Category: Food & Farming

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Bugs, bees and banned toxins

Milly James

There seems to be quite an upset brewing, understandably, over the government allowing the use of neonicotinoids in the UK after reports like “Government to let farmers use bee-killing pesticide banned by EU”  appeared in the press and across social media from environmentalists and the concerned public. The current reporting on the renewed use of […]

Fish – it used to be so easy…

Julian Andrews

Mention “Samways” to locals around the west Dorset town of Bridport and they’re most likely to tell you simply, “they’ve got that fish shop at West Bay”. They’re right about the fish shop, but Samways are a lot more than that. Clifford Samways started selling fish from a wooden barrow in West Bay in 1961 […]

This sting cannot be sugar-coated

Anna Andrews

Bees are good.  We all know that, don’t we.  Bees are good.  Pests are bad.  Farmers need to kill pests so they can grow our food and they use pesticides to do that.  So why would they want to use pesticides which kill bees? Many chemicals which kill pests also kill bees and other insects […]

Roast autarky and British sprouts

Rachel Marshall

As Covid choked the passageways between the UK and France at the end of December, there were increasing calls from farmers and politicians to “Buy British.” This is irritating because many of us do just that already; filling our fridges and store cupboards has for many years not been an either/or choice. But is this […]

Awards part two: some more good people, thankfully!

Anthea Simmons

Most dogged defenders of our food & farming standards: Devon MPs Ben Bradshaw, Luke Pollard and Dorset MP Simon Hoare stand amongst those who braved the government to demand standards be enshrined in law and not on the table in any future trade deals. (Devon MP Neil Parish almost made it into this select group, […]

In a stew over fish…

Mike Zollo

From fish’n’chips to calamares In my childhood days, my experience of fish was usually limited to a somewhat greasy lump of batter, with a trace of white matter within it, presumably cod, accompanied by equally greasy, soggy chips. They were served in newspaper, liberally sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Perhaps my palate-memory is rather jaded […]

Environment Box Set

Editor-in-chief
path through broad-leaved woodland

In case you missed them or ar e hungry for a binge read, here is a selection of articles on environmental issues from our first five months: You can read Part 2 of Tony’s series on Dartmoor here. Part 3 will be published in January.

No deal takes UK back to the 70s and food anxiety

Robert Saunders

No apologies for reproducing yet another Twitter thread. Everyone should have the chance to read this. Ed The 1970s was a decade of serious anxiety about food supplies. Norman Tebbit, of all people, urged the government to consider rationing basic foodstuffs. That played a significant role in the decision to join the EEC, and raises […]

Farming after Brexit

Miles King

We left the EU in January 2020 and it’s now less than a month before the transition period ends.  Depending on how you look at it, we are once again a ‘sovereign state’ able to take back control and make our own decisions – as if we were not free to do so before. Or […]

Hooray! We are taking back control…of GM

Simon Chater

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. There are precious few upsides to Brexit, but here’s one. We’re coming out of the EU’s dysfunctional system for regulating genetically modified (GM) crops! What do we know? It’s a quarter of a century since the first GM crop, a tomato modified to prolong its […]

Dartmoor’s wounded land, part two: cause and effect

Tony Whitehead
view of Dartmoor, close-cropped yellowed grass

In the second of three articles, environmental campaigner Tony Whitehead considers how Dartmoor’s nature came to be in such a poor state. In part one, I paid attention to two of Dartmoor’s key wildlife habitats: the blanket bogs and upland heaths. Over the past 150 years, Dartmoor’s blanket bogs were cut for peat, drained for […]

The truth matters, Mr Mangnall. Surely you realise that now?

Anthea Simmons

If the events of the past few days have shown us anything, it is that, in the end, truth really must and will prevail. Big whoppers, small fibs – doesn’t really matter. A lie is a lie is a lie and spinning it as a half truth won’t wash. Let’s just consider the circled text […]

“Don’t sell our farmers out to the mighty dollar.” North Devon relief milker and team vicar urges MPs to support Amendment 16b

Anthea Simmons

We ran this article last week on Torridge Council’s decision to express its anger at the government’s decision to vote against protecting food and animal welfare standards in the Agriculture Bill. One of the passionate supporters of the motion proposed by sheep farmer and councillor, Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin, was the local Rural Dean and team vicar, […]

Why we should all care about the betrayal of British farmers

Sadie Parker

Farmers will be better off if we vote to leave the EU, they said. We’d decide our own rural strategy, abolish the hated basic payment system, pay farmers more, keep and maybe even enhance farmers’ subsidies just as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland do. And we’d get rid of those pesky regulations — all while improving […]

Lambs to the slaughter

Miles King

As we wait for what feels like the final slow-motion spin of the car as it hurtles inexorably towards the cliff edge, wondering if our heroes are going to escape from this seemingly impossible situation … again … no, stop there. Enough with the Hollywood imagery, the tired old metaphors. They just aren’t funny anymore. […]

Nature and environment boxed set

Anthea Simmons

We are lucky enough to have some excellent writers covering environmental issues. We thought you might appreciate having this selection to dip into, in case you missed any of the articles first time round. Maybe you would like to add a piece of your own? Do you work in conservation? Are you a wildlife fan? […]

EuroDog consider animal sentience

EuroDog

Farm animals voice their concern about whether the House of Commons will take the opportunity when reviewing the Lords’ amendments to the Agriculture Bill on Monday 12 October to honour the commitment  – as stated the Queen’s Speech of October 2019 – to recognise animals as sentient beings.  

Hidden trade-offs make trade deals unpalatable

Sadie Parker

To say that farms are likely to be decimated by Brexit is inaccurate, because ‘to decimate’ means to cull one in ten. DEFRA was reported to be expecting at least one in four farms to go bust as a result of Brexit. Even DEFRA’s dire forecast may have been too generous. Last year, former National […]

Furore over food standards reaching fever pitch

Sadie Parker

On 22 September, the Lords inflicted a defeat on the government when it voted, in line with the government’s own manifesto pledge, for an amendment to the Agriculture Bill to uphold our food, animal welfare and environmental standards. What was the government doing voting against its own manifesto pledge in the first place? Government has […]

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