agroecology

Traditional agriculture on a farm in Cuba, where organic and agroecological farming now produce most of the nation's food. Photo: Tach_RedGold&Green via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Agroecology versus 'climate smart' - our next big challenge from COP22

Natalie Bennett
| 30th November 2016
How to make farming 'climate friendly' was one of the hot topics at COP22 in Marrakesh, writes Natalie Bennett, with two contrasting models on show: 'climate smart' agriculture, with its reliance on industrial farming systems; and agroecology, which works with nature to build fertile, high-carbon, moisture-retaining soils, and sustain employment for millions of skilled land workers.

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Bt GMO crops are designed to combat pests like the Helicoverpa armigera moth, which causes A$25 million of damage a year in Australia alone to crops such as cotton, legumes and vegetables. But there is a cost: damage to beneficial soil fungi. Photo: CSIRO

Vital soil fungi damaged by GMO Bt cotton

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji
| 24th November 2016
A study of GMO cotton varieties shows they disrupt an important beneficial soil fungus, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji, apparently due to the Bt insecticide they are engineered to express. Disruption caused by the transgenic cotton to mycorrhizal fungi, and the wider soil ecosystem, may underlie the low yields and poor pest resistance now endemic among Bt GM crops.

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Permaculture 'inventor' Bill Mollison, who died this weekend. Photo: Permaculture Association / Magazine.

Peaceful warrior: Permaculture visionary Bill Mollison

Permaculture Association
Magazine
| 26th September 2016
Australian educator, author and co-inventor of Permaculture, Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison, died on the 24 September 2016 in Sisters Creek, Tasmania. He has been praised across the world for his visionary work, and left behind a global network of 'peaceful warriors' in over 100 countries working tirelessly to fulfill his ambition to build harmony between humanity and Mother Earth.

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'Resistance is Fertile - Compost Capitalism !' Banner at Occupy Oakland protest against GMOs, 10th December 2011. Photo: Lily Rhoads via Flickr (CC BY).

Monsanto and Bayer: food and agriculture just took a turn for the worse

Colin Todhunter
| 16th September 2016
Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive.

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Farmers on the storm ... Madhya Pradesh, 31st July 2013. Photo: Rajarshi MITRA via Flickr (CC BY).

Militarism and Monsanto or Gandhi and Bhaskar Save? The agroecology alternative

Colin Todhunter
| 9th May 2016
The corporate war on traditional farming is nowhere fiercer than in India, writes Colin Todhunter. After decades of the 'Green Revolution' that have impoverished the nation's soils, water, biodiversity and cultivators alike, agribusiness is poised for its final strike. But now the small scale farmers who produce most of the country's food are rediscovering ancient agroecological alternatives.

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First know the land. Countryside near Welwyn, England. Photo: Greg Knapp via Flickr (CC BY)

Farmers would do better to understand the land than grow GM crops

Julia Wright
Coventry University
| 11th April 2016
GMO crops are marketed as providing quick fixes to complex problems, writes Julia Wright. But they only perpetuate 'business as usual' farming that's depleting soils, water and biodiversity, and entrench unsustainable models of agriculture in place of agroecological systems that work with, not against, nature.

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Vegetable stall in the Old Havana market, Cuba. Photo: Guillaume Baviere via Flickr (CC BY).

Cuba's sustainable agriculture at risk in US diplomatic thaw

Miguel Altieri
University of California
Berkeley
| 1st April 2016
Among Cuba's greatest achievements is its organic farming sector, writes Miguel Altieri. Developed in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union, small agroecological farms now employ 300,000 campesinos and provide an abundance of healthy fruit and vegetables. But now US food and agribusiness corporations are eyeing up a multi-billion dollar business opportunity.

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Participatory barley breeding in India. Photo: Salvatore Ceccarelli .

Harnessing the power of evolution in participatory seed breeding

Salvatore Ceccarelli
Independent Science News
| 29th February 2016
Conventional agriculture has made an enemy of evolution as pests and diseases develop resistance to biocides and over-bred hybrids succumb to them, writes Salvatore Ceccarelli. But there is another way - for farmers to participate in breeding seed lines that are continuously adapting to their environment, with ever improving yields, flavour, pest-resistance, and other sought-after qualities.

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Drax power station in Yorskshire, England, was to host the UK's examplar of BECCS in its White Rose project, with a planned CCS add-on. In a rare moment of santity, the UK government has pulled the funding. Photo: Ian Britton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

COP21's climate technofix: spinning carbon into gold and the myth of 'negative emissions'

Rachel Smolker
| 3rd December 2015
Paris has been awash with hype about 'CO2 recycling' and 'carbon neutral' or even 'carbon negative' technologies based on burning millions of trees, writes Rachel Smolker. But the alchemical notion that waste carbon can be spun into corporate gold is hitting serious reality checks. It's time to ditch the fantasies and progress the real solutions: like caring for land, soils, forests and grasslands.

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