Not just farming!

In a recent review of Honey & Thistles, Jim Currin, who holds the Evangelisation, Mission and Media portfolio at Churches Together in England, draws attention to the wider significance and value of the book and the thinking behind it. "Farming may not be the subject uppermost in people’s minds but questions explored like biodiversity, bees, soil erosion, farm chemicals and public health affect us all", he says, suggesting that "what the authors have done here is a good exercise that others Read more [...]

More on ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’

Reading my original piece about the 'global alliance for climate smart agriculture' people will have noticed the prominent role of a fertiliser company called Yara and may, like me, have been puzzled by the prominent role of Walmart. At the farm level, trying to reduce the impact on the climate I have been frustrated about the lack of information as to how much emission damage is already connected with Nitrogen fertiliser. The manufacture of nitrogen fertiliser requires a considerable input of Read more [...]

The problems and penalties of ‘progress’

I have recently read an account of a large rice growing project in Northern Nigeria which may in future produce a lot of rice but which drives the existing users of the land into destitution. Our Parish has recently been remembering a similar course of events from 250 years ago. Perhaps the only claim to any particular significance that our Parish of West Haddon has is that it occupies the high ground to the north of the Watford Gap opposite to Daventry to the south. However, 250 years ago in 1765 Read more [...]

Why didn’t you save the forest?

One of the biblical themes in Honey & Thistles is about a equitable distribution of land.  This principle has been and is being abused in many places.  This not only deprives people of their home and livelihood, identity and culture, but it is frequently accompanied by massive environmental damage.  This video from CMS, one of ATP’s partners makes all this vividly clear

What is GACSA?

GACSA stands for the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture.  It appears to be the brainchild of a few governments and international bodies, working with ideas being developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).  This has published a 'Source Book'.  What looks like a loose alliance of some 21 governments, including the UK, USA, Canada, Japan and 9 other European governments and 70 international research and academic bodies has come together with some corporate names like Read more [...]

Milk quotas and matters arising

On April 1st the BBC reported that milk quotas were being abolished “so (that) EU dairy business can compete with international rivals in supplying growing markets in Asia and Africa”. It is not immediately clear why a system to match production to demand should be an obstacle to exports.  Quotas were introduced in 1984 when the EU was struggling with “mountains” of skimmed milk powder and butter.  The figures appear to show that quotas contained this problem, which was giving the Common Read more [...]

Election manifestos. What are they saying about farming?

Just had a very quick skim through the party manifestos! The only mention I could find in Labour's is a commitment to "driving reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and a Commission-led zero-based review of spending on EU agencies to reduce waste and inefficiency". By contrast, the Conservatives take up almost two pages (admittedly one page is an image of some fish) to set their intention to "support the rural economy and strengthen local communities, champion our farmers and food producers, support Read more [...]