Thursday, 11 December 2014

Soil Association field labs (online)

Soil Association Field Labs

What are field labs?

We believe that agricultural research should tackle the real problems farmers face and help them make the best of the resources they have to hand. For this reason field labs put the farmer at the heart of the research. We bring farmers and growers together with a researcher and facilitator to focus on research questions. The aims are to work out effective practical approaches to tackling a problem in sustainable farming, learn how to do more effective DIY trials and identify real gaps where academic research could make a crucial difference. The major difference between a field lab and an advisory meeting or farm walk is that you will be directly testing solutions rather than just discussing the issues or relying on off-the-peg answers. Field labs are open to all farmers and growers.

Community engaged scientists (online)

Global Alliance on Community-Engaged Research (GACER)

The Global Alliance on Community-Engaged Research was created by representatives of universities, networks and civil society organizations in 2008. The network aims to advance the common global purpose of using knowledge and community-university partnership strategies for democratic social and environmental change and justice, particularly among the most vulnerable people and places of the world. An added purpose is to see how the voice of majority world researchers and activists can be prominent in the emerging global networks. All of this is with the aim of strengthening the capacity of grass roots organizations to make a difference in the pressing and complex issues of poverty, violence, climate change, injustice, and health throughout the world.

Global extent of urban agriculture (#journal)

Global assessment of urban and peri-urban agriculture: irrigated and rainfed croplands 

This study integrates global data on croplands and urban extents using spatial overlay analysis to estimate the global area of urban and peri-urban croplands. The global area of urban irrigated croplands was estimated at about 24 Mha (11.0 percent of all irrigated croplands). The global area of urban rainfed croplands found was approximately 44 Mha (4.7 percent of all rainfed croplands). This suggests urban agriculture is more important than previously estimated. Further analysis of croplands within 20 km of urban areas show that 60 and 35 percent of, respectively, all irrigated and rainfed croplands fall within this distance range. (I have no idea why this has all appeared in capital letters, sorry!)

Permaculture Voices Conference 2015

How can you change the world if you can’t make a living in the process? 

It’s too common for people within the permaculture movement to do work that they care about, but scrape by financially. And the reality is that type of lifestyle isn’t sustainable – the values are there, but the economics are not. Can you make a living from a career that aligns with your values? We believe you can. Our mission is to help people who embrace permaculture’s ethics to make a profitable and comfortable living doing work that aligns with who they are and what they stand for. And we believe that when more people start doing that type of work, then we change the world. The Permaculture Voices Conference 2015 is a catalyst for that change.

Getting people to face climate change (book)

Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change 

Why, despite overwhelming scientific evidence, do we still ignore climate change? And what does it need for us to become fully convinced? George Marshall argues that the answers to these questions do not lie in the things that make us different, but in what we all share: how our human brains are wired, our perceptions of threats, our love of storytelling, our fear of death, and our deepest instincts to defend our family and tribe. Marshall shows how the scientific facts of climate change can become less important to us than the social facts – the views of the people who surround us.  Once we understand what excites, threatens, and motivates us, we can rethink climate change, for it is not an impossible problem. Rather, it is one we can halt if we can make it our common purpose and common ground.

Ethics, welfare and permaculture (journal)

Ethical Intuitions, Welfare, and Permaculture 
A recent editorial from Environmental Values discusses how permaculture ethics and practices naturally result in improved animal welfare. 'Rather than bend the other to our will to produce exactly the cut of meat or feed to weight ratio we desire... we look for intelligent synergies where lots of organisms get to flourish. We don’t need impaired plants or animals, like terminator genes bred in crop seeds and blind hens, because intelligent design of the whole system can use the land forms and weather patterns and the natural behaviours of animals and plants for both their and our benefit.'

Transitions to agricultural sustainability (book)

Transition Pathways towards Sustainability in Agriculture

 Based on the research of an interdisciplinary team of sociologists, geographers and economists, this book focuses on understanding farming transitions in Europe. The book discusses the importance of understanding transition pathways towards sustainability using case studies from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Assessing the utility of the multi-level perspective in transition theory for addressing contemporary issues, the book identifies future research needs and possible approaches, making this an essential read for researchers interested in issues of agricultural change.

Future Earth Research Agenda (online)

Future Earth Strategic Research Agenda 2014

Future Earth is a global research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world. Bringing together existing programmes on global environmental change, Future Earth is an international hub to coordinate new, interdisciplinary approaches to research. Future Earth's Strategic Research Agenda 2014 is the outcome of a year-long global consultation. Launched ahead of key 2015 policy processes on climate change and new global Sustainable Development Goals, the document calls for a step-change in research to address serious environmental, social and economic threats. It urges the private sector, governments and civil society to work with researchers to co-design and co-produce a more agile global innovation system. The plan is the outcome of an unprecedented global consultation over the past year.

Sustainable land use evaluation tool (report)

EcoAgriculture Partners teamed up with TerrAfrica to develop this comprehensive M&E currriculum, which is designed to help project leaders in landscape initiatives throughout Africa build the knowledge and capacities of professionals to conduct appropriate, engaging, and cost-effective monitoring and evaluation of their sustainable land management projects. Loaded with links to sample presentations, case studies, training materials, and M&E tools, and including easy to print handouts and exercises, this curriculum is built to work for landscape leaders. The curriculum is relevant to anybody seeking a course plan or guidance in developing and carrying out a community-based, team-focused M&E protocol with high levels of engagement and feedback.

How community food projects succeed (report)

Measuring Your Social Impact: Community Food Projects in Action

This new short paper shares insights on what makes community food projects successful and outlines lessons that can be drawn for others. It suggests how community groups can demonstrate social impacts, in particular the connectedness of the social networks that groups nurture and sustain.The research found that the Incredible Edible project has engaged local communities in Yorkshire in a refreshing way, using growing to encourage people to play a more active role in shaping their place. It is the connectedness and commitment to taking action in a local community which is valuable – but it is also the hardest thing to measure. The report recommends how community-led groups can overcome two common challenges by using network analysis to measure social impact.