Main stories

Farming with Benefits – Building Soil and Community

“Am I really prepared to poison the kids?” wondered American wheat farmer Klaas Martens, after an injury that he suspects was caused by herbicides. He has since converted the whole farm to organic. These days, he pays attention to the story his ‘weeds’ tell him, nurturing the community of organisms in his soil – and building community knowledge among farmers. Excerpt from a book by Marianne Landzettel. […]

Main stories

UK | Hemp – Overgrowing the Regime part 1

Hemp is an ‘ecological wonder plant’ with almost endless potential as a sustainable raw fibre material, not to mention its intriguing nutrient profile and therapeutic benefits. It can even decontaminate radioactive soil. Yet in many jurisdictions, hemp production is hampered by baffling constraints. Where UK farming policy appears to bypass common sense, growers are taking the law into their own hands. […]

Latest from EU Member States

Position Paper on Soil Carbon Sequestration and its Possible Remuneration through CO2 Certificates

More than 30 organisations and individuals active in the fields of nature conservation, environmental protection, agriculture and science have collectively spoken out against the use of CO2 emissions certificates as a tool for preserving and building humus in soil. In a position paper on soil carbon sequestration, the broad alliance rejects the compensation of greenhouse gas emissions through CO2 emissions certificates. […]

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 the ARC network

Farming Bounded By Our Biological Boundaries – Part 3

It’s tempting to blame burping cows for methane emissions. But while nature cannot distinguish between naturally occurring methane and methane derived from fossil fuels and anthropological activity, humans can – and should. Methane has a role to play in sustainable farming. We cannot let the debate around methane emissions cloud the broader benefits of farming with ruminants, argues Stuart Meikle in part three of this series. […]

Latest from the ARC network

Farming Bounded By Our Biological Boundaries – Part 2

Despite the climate change mitigation emphasis on carbon sequestration, building soil carbon is first about food security, second about atmospheric carbon drawdown. By working with nature’s natural cycles to provide nutritious food with a low environmental footprint, Regenerative Agriculture will provide the transition from fossil-fuelled agro-chemistry to utilizing the farm’s natural resources, argues Stuart Meikle in the second part of this series. […]

Latest from the ARC network

Farming Bounded By Our Biological Boundaries – Part 1

Few people realize how their food comfort zone is shrinking. Where we are now is the starting point for an ecologically and biologically-based agricultural revolution. And it starts with the soil. We must adopt an ecosystem approach to identify sustainable food systems that can exist within our planet’s boundaries, argues Stuart Meikle in the first of a four-part series.  […]

Latest from the ARC network

Carbon Starvation – A Crisis Of Our Time?

Are we beginning to see carbon – the fundamental building block of all life – as a pollutant? Instead of demonising carbon as a cause of climate breakdown, we need to restore balance in the natural carbon cycle that has been disrupted by the use of artificial fertilisers. In advance of his upcoming series on farming within planetary boundaries, Stuart Meikle offers a primer on the complex role of carbon in our soils.  […]

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. […]

Main stories

UK | Waking Up To The Power Of Mushrooms

Interest is mushrooming in the power of fungi to feed and heal people and the planet. On one urban farm in Bristol, England, mushrooms upcycled from wood chip are building topsoil as well as feeding the local eaters. Meanwhile another nearby mushroom growing initiative is giving wealthy landowners an incentive to preserve their woodland. Ursula Billington reports. […]

Latest from Brussels

The Common Agriculture Policy and Sustainable Farming: A statement by scientists (December 2020)

40 scientific experts have come together today to release a paper on the role CAP plays in trying to make farming sustainable. Below we republish the summary of this paper, and provide a link to download the paper in full. Led by Guy Pe’er, and including our own Matteo Metta, the paper is critical of both the initial CAP proposal by the Commission from 2018, and more critical again of the positions taken by the Council and Parliament in October 2020. Important reading in the current trilogue context. […]