European agriculture

"Member states should be aware that in the next couple of weeks they will be offered an empty promise, the result of which stands to change irreversibly the face of European agriculture for the worse. We call on the European Parliament and member states to reject this deal to ensure a GM-free future."
Greenpeace, urging countries and consumers to reject the EU proposals to lift the GM crop ban.13 July 2010

GM crop ban may be lifted in EU

The European Union will take a huge stride tomorrow towards freeing up the production of GM crops, when the European commission proposes allowing national governments to make up their own minds on whether to permit their cultivation. The change "isn't worth the paper it's written on," says Mute Schimps of Friends of the Earth Europe.
The Guardian (13 July, p.12)

British pressure for GM crops unwelcome in Europe

Governments in the UK have been accused of ignoring the safety concerns of many countries about new food technologies.
The Guardian (13 July, p.12)

Food Standards Agency to be abolished

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is to be abolished by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, sparking claims that the government has 'caved in to big business'. Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: Getting rid of the FSA is the latest in a number of worrying steps. Representatives of the National Obesity Forum, the Food Ethics Council and the Soil Association also rounded on the plan. New Statesman (12 July, 2010)

Soil Association predicts big changes

Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett has predicted factory farming will end by 2050 as a radical and revolutionary change occurs in UK farming. He said: we can, and should, achieve healthy diets and an environmentally-friendly farming system by 2050. Diets, much more then than they are now, should be mainly seasonal, local, organic, with more fruit and vegetables and less but better quality dairy and meat.
Meat Trades Journal (9 July, p.6)

Sa Logo

“For me the best food is almost a fundamental human right…that doesn't mean posh food but it means really great food.”
Helen Browning, Soil Association Director – Society Guardian – 5 January 2011

'The best food is a human right', says Soil Association director

In a profile piece with the Society Guardian, Helen Browning, the incoming Soil Association director says why she wants to see organic farming go mainstream: "My own position has always been that if you take everything into account, if you include the hidden costs of our food production system then organic is actually cheaper. All the damage that our agricultural systems do at the moment is just not accounted for... With a bit of thought there are ways of making organic food more accessible. And finally, I think the gap has been so wide because inputs like fuel and artificial fertiliser have been artificially low, but that's now going to start narrowing."
Society Guardian, (5 January, p.5)

Farmers warned of abolition of agricultural subsidies

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman calls for Cap reform to tackle 'global food security' and an end to direct pay-outs.
The Guardian (5 January, p.11)

Frankenswine, the less pungent pig

The creators of a GM superpig, nicknamed the Enviropig, say its manure contains less phosphorus than normal slurry and poses less risk to rivers, streams and lakes. But critics of GM food said the animals are ‘anything but environmentally friendly’ – and could lead to more intensive pig farms.
The Daily Mail (5 January, p.8)

Farming Today

Anna Hill finds out why free range egg producers say they face losses running into tens of thousands of pounds. Campaigners in the Forest of Dean are arguing it shouldn't be part of the coalition government's proposals to sell off Forestry Commission land. Plus, the Norfolk farmer filling the 'hungry gap' for migrant birds.
BBC Radio 4 (listen again)

And finally…A free range life makes us happy chickens

Happiness seekers should take a tip from chickens and go for a “free range” lifestyle.
Daily Express (5 January, p.15)

The Prince and the Planet

Reviewing HRH The Prince of Wales’ latest book ‘Harmony: A New Way of Looking at our World’, Shooting Times and Country Magazine looks at issues around feeding ourselves sustainably. A spokesperson for the Soil Association says that “expensive and failing GM technology has no role to play in the future of farming, not even selectively. UN research has shown that the adoption of organic and near-organic farming practices in Africa has improved yields by 116%, improved access to food for both farmers and local communities, and raised incomes.”
The Shooting Times and Country Magazine (5 January, p.31)

Wild things

In this article about the benefits of eating game, Robert Gooch of the Wild Meat Company says: "First you have conventional, farmed meat. Then you have free range, then organic. Finally, you have reared game, and right at the top, wild game. I call this the naturalness index."
The Independent Viewspaper (6 January, p.17)

Farming Today

Anna Hill reports from the Oxford Farming Conference. The Secretary of State for DEFRA, Caroline Spelman tells Farming Today that increasing demand for food will make farming profitable without government payments. And, as global population increases, warnings are raised that UK food supplies may not be secure in the future.
BBC Radio 4 (listen again)

Thanks to the Soil Association.