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Armchair farming...

Marianne Landzettel: ... is not a synonym for a journalist writing about agriculture. An organic farmer I recently met coined the phrase. Jim Dufosee raises sheep and beef cattle in Wiltshire and grows feed. When he switched to organic it wasn’t necessarily because he was one of the converted. Back then there were financial incentives to do so. "Today I just know I’m doing the right thing", he says, and he wouldn’t go back to conventional farming even if they paid him.

26 March 2014 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 7

You are saving our wild bees - the unsung heroes of our countryside

Louise Payton: It has been all over the news - the dramatic decline in our bees. The most attention has been centred on our honeybees, and they are indeed faring badly with a third of bee colonies lost by British beekeepers last winter (2012/2013). But our wild bees are in deep trouble too.

05 March 2014 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 5

You are helping to save the colour in our countryside

Louise Payton: Our countryside has changed colour in the past century. Now mostly green or perhaps yellow with rapeseed (and more recently brown with flood water), it used to be a profusion of reds, blues, whites, yellows and purples when wildflowers bloomed in all their splendour. Agricultural intensification has been the reason for this change in palette - 97% of our wildflower meadows have been converted, weed-killers have obliterated the huge variety of wild plants (weeds) that insects and farmland birds depend on, and mixed cropping (used to control insect pests and break-up disease cycles), have been replaced with inorganic fertilisers and repetitive monocultures.

21 February 2014 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 6

You are helping to save our skylarks

Louise Payton: Skylarks are an iconic British species - they are the very voice of British Spring and their song was once commonplace in our countryside. During the World War I they were one of the most powerful symbols of hope for British Soldiers, as they soared and sung above the trenches, reminding troops so clearly of home. But we face losing our iconic species - in recent decades with the advent of intensive farming systems, we have seen the decline of skylarks in their millions.

14 February 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

The old problem and the new "terrorism"

Lynda Brown: The week has started with a headline story about the Chief Medical Officer’s chilling warning that antibiotic usage and bug resistance to them was now so serious that in 10-20 years time, we could be back to the stone age: due to the risk of infection every visit to a hospital could potentially be fatal, and simple and complex operations, including those for organic transplants and cancer could be futile.

11 March 2013 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 4

The future of our food

Catherine Fookes: It’s hard not to notice that our food prices have shot up, and while we might not be going hungry just yet, what’s the bet that a lot of us are starting the New Year slightly more cash strapped than last, armed with ways of feeding ourselves on a budget, planning imaginative meals with leftovers and generally cutting back on dining out. The increase in food prices is just the tip of the iceberg for what’s increasingly becoming a worldwide issue of food security. Launched this week, the Enough Food for Everyone, IF campaign, is tackling world hunger head on with a hard hitting celebrity backed campaign supported by industry and charitable organisations - the latest in a string of initiatives to tackle this issue.

25 January 2013 | 654 Comments | Recommended by 9

Forty nine giga tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – sounds quite a lot to me

Rob Haward: Conversion of all of the world’s agricultural land to organic could reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 49 giga tonnes/year, delaying climate change by 4 to 5 years. The research presented by Urs Niggli at the conference, a professor at one of Europe’s leading research organisations, showed that in a 16 year trial organic farming offered the potential to sequester 2.4 tonnes of CO2e per year more carbon than an equivalent non organic farm. The benefits were most marked in horticultural holdings but were demonstrable in every farm type.

09 February 2011 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 4

Worm man

Tim Young: A short film about Uprendra Kumar Mohanta, an Indian farmer who's using worm compost to bring life back into his soil.

01 February 2011 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 3

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