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UK | Hemp – Overgrowing the Regime part 2

For many growers it’s a plant with huge potential. For many policymakers it’s a dangerous drug. Despite a lack of tools, knowledge, infrastructure and support, woefully few routes to market, and suffocating restrictions on production and use of the crop, meet the British hemp growers who are ploughing ahead. Now a campaign of civil disobedience hopes to provoke policymakers to rethink regulations. Story by Ursula Billington. Second in a two-part series. […]

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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. […]

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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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Oxford Real Farming Conference 2022 | Plenty To Chew On!

The New Year gets off to an exciting start with the Oxford Real Farming Conference on January 5th-7th 2022. Back online this year, the conference has added social justice strings to its bow with new partners that focus on land rights and  equality. As well as the traditional menu of sessions on sustainable farming practices and policy, food sovereignty and supply chains, the event will bring in indigenous perspectives from around the globe. Ursula Billington reports on what not to miss. […]

Latest from the ARC network

UK | Supply Chains No Longer Fit For Purpose

Farmers in England and Wales want to move away from centralised supply chains where they say they have little influence over prices, not enough connection to consumers, and are not rewarded for delivering positive climate and nature outcomes. This is according to the findings of Sustain in its report ‘Beyond the Farmgate’ which lays out the results of a new survey of 500 English and Welsh farmers. […]

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Bristol Bites Back | Fruits & Roots of Radical Resilience in South-West England

A new e-book published by ARC2020 documents one community’s inspiring response to the COVID-19 crisis. An antidote to the doom and gloom, “Bristol Bites Back: Fruits & Roots of Radical Resilience in South-West England” is tangible, practical proof that ecosystem-based approaches to food, farming and sustainability do indeed bear fruit for their patient protagonists – in some cases after decades of going against the grain of a productivist mindset. […]

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UK | Pond Life Revives Hope for On-Farm Wildlife 

Pond restoration yields dramatic results for nature. Seedbanks, dormant for 150 years, spring back to life; rare indigenous plants return within months. Invertebrate populations explode, significant for severely declining freshwater biodiversity. Insect chimneys attract huge numbers of birdlife and twice the species normally seen in the area. Ursula Billington reports on a farmer-inspired project to restore pondlife in Norfolk, UK. […]

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The True Cost of Britain’s Addiction to Factory-Farmed Chicken

The intensive poultry industry in the UK has expanded in recent decades, becoming more akin to the USA’s mega farms. Investigating how intensive poultry units have multiplied across certain parts of the UK, Alison Caffyn discovered that the poultry industry has taken advantage of weak regulatory and planning regimes to scale up the lucrative business.  […]