Sharing seeds could help farmers grow better food

A seed-sharing network would allow European farmers to manage their own seed resources rather than depend on what big agribusiness want to sell. Image credit - Pixabay/ StockSnap, licensed under pixabay license

Tapping into the genetic diversity contained within the seeds of wild relatives and forgotten crop plants could help farmers decrease their dependency on global agribusiness and grow food better suited to local conditions. Since the start of the 20th century, global demand for certain fruit and vegetables has seen farmers shift away from using local … Read more

Coming to a farm near you: The humble microbe boosting Europe’s food industry

Analysing chicken genetics could help identify which strains are more responsive to a particular microbe. Image credit - Pexels, licensed under the pexels licence

By: Alex Whiting Farmers who want to produce bigger chickens, fewer greenhouse gas-filled cow burps or healthier animals are increasingly able to turn to one tiny source: microbes. The microbes – which include a plethora of bacteria, viruses and fungi – have existed for billions of years and live everywhere including in people’s and animals’ … Read more

Green fertiliser made from cow dung and chicken feathers could transform big agriculture

Farm waste is often full of nutrients that take time to break down before crops can use them. Image credit - Pxhere, licensed under CC0

A raft of strategies is being trialled in Europe to turn nutrient-rich farm waste such as chicken feathers, cow dung and plant stalks into green fertiliser. Full of phosphorus and nitrogen, recycled products could help reduce intensive agriculture’s emissions and reliance on fertiliser imports. European agriculture produces an abundance of high quality food, but also … Read more

Small farms produce more food than statistics show

Recording the true production levels of small farms could help farmers access greater support, according to researchers.

Small farms sometimes get overlooked as a feasible solution for feeding a growing population, but researchers say they should be given greater support, with some producing more food than official statistics report. While small farms can play an important role in supporting rural economies, many owners struggle to earn a decent living which can lead … Read more

Drones and satellite imaging to make forest protection pay

Image credit - lubasi, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every year 7 million hectares of forest are cut down, chipping away at the 485 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) stored in trees around the world, but low-cost drones and new satellite imaging could soon protect these carbon stocks and help developing countries get paid for protecting their trees. ‘If you can measure the biomass you can … Read more

Bioeconomies aim to become a beating heart of local communities, both rural and urban

Firms such as Novamont in Italy are using renewable resources to develop bioplastics and biochemicals, through the use of biorefineries.

As the EU aims to head towards a sustainable, low-carbon future, experts in bio-based industries at the forefront of this transition are turning food waste and waste-water sludge into bioplastics and converting decommissioned factories into new biorefineries by working with local populations. According to figures cited in renewed EU plans for a circular bioeconomy, biobased … Read more