Today's News - 16 October 2012
“We need a stable, secure food supply, with a short distance from field to plate. We need to work to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, and cut reduce consumption of meat from livestock few on grain. And we need a decentralised distribution system that's not reliant on a few giant warehouses. That is, not built around a handful of giant, monopolistic supermarkets.”
Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, on Britain’s need to produce more of its own food – The Guardian – 15 October 2012
EU bureaucrats ban antimicrobial advertising to farmers
EU chiefs have banned the advertising of antimicrobials to farmers. The changes to the law will come into force from next year after the European Commission said the UK did not ‘correctly transpose the European directive which prohibits the advertising of certain veterinary medicinal products to the general public’. The ban was welcomed by The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics (Compassion in World Farming, Soil Association and Sustain) called for it to be implemented before next year.
Farmers Guardian (15 Oct)
UK to end direct marketing of antibiotics to farmers
Farming Online (16 Oct)
Find out more about the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics
Read the Alliance’s full position
Guide released to help manage feather loss
AssureWel, a five-year scheme led by the RSPCA, the Soil Association and the University of Bristol, has released a guide to help reduce injurious pecking in free-range, barn and organic laying hens. The four-page booklet identifies the causes of feather loss and suggests prevention and management techniques to get on top of the problem.
Farmers Weekly (16 Oct)
Find out more about the AssureWel project
Parsing of data led to mixed messages on organic food’s value
A team of scientists laboriously reviewed decades of research comparing organic fruits and vegetables with those grown the usual way. They found that, as many had suspected, the organic produce, farmed without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, was more nutritious, with more vitamin C, on average, and many more of the plant-defense molecules that in people help shield against cancer and heart disease. That is probably not the study you heard about.
New York Times (15 Oct)
Read the Soil Association’s comment on the Stanford report
We must accept that Britain cannot rely on world food supplies
New Green Party leader Natalie Bennett writes that, as prices rise, Britain needs a stable, secure food supply, with short distance from field to plate.
The Guardian (15 Oct)
If extreme weather becomes the norm, starvation awaits
George Monbiot writes that, with forecasts currently based on averages, food production may splutter out even sooner than we feared.
The Guardian (15 Oct)
Sunflower and oilseed rape trialled as feed
A family-run business with a strong track record in organic poultry farming is trialling what it calls “an innovative solution” for Welsh farmers to help tackle the pressing global issue of rising grain prices. Haverfordwest- based Capestone Organic is working with experts from advisory body, Organic Centre Wales, to explore the potential for sunflower seeds grown on the farm, to replace soya in organic chicken feed.
Wales Online (16 Oct)
Patterson urges RSPCA to be ‘wary’ over campaigning activity
Defra Secretary Owen Paterson has warned the RSPCA to be ‘wary’ that its political campaigning activities do not compromise its charitable status. The RSPCA is due to stage a joint demonstration with Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) tomorrow (Friday, Oct 12) at Defra’s London headquarters. It will call on the Department not to issue any more licences for live animal transport until all the legislation on journey times and port facilities is enforced.
Farmers Guardian (11 Oct)
Michael Pollan discusses genetically modified food, California’s Prop 37 and more
For the most recent issue of the New York Times magazine, which not coincidentally happened to be the food and drink issue, Michael Pollan wrote a piece about California's Proposition 37, which, if passed, would mandate labeling genetically modified foods. In response to the piece, Pollan participated in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit.
Huffington Post (15 Oct)
Biofuels industry does not deserve to be demonised
Grossly simplifying the issues and creating bogeymen risks crushing desperately needed solutions.
The Guardian (16 Oct)
Apply Day events 2012: Where to go picking
Not to be deterred by the bad weather, apple growers are pushing ahead with their traditional apple days, celebrating all things appley with games, demonstrations and the obligatory lashings of cider. Apple day itself is next Saturday, October 21, but events are planned throughout the month.
The Telegraph (15 Oct)
Gardeners blamed for spreading potato blight
Grow your own enthusiasts and ‘allotment amateurs’ have been blamed for spreading potato blight that is hitting the national crop and pushing up prices.
The Telegraph (15 Oct)
On World Food Day, Anna Hill asks how we may feed a rising world population and talks to Hannah Stoddart of Oxfam about the future of farming. Anna discovers two very different attempts to grow more wheat in Africa - efforts to make GM wheat with nitrogen-fixing ability at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, and a new study that encourages farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to grow certain conventionally-bred varieties and thus unlock the area's underused potential for wheat.
BBC Radio 4, listen again (16 Oct)
And finally…In pictures: The world’s most beautiful trees