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21 May 2020

Continuing the topical conversation on the future of farming, the OF&G has produced maps comparing the currently-supported approach of ‘land sparing’ – enabling nature to thrive in some areas whilst amping up intensive agricultural production – with ‘land sharing’, integrating agriculture and environment as in agroecology.

In other #BuildBackBetter news, George Monbiot suggests the crisis has highlighted that a knowledge of ecology is vital and that earth systems should be at the heart of learning. Fieldwork in soil ecology is “an extraordinary and neglected subject upon which all life depends.” If you’d like to make a start on a soil education try our primary school activity ideas, suitable for complete beginners.

The farming community has been experiencing worry and confusion with the impact of the pandemic alongside development of radically redefined agriculture policy. Our friends at Agricology have produced a lovely video to Thank Our Farmers for their continued hard work at this time.

How has China managed to reverse desertification trends? A review of practices, outcomes and lessons learned from 60 years of desertification control in China has recently been published by the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Take a deep dive in to the role of soil bacteria in chickpea growth with Research Matters. An international research collaboration has found that local bacteria may out-compete introduced strains, with implications for tending of future chickpea crops.

For those still in search of educational diversions during lockdown, the Science Show hosts a discussion on soil carbon storage with Anna Hopkins, Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology & Environmental Science…

….and Cultivate Farms have produced this ‘interview with a legend of sustainable farming’ – Terry McCosker…

…whilst the fabulous Farmerama radio offer up an episode on ‘enlightened agriculture, sustainable economies and regenerative business’ alongside a bonus episode of their Cereals podcast focused on bread production.

Finally, don’t forget to register for the FAO Global Soil Partnership’s webinar on soil biodiversity as a nature-based solution, taking place later today! (22 May, 15.00-16.00 CEST).