the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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landworkers’ alliance protests in london

Yesterday (April 17th) 100 farmers and growers from the Landworkers’ Alliance travelled to London from around the country to protest outside the head offices of DEFRA and the National Farmers Union.

Under the leadership of Owen Patterson over the past two years, DEFRA has strengthened its support of large-scale industrial agriculture and marginalized smaller producers, while the NFU has consistently lobbied for the interests of agribusiness and ignored the views of smaller farmers.

The land workers’ Alliance want to see small-scale producers put at the heart of decision making in agricultural policy.

“DEFRA needs to recognise the role of small-scale producers in contributing to the national food economy, as well as the environmental and social services provided by these producers,” says Ed Hamer from the LWA.  “As a matter of urgency we demand that DEFRA create policies conducive to a sustainable food future for all.”

The demonstration took place in solidarity with the April 17th – The International Day of Peasant Struggles. A global day of action called by La Via Campesina, the international union of peasant farmers which has over 200 million members worldwide.

Small farmers' demo outside DEFRA offices

(Above) The Landworkers’ Alliance catch minister for agriculture (Owen Patterson) in bed with agribusiness.

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dow chemical seeks usda approval for 2,4-d ready corn



Excerpts taken from the Pesticide Action Network
Dow and USDA are hoping to quietly approve a new genetically engineered corn seed that basically swaps RoundUp (glyphosate) for a worse weedkiller (2,4-D).

As with Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready lines, the herbicide with which these seeds are engineered to be used (2,4-D) will surge in use. Dow aims to get 2,4-D-resistant corn to market this year, soy next year and cotton in 2015. These three crops dominate U.S. agriculture, blanketing over 100 million acres of mono-cropped countryside and driving the pesticide market. Only this time, the fallout will be even worse. Here’s why:

  • 2,4-D is a more toxic herbicide, both to humans and to plants.
  • 2,4-D does and will drift off of target crops
  • Corn is wind-pollinated which means that genetic material from 2,4-D corn will contaminate non-GE cornYou cannot put a GE genie back in the bottle.

To read this article in full and learn more about the effects of 2,4-D corn, click HERE

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shoveling water

Journey to the heart of coca country where United States tax dollars have financed the aerial fumigation of 2.6 million acres of land in Colombia – the world’s second most biodiverse country. See cropdusters target coca plants, the main ingredient of cocaine, with concentrated herbicide as part of the U.S. war on drugs. Listen to people on the ground, hear about the impacts, and learn new ideas about how to solve this deadly problem.


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sea shipping industry goes on a carbon diet with the worlds largest ship

Sea shipping accounts for 3 to 4% of global CO2 emissions and the largest 15 ships could be emitting as much carbon and greenhouse gases as 760 million cars! Enter Denmark’s Maersk shipping company, owner of the massive Triple-E container ship. This ship  could help cut the carbon emissions per container by 50% !


For more about this new container ship and also to watch a video, click HERE

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pedal and plow

An interesting project to follow in the coming years: Pedal and Plow


Pedal and Plow is a documentary web series following Lydia Caudill, Creator and host of Pn’P, as she rides her bike from Paraguay all the way home to Washington state. Along the way she’ll be documenting alternatives to industrial agricultural from those on the front lines of food justice in Latin America. She’ll interview farmers and organizations all strivingto maintain their personal and community right to determine their diet and way of life in the face of a rapidly industrializing food system. The solutions will be local, but we hope for our scope to be far reaching. Lydia believes that sharing these ideas can inform and empower everyone connected to their food throughout the world. We invite you to join her on this epic trip! Check out the most recent episodes, or learn more from Lydia on her blog. 


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study finds roundup, a monsanto product, may be linked to negative health issues


Heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.

The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of “glyphosate,” the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food. Read more here…

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more on seed solidarity

photo (2)
You may be a loyal enough blog reader to have caught the thread on TTIP TTP and TPP.  These are free trade agreements being written and negotiated on practically intergalactic level.  The stakes are high, especially around agriculture, intellectual property rights, and trade rules– but unlike during the WTO talks which triggered a massive mobilization and anti-globalization movement– so far these agreements have been quite quiet, except when the NSA controversy, exposed by Edward Snowden over US spying on European delegation communications, brought it into the press.  Continue reading

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history lesson: the M.S.T. (landless peasants movement)

who will soon be celebrating their big anniversary.

Brazil’s Landless Worker’s Movement was born from the concrete, isolated struggles for land that rural workers were developing in southern Brazil at the end of the 1970′s. Brazil was going through a politically opening process towards the end of the military regime. Brazilian capitalism was not able to alleviate the existing contradictions that blocked progress in the countryside. Continue reading

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euro greens and shiva joint petition

*European Greens and Vandana Shiva launch joint petition on seed legislation *

Brussels- October 2 , 2013.  Today, on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday the European Greens together with Navdanya, the organization of Indian activist and scientist Vandana Shiva  launch a petition on the new legislative proposal of the European Commission on the production and commercialization of seeds.

The proposal by the EC was launched in May and is now going through the legislative process in the European Parliament.  Via the website the Greens and Navdanya want to mobilize citizens to ask for a radical change of this proposed legislation. The central message of the website is that this new European legislation on the ‘Marketing of seeds’ is a threat to Food Security and Democracy. Continue reading

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irish farmers very direct at ploughing championships

President says young farmers need land

Helping young farmers to access land is the greatest challenge facing modern agriculture, President Michael D Higgins said at the opening of the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois, yesterday.

He said Irish farming had changed “profoundly” since the championships were last held in Ratheniska in 1943, and there were many challenges facing the sector.

“Enabling young farmers to access the land they need to make a living in agriculture is the greatest of all of these challenges.

“The current age structure of Ireland’s farming population is a big issue. Only 6 per cent of Irish farmers are under the age of 35, and that is why I seek out and welcome and encourage those young people who are there.”
Read the rest here.

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mapping for intervention or mapping for conquest?


Scientists have compiled the first soil atlas of Africa to help the general public, policymakers, land users, and scientists understand and manage the continent’s key resource.

Put together by a team of experts from the European Commission, the African Union, and the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) over the past four years, the 176-page atlas aims to inform stakeholders of the continent’s varying patterns of soil, and of the need to conserve and manage it sustainably. Continue reading


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