Organic News - 29 April

Organic News - 29 April



Chinese rural youth facing obesity crisis

A study in Shandong province has found that 17% of boys and 9% of girls under the age of 19 were obese in 2014, an astounding increase since 1985, where obesity rates hovered at 1% for both boys and girls. Major changes in diet and lifestyle are to blame in a nation that has undergone rapid socioeconomic change in recent years.

BBC News (27 April 2016)




Better management of Tanzanian forests recognised

Jasper Makala, the director of Tanzania’s Mpingo Conservation & Development Initiative (MCDI), has been shortlisted for the prestigious Whitley Award for his work in sustainable forestry.  The MCDI’s Participatory Forest Management Scheme, which is certified by Soil Association to FSC® standards, aims to combat deforestation by giving communities ownership of the forest.  They supervise forest management and assist with legal processes whilst local committees decide how timber profits are used to improve village livelihoods and well-being.

TimberWEB (26 April 2016)

Update: The Soil Association is thrilled to announce Jasper Makala won the Whitley Award at a ceremony in London on 27 April. See a photo of Makala receiving the award from HRH The Princess Royal here


Can we put a value on trees?

According to scientists, interacting with the colour green in nature can reduce stress. Cities with more trees in them have been found to have lower air temperatures and air pollution levels, which has resulted in fewer incidences of respiratory diseases. A company in Texas is trying to put a monetary value on these urban trees, but is it possible to quantify their benefits?

The Guardian (27 April 2016)




Goldhill Organics shortlisted for ‘Organic Oscars’

A Dorset veg box scheme has been shortlisted for the Soil Association’s BOOM awards, recognising Britain’s best producers of organic food and drink. Owner Jane Somper is proud her vegetables have been recognised, putting Dorset on the national food map. The Cross family, who own Goldhill Organic Farm, have been farming in North Dorset for over 25 years.

Dorset Echo (26 April 2016)

Find out more about the BOOM Awards here




Alternative potato varieties can fight the blight

An Innovative Farmers field lab has shown that heritage potato varieties are more blight resilient and have good yield, as well as passing a ‘taste’ test. Given the number of blight resistant potatoes that already exist, Ben Raskin head of horticulture at the Soil Association, believes there is no need to develop new GM versions. These field labs are a great way to ensure the progression of research into existing products and techniques, which often has little commercial incentive.

Permaculture Online (26 April 2016)

Farming Online (26 April 2016)

Learn more about Innovative Farmers here




Half a degree Celsius – small increase with a big impact

New analysis has found that a temperature rise of 2 degrees, rather than 1.5 degrees, could have serious consequences.  This 0.5 degree rise could cause longer dry spells, a rise in sea levels by 10cm, impacts on water availability and crop yields and continued coral reef degradation with resulting effects on fish stocks. The Global Climate Change Deal agreed in Paris pledged to keep the increase of the average global temperature to below 2C.

The Guardian (21 April 2016) 


Survey reveals more German retailers will voluntarily stop selling glyphosate and neonicotinoids

A survey carried out by Greenpeace in Germany revealed that eight German retailers will voluntarily remove glyphosate and neonicotinoid-based pesticides from their shelves. Greenpeace surveyed eight of the biggest retailers of pesticides in the country.

Horticulture Week (26 April 2016)



Yogurt giant Dannon to move away from GM ingredients

Following increasing public concern over the provenance of their food, US yogurt brand Dannon is shipping milk directly from the farmers. The company, which produces more than a third of yogurt in the US, will ensure those farmers remove GM ingredients from their cattle feed. The transition to non GM feed is expected to occur in 2018 with feed suppliers persuaded to plant non GM seeds.

The New York Times (27 April 2016)

The Soil Association campaigns against GM