenous healing wisdom, producing medicine from plants gives vulnerable people a renewed sense of control over their environment and personal health. Herbalism also fosters a renewed connection to the landscape from which everyone can benefit. Ursula Billington has more. […]

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Letter From The Farm | The Slower Path To Paradigm Change

We’re back on Chiara Garini’s farm at the foot of the Italian Alps. After her ambitious plans to open an on-farm restaurant, Chiara reflects on the benefits of taking the slower path to paradigm change. Paradoxically this setback serves well her overall vision of agri-food systems as the farm continues to reap the benefits of diversification. Meanwhile in local politics, divisive narratives around farming have led to a disappointing development, leaving Chiara more convinced than ever that agroecology is the way forward.   […]

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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. […]

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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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Letter From The Farm | Thriving In The Ford

We’re back on Chiara’s mushroom farm at the foot of the Italian Alps, where forest farm life goes on regardless of the lockdown. She is determined to get her on-farm processing facility up and running for this season. During the Covid-19 crisis she’s been even more socially isolated than usual, giving her time to muse on the deeper meanings of the “ford”: the site of her farm, but also a metaphor for agroforesty and agroecology. […]

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Coping with Covid – Struggles and Resilience of Small-Scale Cheesemakers in Italy

For Raflazz farm resilience is a way of life. The Adami family has been making artisanal cheese for generations here in the hills of Piedmont. When Italy shut down its restaurants on March 9, the farm had nowhere to sell its cheeses and meat. In another brutal blow, receipts from the farmhouse restaurant and B&B disappeared overnight. Raflazz is adapting fast, but like many small-scale farms it will need life support to survive the lockdown. Emanuele Amo reports from Piedmont. […]

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Book Extract | Of Seeds and Land Seizures in Sicily

Platforming the dynamic ways rural Europe has responded the key challenges of this time, the new book by Forum Synergies is a call to get stuck in. Read the final chapter on how Sicilian youth have organised access to land for young people, how to confront political uncertainty, why to pay attention to seeds and the value of an experimental spirit. […]

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Rural dialogues – Let’s talk!

Introducing our next debate series – rural dialogues. What is the state of play for rural Europe? Are rural places still lagging behind – forgotten, disadvantaged and in need of extra supports? Or is there a rural renaissance of sorts occurring, from smart villages to innovation hubs? Tell us what you know and let’s get talking! […]