Organic

Spot the difference: Monsanto's new 'Glyphosate-free' Roundup product, now on sale in Germany, and a bottle of vinegar. Photo: Dr Helmut Burtscher / GMWatch.

Monsanto's new 'glyphosate-free' Roundup is vinegar!

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 8th May 2017
Has Monsanto, dubbed the 'world's most evil corporation', turned a new leaf? It has taken the 'probably carcinogenic' glyphosate out of a new version of its market leading 'Roundup' herbicide, and replaced it with vinegar. The bad news is it's only available in Austria. That, and it may still contain toxic 'adjuvants' to increase its effectiveness.

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The rich, deep color of this soil and high organic content shows exactly what healthy soil looks like. A diverse blend of crops, grasses, and cover crops creates a protective blanket that feeds and nurtures the soil. Photo: USDA-NRCS photo by Catherine Ul

How to feed the world? The answer lies in healthy soils

David R. Montgomery
University of Washington
| 7th April 2017
There's only one real faultline in farming, writes David R. Montgomery, and it's not the one between organic and 'conventional'. What really matters is whether farming systems are building, improving and nurturing soils - or exploiting them for short term gain. And if we want to keep humans well fed and healthy for the long term, there's only one choice to make.

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Organic beetroot grown at Sandy lane Farm, Oxfordshire: good for you, the farmer, wildlife and the wider environment. Photo: Sandy lane Farm via Facebook.

We need more organic farming!

Peter Melchett
Soil Association
| 23rd March 2017
A new study sets out the huge benefits of organic farming to people and the environment, writes Peter Melchett, including more wildlife, healthier consumers and farm workers, lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced soil erosion and increased water retention. We need more of it, fast!

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Suffolk farmland at dusk. Photo: Jimmy - S via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Dark days ahead for British agriculture? Or green shoots of a brighter future?

Keith Tyrell
PAN UK
| 25th August 2016
With Brexit the UK will have to chose between two visions of our farming future, writes Keith Tyrell. Will it be heavily subsidised corporate agribusiness that ravages both nature and small, high quality farmers. Or will we seize the chance to build a sustainable food and farming system that supports wildlife, landscape, family farms, organic production and diverse rural economies?

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Ruth & Alex at the Steepholding, Greenham Reach. Photo: Walter Lewis.

Feeding body and soul - an exploration of Britain's new age landworkers

Walter Lewis
| 12th May 2016
For most of 2015 Walter Lewis travelled around England and Wales meeting and photographing people producing food outside the confines of mainstream agriculture - working out of a passion for the earth and the Earth rather than for commercial gain. He completed his exploration inspired, and determined to spread word of quiet revolution under way across the fields of Britain.

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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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Organic carrots on a New England farm, USA. Photo: Sandor Weisz via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Organic agriculture, agroecology and the parallel reality of the GMO evangelist

Colin Todhunter
| 21st March 2016
GMO enthusiasts insist that organic, agroecological farming could never feed the world, writes Colin Todhunter. But it has been feeding us all for millennia - and it's the only way to continue while enriching the soils and biodiversity on which all farming depends. As Mahatma Gandhi once observed, industrial agriculture is but a nine-day wonder. And its time will soon be up.

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For some decades to come, old and new energy systems will have to maintain an uneasy coexistence - as at Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, California. Photo: Kevin Dooley via Flickr (CC BY).

The transition to 100% renewable energy: because we have no choice

Richard Heinberg
| 18th March 2016
It will take decades to completely leave fossil fuels, writes Richard Heinberg. But we can do it, starting with the easy stuff: going big time for wind and solar, raising energy efficiency, replacing oil-fuelled vehicles, and moving to organic farming. But deeper changes will follow as we transition to a more enduring sustainability - consuming better, and much less.

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Golden rice is an example of GM which has failed to deliver what has been promised. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA)

The demise of GM and the new future of food

Peter Melchett
| 8th March 2016
BASF are to halve their GM research and development and reduce the time spent on developing these technologies, writes Peter Melchett. Given the many problems that GM agriculture is facing, and that new non-GE technologies offer such valuable benefits as increased crop yields, does BASF's announcement spell the beginning of the end of GM crops?

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Good for the environment, and good for you too: organic vegetable boxes ready to go at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Organic food is well worth paying for - for your health as well as nature

Peter Melchett
Soil Association
| 4th March 2016
The way food is produced has a profound impact on its nutritional profile, according to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Not only is organic farming better for animal welfare, the environment and wildlife, writes Peter Melchett, but organic meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables all have tangible health benefits for the people who eat them.

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"Only by organic farming in harmony with nature, can India sustainably provide abundant wholesome food and meet the basic need of all – to live in health, dignity and peace." Portrait of Bhaskar Save. Photo: www.thankindia.org/.

Bhaskar Save: the 'Green Revolution' ruined India; agroecology can restore her

Colin Todhunter
| 12th January 2016
Bhaskar Save, the 'Gandhi of natural farming', died last year after a lifetime of organic growing and determined campaigning against the destruction of India's traditional, sustainable agriculture, writes Colin Todhunter. His 2006 open letter, published here, sets out a devastating critique of industrial agriculture and its impacts, and an eloquent and timely agroecological manifesto.

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Soil is where our food comes from - so why don't we look after it as well as organic farmers? Photo: Soil Association.

It's time to celebrate and protect the soils that feed us!

Peter Melchett
| 4th December 2015
Almost all our food is grown in soil, writes Peter Melchett. Yet we are treating it like dirt: spraying it with toxic chemicals, depleting vital nutrients, and releasing its carbon to add to climate change. With World Soils Day coming up tomorrow, let's change our ways - and renew our commitment to organic food and farming.

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Jairo Restrepo among the wild flowers of Spain. Photo: JuanFran Lopez.

Defending life! Jairo Restrepo, organic revolutionary

JuanFran Lopez
Ragmans Lane Farm
| 27th July 2015
Jairo Restrepo is a leading champion of organic farming in Brazil, writes JuanFran Lopez, and now his influence has spread across the world. His mission too has expanded to include campaigning for the rights of small scale farmers, and an even wider project of economic, technological and societal transformation to put people at the centre of political power.

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Lettuce on an Organic Farm in Havana, Cuba. Photo: David Schroeder via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Cuba's warming relations with the US may undermine its agroecological city farms

Julia Wright
Emily Morris
| 27th June 2015
Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country's agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country's fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness?

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