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EU Organic Action Plan – Decoding Texts of Supposed Support

The European Parliament recently proclaimed its support for organic farming and food, by an overwhelming majority. However, delving into the details a little, it turns out that our MEPs could be accused of offering pie in the sky – salvation via organic farming’s great sustainability performance some time in the future, provided no real significant changes are made in the here and now. Here we critically assess the language used line by line, to help decode the more hidden  motivations behind the eurospeak.  […]

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All Hot Air? An Organic Action Plan without Farm to Fork Targets

The European Parliament voted this month to endorse the EU Action Plan for Organic Agriculture. The adopted action plan garnered 611 votes to 14, with five abstentions. What is missing however is any specific mention of the Farm to Fork target of shifting 25% of agriculture to organic. So, where’s the action in this action plan? Or is it all just hot air? Ashely Parsons has more.  […]

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Letter From The Farm | Investing In The Future

We’re back on Zsámboki Biokert organic market garden in Hungary, where Matthew and Kata Hayes and the team are taking time to plan for the year ahead. January was a time to reflect on the year gone by, and the conscious effort that the farm is making to invest in the next generation, and to encourage young people to think about our food systems. In these uncertain times for micro-scale farmers, and for farming in general, Covid has driven home the need to build and maintain community and common values, writes Matthew.  […]

Main stories

Flood Protection – Let’s Start with Soil

Increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including flooding, are unfolding in real time as climate change intensifies. Here, soil expert Dr. Andrea Beste delves deep into soil, and, in particular soil compaction and its role in flooding. While CAP and EU Directives have done little to help improve our soils and reduce flooding, there are, in organic farming, techniques to help get the best from our soils.  […]

Latest from key partners

Seeds For Hope On Pellworm Island

Seeds for hope were sown this summer at the Seeds4all seminar, when cereal farmers and breeders from several countries gathered on the island of Pellworm in July to discuss the future of local organic seed production. Off the German coast in the North Sea, Pellworm faces its own challenges as an island below sea level. In this weirdly rainy and burning summer, it was a fitting location for talk of sustainability and resilience. Report by Seeds4all. […]

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Organics, Agroforestry, Eco-schemes – for a Just Transition in Ireland

ARC2020’s Oliver Moore spoke to JOCECA – the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action – a Committee in the Irish Parliament. This comes just as the CAP trilogues start to finish, and as the Irish Parliament (Dáil) approves an ambitious Climate Bill which aims for 50% reduction in emissions by 2030. Below is a transcript of what he said. A longer version of an accompanying paper is also in the article.   […]

Main stories

A Soil Scientist’s Perspective – Carbon Farming, CO2 Certification & Carbon Sequestration in Soil

Carbon farming is a new buzz word, hotly debated in the EU Commission, in European Ministries and Chambers of Agriculture, and the subject of numerous projects and movements. It is in fact proposed as an ecoscheme by the Commission.  So far, however, there is no binding definition of “carbon farming” and there seem to be many different understandings of the term. What most approaches have in common is the objective of storing carbon in the soil in some way. Soil Scientist Dr. Andrea Beste unpacks some important points for this contested approach to soil and land management. […]

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MFF – Increased EU Budget for Biodiversity and More

Biodiversity, organic farming, young farmers and other areas received a welcome financial boost from the EU institutions on Tuesday (10th November).  The European Parliament’s negotiating team and the German Presidency of the Council reached agreement on the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s budget for 2021 – 2027.  […]

Latest from EU Member States

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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Winning the Battle with the Agri-Giant Next Door

Czech organic farmer Libor KoĹľnar has won his yearlong battle with Agrofert, the agribusiness empire operating next to his small holding. He lost the organic certification for his wheat due to fertiliser drift from an Agrofert sprayer. Agrofert is a multimillion euro conglomerate with ties to the Czech prime minister, currently under investigation in a conflict of interest case by the European Commission. […]

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France Sees World’s Biggest Increase in Organic Land Area

The organic market in France was worth E 9.1 billion in 2018, according to “The World of Organic Agriculture 2020” which comes out every February. Organic land area in France grew by 16.7% in 2018 – a huge increase for a single year. This growth of 290,000 hectares brings France to 2.04 million hectares, now second only to Spain in Europe, and the sixth highest land area farmed organically in the world. […]