30 August 2012
“We have to go to an organic sustainable system or we’ll starve."
Jeremy Grantham, Chief Investment Strategist – The New York Times – 28 August 2012
A Banker Bets on Organic Farming
Jeremy Grantham, Chief Investment Strategist at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. LLC (G.M.O), puts economic teeth into the argument that advocates of truly sustainable food make almost constantly: We are going to be eating sustainable, more-or-less organic and mostly regional food within a couple of generations, and the big question is whether we get to that place willingly or whether we go through a dystopic convulsion first.
The New York Times (28 Aug)
Legal challenge refused over first genetically modified potatoes
A group of campaigners in the Irish Republic has been refused a legal challenge over the first trial of a genetically modified potato crop. Irish Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: "Once you lose your GMO free status there is no going back. We will no longer be able to brand all Irish foods as GMO free and will lose a critical advantage in key export markets.”
BBC Online (28 Aug)
G20 points to ‘worrying’ food prices
The G20 has said the current situation of spiralling corn and soyabean markets and rising wheat prices was “worrying” but held off from calling an emergency meeting to discuss recent price surges, giving time for Washington to update its crop forecasts.
The Financial Times (28 Aug)
Best to get used to high food and energy prices - they're here to stay
Alongside the advent of more extreme weather conditions comes growth in demand from population increase, greater affluence and a switch in many parts of the developing world to more resource-intensive, meat-based diets. The era of the cheap and plentiful may be over, argues Jeremy Warner, but he asks whether that is really such a bad thing?
Daily Telegraph (29 Aug)
Water and food security: where to next? - Live discussion
The Guardian is holding a live discussion on the next steps in addressing the world's water, energy and food challenges. Leading water experts have predicted that if current diets and trends in Western food consumption continue, there will not be enough water on croplands to feed the increased population in 2050. As part of World Water Week, on Thurs 6th Sept academics, scientists, governments, NGOs and businesses will come together to share their insights and ideas on this.
The Guardian (29 Aug)
Going organic affects bees and butterflies
The Soil Association is mentioned in an article on biodiversity in California. The feature describes how ‘a study by The Soil Association compared organic and conventional farming in the United Kingdom and found organic farms had five times the wild plants, lots more birds and 160 percent the arthropods (insects) that the birds eat, including three times non-pest butterflies, one to five times as many spider numbers, and one to two times as many spider species.’
Redlands Daily Facts (27 Aug)
Find out more about the biodiversity benefits of organic farming on the Soil Association website.
Food banks: How food assistance charities keep soup kitchens in stock
With the Trussel Trust reporting two food banks a week now opening across the UK, Paul Creeney speaks to two long-established American food recovery charities - Forgotten Harvest and Open Door Ministry – about the challenge of feeding the hungry.
Of all food wasted, he writes that the largest percentage being ditched in landfill is fresh fruit and vegetables - exactly the type of food that Food Banks and Food Assistance programmes are short of.
The ecologist (29 Aug)
Gardening’s own goal
Organic gardner, John Walker writes that: Clopyralid weed killer is a ticking time bomb – but we could defuse it right now if we learnt from past mistakes.
Hartley Botanic (28 Aug)
The UK's biggest fresh milk processor, Robert Wiseman, says it's changing the way it sets milk prices. It wants to introduce a more transparent system and rebuild trust along the supply chain. The company's announced it will work with farmers to develop a new formula for calculating how much milk is worth, rather than simply putting a price on the table. Also, with nearly 300 community owned village shops and thousands of community food enterprises, the Plunkett foundation tells Farming Today why it believes smaller co-ops are becoming increasingly popular.
BBC Radio4 (30 Aug), Listen Again