Newsletter n.71



1.EXPERIENCES: Recognizing the importance of farmworkers in protecting the land


3.SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: Report of the Conference on the Soil 25/11/2019


Recognizing the importance of farmworkers in protecting the land

Protecting the citizens and the land by protecting the soil and safeguarding the environment while caring for the health and safety of workers.” These are the words with which the North Tuscany Consortium No. 1 was introduced by its chair.

What characterizes this territorial consortium? Involvement of farmers, or rather farmworkers, in the conservation of the land. It is already the consortium’s responsibility to ensure the safety of the land and to this end it carries out hydraulic and maintenance work. But protection of the land cannot be separated from the direct participation of those who live on it, especially in rural areas.

Let’s take a step back.

Italy has signed up to the EU’s territorial cohesion programme and has an Agency whose mandate is to promote “economic development and social cohesion, facilitating cooperation between institutions and the establishment of strategic partnerships among those involved in order to bridge the territorial gap within the country and strengthen the administrative capacity of local and regional government”.

The Agency organized “A strategy for Internal Areas in Italy” with the aim of preserving the  more  remote  rural  areas,  which have  historically  been deprived  of  many  public services (healthcare, schools, transport…),  and experienced  a  lengthy  and  steady  period  of  abandonment  in  favour  of  urban  areas,  with  high  social  costs  in  terms  of  hydro-geological  instability,  decay  and  soil  consumption. Continua a leggere “Recognizing the importance of farmworkers in protecting the land”

SIP FORUM – Two candidates for an internship in Brussels!

Through its Gruppo Suolo Europa (European Soil Group) the SIP Forum aims to create study opportunities on subjects related to the soil/land/landscape and the related European aspects. On March 1st a specific call went out from the SIP Forum website.

 15 people expressed interest, and of these 9 sent in a CV. Seven agreed to be interviewed online by 2 GSE members.

The qualities assessed were: self presentation (personal characteristics, ability to express yourself); professional competence; comprehension (the Forum’s draft legislation, Round Table at the EP); ability to summarize (and give an account in English).

Out of the 7 candidates, several of whom were very strong, two candidates emerged who began a preparatory phase in the first week of April. Continua a leggere “SIP FORUM – Two candidates for an internship in Brussels!”

GNDE (Civil Society) ≠ GNE (European Commission): Vive la différence! : “Normality is the problem”

In the climate of uncertainty created by Covid 19 we are living in a waiting situation. It’s almost as if we are on a starting line waiting for the starting gun. But going where? To start everything all over again as before, once restrictions and limitations have been lifted? This tragedy – which has already seen tens of thousands of deaths –  must, and we repeat must make us reflect on and reconsider our way of life. The hardest hit generation is the oldest, those very people who in the postwar period enabled an oasis of happiness to be built in Europe. This oasis of peace, solidarity and mutual understanding is called the European Union. It was their energy and sacrifices that allowed us to lead a life of dignity, based on values that are the envy of those who are not part of the EU. It was they who provided healthcare, food and education for all, with no ifs or buts. And we are letting them be taken first. The carehomes of many countries – whether as a result of political decisions or for other reasons – are not getting the healthcare support they need. We are not trying to be critical, we are just asking people to spare a thought for these elderly people who are alone in the last moments of their lives, without the presence and comfort of their loved ones.

Policies based on profiting from the dismantling of the public sphere have led to the state of disintegration that we we see before us. The approach of “There Is No Alternative” has failed, as has that of unchecked globalization. At moments of crisis we turn to the state and to its ability to regulate not only the health emergency but also the economic survival of businesses and individuals. Continua a leggere “GNDE (Civil Society) ≠ GNE (European Commission): Vive la différence! : “Normality is the problem””

Report of the Conference on the Soil 25/11/2019

The report on the Conference on the Soil of 25 November 2019 – Soil and the SDGs: challenges and need for action – has now been published. We invite all to read this excellent summary of the discussions and speeches. Here we want to concentrate on the two pages of recommendations: on their own they could be regarded as the programme to be inserted into the GDE planning which as yet does not pay much attention to the soil.

There are four chapters listing the actions to be undertaken. Let us read carefully what is proposed.

 How should we act? Continua a leggere “Report of the Conference on the Soil 25/11/2019”

Experiences from other European States: Open Letter from the Farmworkers’ Confederation (France)

The Farmworkers’ Confederation is a French agricultural trade union whose purpose is to defend all kinds of farmworkers. The union, which has a national regional and local presence in the country, is a founder member of the European section of Via Campesina.  In this period of crisis for the whole farming sector caused by Covid19, on 20 March the union published a letter with the unambiguous title: «Coronavirus: The need to reinvent our farming and food systems».

The letter is highly significant and the analysis it puts forward enables us to reflect profoundly on our future, and not just in farming. We reproduce some important passages below.

The coronavirus crisis has shown that many areas of our daily lives must be removed from the logic of global competition, the search for profit at any cost, the financialization of the real economy and the specialization of land use.

If we continue to pillage natural resources, and to consider the earth, its fertility and its workforce like any other product, to produce food as if it were a standardized industrial product that can be traded all over the world, how are we going to live in the face of the collapse of biodiversity, and the health and agronomic impacts of climate change? […]

If we continue to patent living things and hand over the production of seeds to multinationals, what will happen in times of crisis if we don’t have control over the basis of our food supplies?

If we continue to build internationalized supply chains, where the smallest economic, health and climatic shock generates catastrophic market volatility, how can we guarantee fair, stable and secure prices for the farmworkers who supply our food here and elsewhere? Continua a leggere “Experiences from other European States: Open Letter from the Farmworkers’ Confederation (France)”

Compost + cultivation = increased storage of organic C in the soil

An interesting and important study conducted for 19 years by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, found that practices that increase soil organic carbon, such as the use of compost, help increase long-term soil carbon storage.

By moving beyond the surface level and literally digging deep, scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that compost is a key to storing carbon in semi-arid cropland soils, a strategy for offsetting CO2 emissions.

Briefly:cerchio carbonio suolo

  1. Conventional soils neither release nor store much carbon.
  2. Cover cropping conventional soils, while increasing carbon in the surface 12 inches, can actually lose significant amounts of carbon below that depth.
  3. When both compost and cover-crops were added in the organic-certified system, soil carbon content increased 12.6 percent over the length of the study, or about 0.07 percent annually.

That is more than the international “4 per 1000” initiative, which calls for an increase of 0.04 percent of soil carbon per year. It is also far more carbon stored than would be calculated if only the surface layer was measured. Continua a leggere “Compost + cultivation = increased storage of organic C in the soil”