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What is healthy soil and how do I know if I've got it?

Ben Raskin: If you have ever done any gardening or farming you will have a sense of what a good soil structure is, or perhaps an understanding of a fertile soil, but what do we really mean when we talk about soil HEALTH. Even the professionals don't have a single definition though this one from the FAO is pretty good: "the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain biological productivity, promote the quality of air and water environments, and maintain plant, animal, and human health".

26 January 2016 | 5 Comments | Recommended by 1

Collaborative working?

Rob Haward: Phil Bloomer from Oxfam has urged the organic movement to be more open to build alliances and share views with proponents of other types of farming systems. This must be regarded as sound advice in the face of ever increasing threats on global resources. But the organic movement may face its own problems with this approach – it is a difficult balance to be conciliatory and productive on the one hand, while being critical of poor practice on the other.

05 March 2012 | 9 Comments | Recommended by 25

We’re not really the awkward squad, you know

Helen Browning: When I started farming organically, 25 years ago, I did so for a number of reasons. I was concerned about diminishing wildlife on the farm; and my desire to find a way to keep pigs and poultry in a way I felt respected their right for a good, natural life had already been stimulated whilst doing my degree at Harper Adams, where visits to supposedly ‘state-of-the-art’ farms sometimes left me shocked by their attitude to animal welfare.

24 February 2012 | 5 Comments | Recommended by 4

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