Today's News - 16 April 2012
"The loss of soil resources through urbanisation and the conversion of our landscape is one of the major environmental challenges Europe is facing. There is an urgent need to use this valuable resource more wisely, in order to secure its many vital services for future generations. We simply cannot pave over our chances for a sustainable future."
Janez Potočnik, Environment Commissioner - Farming Online - 13 April 2012
What is sustainable agriculture?
‘Sustainable agriculture’ is a term favoured by politicians and industry experts alike. But what does it actually mean and how are UK producers supposed to become more sustainable? The Soil Association’s Emma Hockridge argues that organic farming techniques have a significant role to play in the movement towards to climate-friendly food production.
Farmers Weekly (16 Apr)
Represent the West
Their hip-hop ad made it cool to be rural, they bigged up their chest and represented the West – and now organic local dairy Yeo Valley has become the latest brand to join the Soil Association’s Ethical Trade scheme.
Clifton Life (1 Apr, p. 69)
Read the full story here.
Find out more about the Ethical Trade scheme.
EU Commission publishes guidelines to save soils
Soil sealing, where impenetrable material covers an area of land, is one of the principal causes of soil degradation in the EU. The European Commission has this week drawn up guidelines on best practice to limit, mitigate and compensate for soil sealing.
Farming Online (13 Apr)
Organic farming laws to be evaluated
The European Commission has launched a call for tenders for an evaluation of the EU organic farming framework, which will examine its relevance and effectiveness.
Farmers Guardian (16 Apr)
Organic farmers hope for boost with rivals’ labels
Organic farmers in the US say they stand to benefit from better informed consumers who may reject genetically modified products and instead choose organic. Consumer demand for labelling is rising and producers will have little choice but to comply, said one organic farmer.
Associated Press (16 Apr)
Top 10…organic seed suppliers
As the weather heats up, gardeners’ thoughts are turning towards seeds. The Ecologist, with the help of our Head of Horticulture Ben Raskin, round up the top spots to pick up organic, ethically produced seeds.
The Ecologist (13 Apr)
AP women call for total Bt Cotton ban
Marking the global anti-GMO Week, over 500 women from the Deccan Development Society — communities from the mandals of Zaheerabad, Jharasangam, Raikode and Nyalkal — took out a procession at Zaheerabad against the government’s inaction on the spread of Bt cotton in Medak. The women believe that Bt cotton is not only environmentally unsafe but is also wreaking havoc on farm economies.
Deccan Herald (14 Apr)
EU moves towards new cloning laws
The EU has begun the process of drawing up new rules governing the cloning of farm animals. The European Commission has drawn up five possible policy options, which represent a range of viewpoints.
Farming Online (13 Apr)
Morrisons to employ more in-field experts
Morrisons is set to double the number of people it employs out in the field, such as agronomists and producer experts. A spokesman said they hope this would improve the companies sourcing and quality of their food.
The Grocer (7 Apr, p.32)
Wildlife and farming disaster warning as drought spreads across England
Most of England is now in drought and the dry spell could last beyond Christmas, the Environment Agency will announce on Monday, as government officials started planning for a long-term water shortage that could be disastrous for wildlife, the landscape and farming.
The Guardian (16 Apr)
Potato weed control in drier conditions
Despite continuing dry weather, potato growers still need to control weeds effectively in order to get the crop off to a strong start and some are electing to use more traditional herbicides which they have found offer a better chance of performing under dry conditions
Farming UK (13 Apr)
The world’s most advanced supermarket?
Waitrose opened the world’s first biomass trigeneration energy centre at its East Cowes branch. The 3.5m plant converts wood from the island’s sustainably managed forests and converts it into electricity, heat and cooling for the supermarket. It is said to cut the energy bill of the branch by 25%.
The Grocer (7 Apr, pp.44-45)
A drought warning for South West England and the Midlands as the dry weather continues to affect wildlife and farmers. And on the River Kennet a river keeper describes the damage to wildlife that the dry weather is causing. And British tomatoes are reaching the supermarket shelves early this year.
BBC Radio 4, listen again (16 Apr)
And finally…can art be environmentally friendly?
It's true; the visual arts do not always produce the prettiest of pictures. There are lashings of toxic pigments, solvents, petrochemicals, formaldehyde and other ecologically destructive preservatives thrown into the mix of a working studio but can things change?
The Guardian (15 Apr)