Newsletter n.48


1.EXPERIENCES:  Food production without soil 


3.NEWS ABOUT THE SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: Report on the implementation of the 7th Action plan for the environment



Food production without soil

Some of our readers have posed the following question: “Why should we worry about the soil when the future of food production will be in factories/farms located inside buildings that are closed off and very tightly controlled?”

This question is not intended to provoke; rather it reflects a reality that is growing more concrete by the day. You just need to watch this three-minute YouTube video showing productive ‘vertical farms‘ that have been created inside industrial warehouses. These closed sites contain huge metal shelving units or purpose-built structures on which grow plants without soil, with special mechanisms that distribute to the roots of the plants misted water containing all the substances they need to grow. The water ‘irrigates’ the reusable cloth made from recycled plastic on which the plants grow, while the light comes from special lamps; there is no risk of pests or diseases. In addition the sites are easier for people to work in (the shelves can be raised and lowered automatically so they are at the right height) and the whole thing is controlled by sensors connected to computers running the necessary programs. These structures are located not on Mars but in the centres of our cities, allowing the products to be distributed with almost no food miles. Continua a leggere “Food production without soil”

SIP Forum: ‘Let no one sleep’ …

Following the publication of the Forum’s Draft Law meetings, debates and discussions were held in a number of Italian cities. Unfortunately, the political situation remains uncertain. The programme of the incoming government is a list of good intentions in which the soil is specifically mentioned and dealt with at some length (Chapter 4 – The environment, the green economy and zero waste) and with a wealth of detail. Some of the points made pick up ideas that are present in the text of the SIP Forum’s draft law.

We should perhaps be pleased about this, but we should not deceive ourselves that political initiatives alone will lead to the introduction of a new law of the soil. It has not happened so far and it will not happen now unless civil society takes up the principles for safeguarding the soil, the land and the landscape that are set out in the Forum’s Draft Law. Continua a leggere “SIP Forum: ‘Let no one sleep’ …”

European Dimension: …. A resounding silence greets the Scientists’ 2nd Warning to Humanity

The second warning from scientists and academics on the state of the planet received scant media attention. This is despite the fact that 15,000 of them from 184 different countries signed up to the “Second Warning” to alert humanity to the risks that face it. At least in Italy we have some excuse, given our preoccupation with the failure to qualify for the World Cup and the tortuous path to elections and the formation of a new government …

This is the second such Warning. The first, in  1992, was signed by a “mere” 1700 scientists. But even back then the world was being warned about the degradation of natural resources. The new warning is even more chilling. It lists the problems to be tackled in a way that is both concise and dramatic: Continua a leggere “European Dimension: …. A resounding silence greets the Scientists’ 2nd Warning to Humanity”

Report on the implementation of the 7th action plan for the environment

As we have seen in previous articles, the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission (DG Env) works on the basis of multi-annual programmes that are approved by the EU. The current Action plan for the environment, which is the 7th, (2014-2020), sets out the objectives that the EU and its Member States must achieve by 2020.

The report containing the assessment of the Action plan by ENVI (the European Parliament’s Commission for the environment, public health and food safety) makes interesting reading. Based on a number of reports produced by the European institutions (DG Env, Court of Auditors, European Environment Agency, etc.), the report sets out the situation for each of the plan’s objectives and gives recommendations for the better implementation of future Action plans. Officially approved at the end of February, with just one vote against and 3 abstentions, the ENVI report includes a proposal for a resolution in the European Parliament. Continua a leggere “Report on the implementation of the 7th action plan for the environment”


Do you want the good news or the bad news?

In the November 2017 Newsletter we wrote about the fight to save the Forest of Bialowieza in Poland. The mass felling of trees was declared illegal by the European Court of Justice and the exploitation of the forest must end immediately on pain of heavy fines or even custodial sentences. The Polish government was obliged to intervene in order to put a stop to the operations that had already started.

Unfortunately, however, although the forest is starting to be protected, the same cannot be said of those who fought against this act of profiteering. Indeed their acts of civil disobedience are deemed to be punishable by law and they have also continued to be the object of threats and violence. Court proceedings against them are already starting, as if they were the ones responsible for the illegal exploitation. We must not leave them to face this alone!

For further information:

European networks

In the previous Newsletter we wrote about the structure of the organization Terre de Liens in France. We have been asked to give further information about the structure at European level. The European network that has developed includes a number of different organizations in various European countries, including Italy.

Without claiming to be in any way exhaustive, we are pleased to introduce the best-known ones here, and we invite readers to look at their websites to obtain more information about their activities, projects and structures. Continua a leggere “European networks”

4 per 1000 Initiative: regeneration International

Keeping carbon in the ground is the challenge that the 4 per 1000 Initiative has set itself for the climate and for food. In addition to the political and international support this initiative has received, it has also attracted the support of Regeneration International. This is an international non-profit NGO whose members include well-known figures such as Andre Leu, Vandana Shiva, Hans Herren …

The aim of Regeneration is the relaunch of regenerative farming practices in order to revive local economies and to rebuild the fertility of the soil and biodiversity. In a healthy global ecosystem, regenerative farming and soil use practices give new energy to the planet and allow the world to be fed in a setting of public health, prosperity and peace. Their aims are summed up in their motto: “Cool the Planet. Feed the world.” Continua a leggere “4 per 1000 Initiative: regeneration International”