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Labour Pains – are Workers Exploited in Ecological Farming?

Over 100 organisations including trade unions, NGOs, and organisations representing small farmers have signed an open letter highlighting the need for social conditionality in the next CAP. Unsurprisingly the major farming organisations in Europe have not signed the letter. But how are labour standards on smaller farms at the ecological end of the spectrum? The picture isn’t always rosy, as Brendán Ó Conchúir find out, though there are some tentative solutions emerging.  […]

Latest from EU Member States

Letter From The Farm | Between Hotbeds And The Hungary Gap

Meet Matthew Hayes, an organic-biodynamic-biointensive farmer originally from the UK, who has lived and farmed in Hungary for the last 25 years. He runs a market garden with his wife Kata in Zsámbok, a village in Pest county to the east of Budapest. In his first Letter From The Farm, Matthew writes about the struggle between light and darkness, the hung(a)ry gap, and lessons in patience. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Half The Price Of Your Food Is Paid By The EU

We hear again from Czech livestock farmer Josef who is disillusioned with the sector’s refusal to move with the times. He’s found he can do more ecological farming without the red tape of organic certification and senseless inspections. And although income supports were a huge help to him as a new entrant, he would be happy to see direct payments cut for established farmers. […]

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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. […]

Latest from EU Member States

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. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Organic Land Area in Germany Passes 10%

Growth in organics in Germany continues on all fronts, bucking trends in conventional farming and food markets.In Germany, the organic land area has now passed 10%, having grown 50% in the last five years. Where is the growth occurring, and does the market match or exceed the land area? […]

Latest from the ARC network

Stefan Doeblin Talks Organic Seeds

The EU’s rules on certified organic seeds are finally due to change from 2021. Why is this happening, and what is the sector doing to prepare? Stefan Doeblin works in the development of organic seeds. Here Hannes Lorenzen interviews him on this fascinating topic. […]

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Agroecology Europe Forum – Focus on No-Till

There is something of an incongruity between organic and no till approaches to cereal and vegetable production. Both approaches emphasise building soil organic matter. However weed control is difficult in organic, without at least some minor soil disturbance. At a recent Agroecology Europe Forum in Greece, there were some promising signs of progress. […]

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Dig a Little Deeper | Organics, Compost and Carbon

When it comes to carbon storage, a new peer reviewed publication shows the benefits of digging a little deeper. Researchers from University of California, Davis, found that compost is a key to storing carbon in semi-arid cropland soils.  The key to this study is the significant carbon storage benefits found below 30cm. […]