Connexions Resource Centre
Focus on Agriculture and Farming
Recent & Selected Articles
- This is a small sampling of articles related to education and children in the Connexions Online Library. For more articles, books, films, and other resources, check the Connexions Library Subject Index, especially under topics such as
- Ghana's women farmers resist the G7 plan to grab Africa's seeds (May 22, 2015)
Sharing and saving seed is a crucial part of traditional farming all over Africa. Governments, backed by multinational seed companies, are imposing oppressive seed laws that attack the continent's main food producers and open the way to industrial agribusiness.
- Occupy agriculture! Polish farmers sit in for land and freedom (March 19, 2015)
At the heart of Poland's capital, Warsaw, farmers have founded a flourishing encampment known as the 'Green City', writes Julian Rose. It's a focus of protest against the sell-off of their land to agribusiness, the arrival of GMO crops, and the imposition of a failed 'Western' model of farming that's creating huge corporate profits while debasing food and bankrupting small farmers.
- Peasant Sovereignty? (March 18, 2015)
The Spain-based international agrarian organization, Grain, reported that small farmers not only "feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland," but they are also the most productive farmers on Earth.
- Farmer Cooperatives, Not Monsanto, Supply El Salvador With Seeds (March 3, 2015)
In the face of overwhelming competition skewed by the rules of free trade, farmers in El Salvador have managed to beat the agricultural giants like Monsanto and Dupont to supply local corn seed to thousands of family farmers. Local seed has consistently outperformed the transnational product, and farmers helped develop El Salvadors own domestic seed supplyall while outsmarting the heavy hand of free trade.
- Land and seed laws under attack as Africa is groomed for corporate recolonization (February 12, 2015)
Across Africa, laws are being rewritten to open farming up to an agribusiness invasion - displacing millions of small cultivators and replacing them with a new model of profit-oriented agriculture using patented seeds and varieties.
- Farmers join to save the seeds that feed us (January 6, 2015)
Farmers and growers in south-west England have united to reclaim the lost skill of seed saving. They are determined to grow, develop, share and disseminate open-pollinated seeds, and oppose EU laws granting commercial plant breeders a legal monopoly on the seeds that sustain our lives.
- Land concentration, land grabbing and people's struggles in Europe (January 2, 2015)
The hidden scandal of how a few big private business entities have gained control of ever-greater areas of European land. How these land elites have been actively supported by a huge injection of public funds -- at a time when all other public funding is being subjected to massive cuts.
- Rising suicide rate for Indian farmers blamed on GMO seeds (November 22, 2014)
Monsanto, which has just paid out $2.4 million to US farmers, settling one of many lawsuits it's been involved in worldwide, is also facing accusations that its seeds are to blame for a spike in suicides by India farmers.
- Ghana's farmers battle "Monsanto law' to retain seed freedom (October 24, 2014)
Ghana's government is desperate to pass a Plant Breeders Bill that would remove farmers' ancient 'seed freedom' to grow, retain, breed and develop crop varieties - while giving corporate breeders a blanket exemption from seed regulations. But the farmers are fighting back.
- The Emergence of Marx's Critique of Modern Agriculture (October 1, 2014)
Examining Marxs notebooks, one realizes that he first attained a truly critical and ecological comprehension of modern agriculture in the middle of the 1860s. Although Marx was at first optimistic about the positive effects of modern agriculture based on the application of natural sciences and technology, he later came to emphasize the negative consequences of agriculture under capitalism precisely because of such an application, illustrating how it inevitably brings about disharmonies in the transhistorical metabolism (Stoffwechsel) between human beings and nature.
- Toward the Agro-Police State (September 26, 2014)
The main problem with precision agriculture -- and the hype that surrounds it -- is the faulty assumptions that it rests on. The problems of agriculture are not caused by a lack of technology, or even by a lack of productivity (overproduction has as a matter of fact been a more frequent problem for farmers). The root problems are political and economic in nature.
- New generation: Growing up reading Rachel Carson, scientists unravel risks of new pesticides (September 25, 2014)
Like biologist Rachel Carson, whose 1962 book Silent Spring warned about the devastating effects of DDT, a new generation of scientists is trying to figure out if new pesticides -- which are being used in ever-increasing numbers, quantities, and combinations -- are harming living things theyre not intended to kill, including birds.
- The Carbon Underground: reversing global warming (September 21, 2014)
As millions join in climate marches and other actions around the world, the mainstream focus on energy is missing the 55% of emissions that come from mismanaged land and destroyed forests. The key is to replace industrial agriculture worldwide with productive, regenerative organic farming that puts carbon back in the soil.
- Dairy - the case for greener, healthier, lower performing cows (September 8, 2014)
With supermarket milk cheaper than spring water, it's time to rethink the modern dairy industry. It's not just the milk that's become a throwaway product - the high-octane Holstein cows that produce it are also in the knackers yard after just two or three lactations, the living waste of a loss-making, environment-trashing industry.
- Monsanto and Ukraine (August 22, 2014)
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under terms of their $17 billion loan to Ukraine, will force that country to permit genetically-modified (GM) crops and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture.
- US farm fatalities: An unpublicized epidemic (August 18, 2014)
Hundreds of agricultural workers, including many child labourers, die in farming accidents across the US each year. With an official workplace fatality rate of more than 21 per 100,000, farming is the most dangerous occupation in America. It is also among the lowest paid and least regulated.
- The Right-to-Farm Scam (August 17, 2014)
When Monsantos home state of Missouri passed the Right to Farm on August 5, 2014 the third noose of corporate control tightened around the neck of the US. Unlike the first two steps of corporate domination of public life, this was a constitutional amendment that would block the state legislature or voters from passing future laws for environmental protection, animal welfare or labeling of contaminated food. This third wave corporatocracy could well spread across US and globally as it becomes a new form of mass disenfranchisement.
- Agri-Terrorists Accuse Seed Bank of Agri-Terrorism (August 10, 2014)
Since their beginnings, the USDA and state departments of agriculture have heavily subsidized, and acted as the enforcement arm of, the corporate agribusiness crime syndicate, terrorizing people who presume to feed themselves without paying tribute to their corporate crime lords.
- Neonicotinoids are Poisoning Entire Farmland Ecosystems (July 2, 2014)
The widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides is causing a neurotoxic overload afflicting entire farm ecosystems from earthworms to bees, other pollinators and birds. A collapse in food production may inevitably follow.
- Forget The Propaganda From Big Agritech, The Key To Reducing Poverty And Ensuring Food Security Lies With Small Farmers (May 30, 2014)
A new review carried out by the organization GRAIN reveals that small farms produce most of the worlds food. However, they are currently squeezed onto less than a quarter of the worlds farmland. The world is fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands of the rich and powerful. If we do nothing to reverse this trend, the world will lose its capacity to feed itself.
- We Are The Soil (May 27, 2014)
We are made up of the same five elements earth, water, fire, air and space that constitute the Universe. We are the soil. We are the earth. What we do to the soil, we do to ourselves. And it is no accident that the words humus and humans have the same roots. This ecological truth is forgotten in the dominant paradigm because it is based on eco-apartheid, the false idea that we are separate and independent of the earth and also because it defines soil as dead matter. If soil is dead to begin with, human action cannot destroy its life. It can only improve the soil with chemical fertilisers. And if we are the masters and conquerors of the soil, we determine the fate of the soil. Soil cannot determine our fate.
- The Social Cost of GMOs (May 23, 2014)
Ecological economists such as Herman Daly write that the more full the world becomes, the higher are the social or external costs of production. Social or external costs are costs of production that are not captured in the price of the products. For example, dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico that result from chemicals used in agriculture are not included as costs in agricultural production. The price of food does not include the damage to the Gulf.
Food production is a source of large social costs. Indeed, it seems that the more food producers are able to lower the measured cost of food production, the higher the social costs imposed on society.
- Organic certification - inorganic bureaucracy (May 17, 2014)
- India's Rice Warrior Battles to Build Living Seed Bank as Climate Chaos Looms (March 18, 2014)
Rice conservationist Debal Deb grapples with 'mindless Indian elite' to reintroduce genetically diverse, drought-tolerant varieties
- Agriculture: Steps to sustainable livestock (March 5, 2014)
With improved breeding and cultivation, ruminant animals can yield food that is better for people and the planet.
- Costa Rican Farmers Become Climate Change Acrobats (March 4, 2014)
José Alberto Chacón traverses the winding path across his small farm on the slopes of the Irazú volcano, in Costa Rica, which meanders because he has designed it to prevent rain from washing away nutrients from the soil.
- Small is the New Big (February 28, 2014)
Vandana Shiva reminds us that the very future of food security in India (and indeed worldwide) lies in protecting and promoting the country's small farmers.
- Half of U.S. Farmland Being Eyed by Private Equity (February 19, 2014)
An estimated 400 million acres of farmland in the United States will likely change hands over the coming two decades as older farmers retire, even as new evidence indicates this land is being strongly pursued by private equity investors. In the long term, this dynamic could speed up the already fast-consolidating U.S. food industry, with broad ramifications for both human and environmental health.
- Africa's Farm Revolution - Who will Benefit? (February 18, 2014)
A farming revolution is under way in Africa, pushed by giant corporations and the UK's aid budget. It will surely be good for the global economy, but will Africa's small farmers see the benefit?
- Farming Freedom (January 17, 2014)
A simple agricultural technique could release farmers from the grip of agrochemical corporations. With no patents, no royalties and no licensing fees, this system just benefits the farmers.
- The future is agroecology (January 6, 2014)
The way to a sustainable, people-centred agriculture lies in agroecology - farming based on ecological principles, taking account of the interdependence of all living things.
- Golden Rice ignores the risks, the people and the real solutions (December 28, 2013)
'Golden Rice' is being promoted by GM advocates as a solution to malnutrition. But Daniel Ocampo says it is for the 'target populations' in the Philippines and elsewhere to decide whether to accept the technology - and they don't want it!
- In Home Gardens, Income and Food for Urban Poor (December 13, 2013)
A slowly but steadily growing phenomenon in Jordan, urban agriculture has vast potential for reducing poverty and improving food security, and it has the added benefit of greening and cleaning up more rundown sections of cities.
- Scientific journal retracts study exposing GM cancer risk (December 5, 2013)
The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology appears to have violated scientific standards by withdrawing a study which found that rats fed on a Monsanto GM corn were more likely to develop cancer than controls.
- Deformities, sickness and livestock deaths: the real cost of GM animal feed? (November 29, 2013)
Feeding animals a diet containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients or more specifically feed made from GM soya and sprayed with the controversial herbicide glyphosate is responsible for deformities and other defects in pigs.
- The Very Future of Third World Agriculture Is at Stake (November 28, 2013)
Food security is simply a smokescreen to provide a cover-up for the global efforts being made to dismantle the very foundations of Third World agriculture. Putting more income into the hands of Third World farmers is not acceptable, as it makes developing country agriculture economically viable and therefore deals a blow to U.S. agribusiness trade interests.
- Vandana Shiva On Resisting GMOs: "Saving Seeds Is a Political Act" (November 19, 2013)
Sarah van Gelder interviewed Vandana Shiva, renowned for her activism against GMOs, globalization, and patents on seeds and traditional foods.
- The Founding Fables of Industrialised Agriculture (October 30, 2013)
Governments these days are not content with agriculture that merely provides good food. In line with the dogma of neoliberalism they want it to contribute as much wealth as any other industry towards the grand goal of economic growth. High tech offers to reconcile the two ambitions producing allegedly fabulous yields, which seems to be whats needed, and becoming highly profitable.
- Fair Shares of Food (July 8, 2013)
Concern over lagging production has prompted a search for technological tricks that might revolutionize food production.
- GM crops: Hunger as the key to world domination (May 29, 2013)
Weapons and energy resources are apparently insufficient for total control over the world's nations, power-hungry globalists like David Rockefeller have come up with the idea of using people's daily need for food as a means to achieve global dominance.
- Farming Under the Wall (April 4, 2013)
The difficulties of Palestinian farmers as their lands are placed behind the Wall.
- In 2011 the dacha gardens of Russia produced 40% of the nation's food. (2013)
While many in the world are completely dependent on large scale agriculture, the Russian people feed themselves. Their agricultural economy is small scale, predominantly organic and in the capable hands of the nation's people. It's not just a hobby but a massive contribution to Russia's agriculture.
- The Vertical Farming Scam (December 11, 2012)
Vertical farming would involve using the floorspace of tall urban buildings for growing food plants through largely hydroponic methods. This is envisioned as a way to integrate food production with dense human populations, increase production per unit of land area, protect crops against pests without the use of chemicals, and take vulnerable agricultural soils out of production by relocating crops to cities. It can, in fact, achieve none of these goals.
- America: Becoming a Land Without Farmers (September 10, 2012)
In rural America fewer than 3 percent of farmers make more than 63 percent of the money, including government subsidies. The results of this emerging feudal economy are everywhere. Large areas of the United States are becoming impoverished farm towns with abandoned farmhouses and deserted land. More and more of the countryside has been devoted to massive factory farms and plantations.
- Farming Without Machines: A Revolutionary Agricultural Technology (July 23, 2012)
Originally published in 1974, How to Grow More Vegetables, Eighth Edition: (And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land than You Can Imagine1 remains a vital resource for farmers, agricultural researchers and planners, sustainability activists and home gardeners.
- Deconstructing The Locavores Dilemma (July 8, 2012)
The book 'The Locavore's Dilemma' constructs a straw man argument while ignoring what the locavore movement really has to say.
- The false solutions of Rio+20 (June 28, 2012)
Food production and people's sovereignty in Africa could be seriously compromised by carbon capture projects and the so-called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+) mechanism.
- Without Women, No Food Security (March 1, 2012)
In the countries of the Global South, women are the primary producers of food: the ones in charge of working the earth, maintaining seed stores, harvesting fruit, obtaining water and safeguarding the harvest.
- Island of the Widows (December 12, 2011)
Mysterious kidney disease in Central America.
- A Concerted Effort From Europe Against Israeli Produce Exporter Agrexco (June 11, 2011)
In Montpellier, France, over 100 activists from 9 countries gathered for the first ever European Forum Against Agrexco. Delegates from Italy, UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Palestine joined the French organizers for two full days of workshops aimed at strengthening the boycott campaign against the Israeli agricultural export giant.
- How Agriculture Can Provide Food Security Without Destroying Biodiversity (May 23, 2011)
According to conventional wisdom, the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte has achieved something impossible. So, too, has the island of Cuba. They are feeding their hungry populations largely with local, low-input farming methods that enhance the environment rather than degrade it. They have achieved this, moreover, at a time of rising food prices when others have mostly retreated from their own food security goals.
- Local and Organic Food and Farming (February 28, 2011)
When the local chemical grower tells you that local is better than organic, tell them that they should switch to organic so that you can trust their food to be safe, clean, inspected, and environmentally friendly. Local food is not the gold standard, and may not even be safe. Local-organic is the gold standard.
- Local Harvest for an Urban Landscape (February 11, 2011)
How do you create a locally harvested food system for a city of 100,000?
- The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto (January 28, 2011)
Unprecedented wholesale and retail control of the organic marketplace by companies employing a business model of selling twice as much so-called "natural" food as certified organic food, coupled with the takeover of many organic companies by multinational food corporations, threatens the growth of the organic movement.
- GMOs, Glyphosate & Tomorrow (2011)
Any time you have a single gene in so many different crops, especially a gene that impacts the normal resistance and defense mechanism in the plant, and you spread that same vulnerability across so many plants, you should anticipate a high level of vulnerability.
- Organic and Beyond (2011)
Organic is not enough. Organic will be an effective proposal for change only to the extent that it is integrated into the local and global movements that carry on the fight for food sovereignty, climate justice, ecological debt, women's rights and labor organizing; and against enclosures of common goods.
- Why We Left Our Farms to Come to Copenhagen (December 7, 2009)
Climate change is already seriously impacting us. It brings floods, droughts and the outbreak of pests that are all causing harvest failures. I must point out that these harvest failures are something that the farmers did not create. Instead, it is the polluters who caused the emissions who destroy the natural cycles. So, we small scale farmers came here to say that we will not pay for their mistakes. And we are asking the emitters to face up to their responsibilities.
- Connexions Archive seeks a new home (November 18, 2009)
The Connexions Archive, a Toronto-based library dedicated to preserving the history of grassroots movements for social change, needs a new home.
- Argentina: Disappearing Farmers, Disappearing Food (October 29, 2009)
Food sovereignty as defined by Via Campesina is the peoples' right to define their agricultural and food policy, and the right of farmers and peasants to produce food. Worldwide communities are seeking an alternative to a model controlled by Cargill, Monsanto, General Foods, Nestle and Kraft foods. Starved by industrialization and concentration, citizens are now hungry for traditional production methods and diversity in the food system.
- Valuing Folk Crop Varieties for Agroecology and Food Security (October 26, 2009)
Agricultural sustainability consists of long-term productivity, not short-term increase of yield. Ecological agriculture, which seeks to understand and apply ecological principles to farm ecosystems, is the future of modern agriculture.
- Guinea Pigs Spell Independence for Women (October 2, 2009)
Raising guinea pigs has become an important means for Peruvian women to earn money to support their families, as well as to learn how to defend their rights.
- Farmers vs Coca-Cola in Water Wars (October 1, 2009)
As India faces its worst drought in four decades, a dispute over water resources between farmers in the Kala Dera area of western Rajasthan state and a Coca-Cola bottling plant located there has sharpened.
- Farmers in Palestine create amazing produce in adverse conditions - and are fighting to export them (September 13, 2009)
Palestine produces some of the finest olive oils in the world, not to mention dates, nuts, tomatoes - even wine. Now, despite the conflict, farmers are finding ways to export their produce - and show the world that their country is still the land of milk and honey.
- From villages to New Delhi to Geneva: Indian farmers protest against the WTO (September 8, 2009)
The "liberalization" and 'corporatization' of agriculture under the World Trade Organisation would put at risk the livelihoods of more than 2/3 of India's 1 billion people.
- Food Among the Ruins (August 1, 2009)
Detroit, the country's most depressed metropolis, has zero produce-carrying grocery chains. It also has open land, fertile soil, ample water, and the ingredients to reinvent itself from Motor City to urban farm.
- Urban Honey (2009)
In the winter of 2003, three Chicago beekeepers joined forces to create a bee farm on the former Sears-Roebuck property right in the heart of our city. We abut an old railroad embankment wall with both prairie remnant and concrete in equal amounts.
- Via Campesina Declaration on Food Sovereignty 1996 (1996)
Food is a basic human rights. This right can only be realized in a system where food sovereignty is guaranteed.
- The Lessons of Amish Agriculture (1987)
Amish agriculture offers valuable eco-lessons to those interested in organic, earth-friendly farming.
Selected Websites and Organizations
- This is a small sampling of organizations and websites concerned with education and children in the Connexions Directory. For more organizations and websites, check the Connexions Directory Subject Index, especially under topics such as
Other Links & Resources
Books, Films and Periodical
- This is a small sampling of books related to education and children in the
Connexions Online Library. For more books and other resources, check the Connexions Library
Subject Index, especially under topics such as
- Climate Change and World Agriculture
Author: Parry, Martin
- Cotton: The peril and the promise
New Internationalist April 2007
A look at the cotton industry in India and how it is affecting the workers. Discusses alternatives to cotton and sustainability.
- The End of Food
How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food And - What You Can Do About It
Author: Pawlick, Thomas
Food and the Culture of Biotechnolgy
Author: Kneen, Brewster
Kneen explains how corporations control the distribution of food with little knowledge or care of the health risks of engineered food.
- The Food Wars
Walden Bello presents an analysis of the various causes of hikes in global food prices and their effects on poverty in the countries of the global South.
- A History of World Agriculture
From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis
Author: Mazoyer, Marcel; Roudart, Laurence
Begins with the emergence of agriculture after thousands of years in which human societies had depended on hunting and gathering, showing how agricultural techniques developed in the different regions of the world.
- How EC and World Bank Policies Are Destroying Agriculture And The Environment
A European and Third World Perspective
Author: Bond, Jack W
Bond argues that bureaucrats, multinationals and banks lack the compassion and commitement to help farmers, consumers and the enviromment, and emerging nations of the South.
- The Land Grabbers
The New Fight over Who Owns the Earth
Author: Pearce, Fred
How Wall Street, Chinese billionaires, oil sheikhs, and agribusiness are buying up huge tracts of land in a hungry, crowded world.
- Los Mexicanos: The Struggle for Justice of Patricia Perez
Author: Latour, Charles (Director)
Every year, some 4000 migrant foreign workers coming mostly from Mexico, labour in Quebec farms to plant and pick our vegetables. In the summer of 2006, Patricia Perez a pro-union militant speaking for the UFCW, launches a major drive to organize the workers in several farms south of Montreal.
- Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter - March 26, 2015
Author: Diemer, Ulli (editor); Khan, Tahmid (production)
This issue features a number of items related to sustainability, ecology, and agriculture, including Vandana Shiva's article "Small is the New Big," the Council of Canadians' new report on water issues, "Blue Betrayal," the film "The Future of Food," the Independent Science News website, which focuses on the science of food and agriculture, and the memoir "Journey of an Unrepentant Socialist" by Brewster Kneen, a former farmer and long-time critic of corporate agriculture.
- Pesticides Pick your poison The pesticide scandal
New Internationalist May 2000
Exposing the dangers of pesticide usage, in both third and first world communities. Why this "cycle of poison" will keep escalating as crops develop resistance. Discussion of viable alternatives, including organic food production and small farms.
- Rise Up Singing
Author: Blood-Patterson, Peter
There was a time when singing was a part of everyday life. Rise Up Singing was compiled to help bring song back into our lives, and especially to bring singing more strongly into the movement for social change.
- Seeds of Destruction
The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
Author: Engdahl, William F.
Focuses on how a small American elite seeks to establish its control over the very basis of human survival, the provision of our daily bread. The author reveals a world where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production.
- Stolen Harvest
The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply
Author: Shiva, Vandana
The author, an eco-feminist and environmentalist, documents the effects of Globalization and Manufactured Foods on small farmers, the environment, and the food we eat.
- Sugar The sugar trap
New Internationalist December 2003
A look into sugar as a consumer product and its corporate globalization. Discusses trade and business of sugar, its history with slavery as well as its effects on the body.
- Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
Author: Estabrook, Barry
An expose of the environmental and human costs of turning tomatos into an industrial product.
- Vincenzo Pietropaolo: Witness to the Harvest Pilgrims
Author: UFCW Canada (Director)
Vincenzo Pietropaolo has documented the story of Mexican migrant workers over a number of years. This is a brief look into that story.
- The War in the Country
How the Fight to Save Rural Life Will Shape Our Future
Author: Pawlick, Thomas F.
Chronicles the gradual disappearance of Canada's family farms.
- What Difference Could a Revolution Make?
Food and Farming in The New Nicarauga
Author: Collins, Joseph; with Lappe, Moore Frances; and Allen, Nick
Reports on the dramatic changes brought by the first three years of the Sandinista revolution.
Learning from our History
Resources for Activists
The Connexions Calendar - An event calendar for activists.
Media Names & Numbers - A comprehensive directory of Canada's print and broadcast media. (CX5857).
Sources - A directory that enables journalists to find spokespersons of organizations. Organizations that list themselves in Sources signficantly increase their odds of getting called by reporters when they are doing a story of their issues..
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