organic farming

Grand Challenges in Environmental Research

Date: February 26

Time: 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Title: Sustaining our future: with or without GM?

Speakers: Lord Peter Melchett – Policy Director at the Soil Association; Professor John Crawford – SGCS Scientific Director of the Delivering Sustainable Systems programme at Rothamsted Research

Join us for our seminar on the future of food with Peter Melchett, the policy director of the Soil Association – a UK organic foods and farming organisation. He will be joined by John Crawford, leader of the Institute Strategic Programme on Delivering Sustainable Systems at Rothamsted Research. Together we will discuss how we can continue to feed our growing population. Can technical approaches such as GM sustain a projected population of 10 billion, or will we need to return to alternative approaches, such as organic farming?

Short talks and a panel discussion, followed by wine and nibbles

A seminar series organised by DPhil students on the NERC Doctoral Training Programme

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A new book on organic farming in India is coming out in October, written by Oxford Univeristy alum, Sapna Thottathil.

Should you buy organic food? Is it just a status symbol, or is it really better for us? Is it really better for the environment? What about organic produce grown thousands of miles from our kitchens, or on massive corporately owned farms? Is “local” or “small-scale” better, even if it’s not organic? A lot of consumers who would like to do the right thing for their health and the environment are asking such questions.

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Women who always or mostly eat organic foods have the same likelihood of developing cancer as women who eat conventionally produced foods, according to a study by Oxford's Cancer Epidemiology Unit.

Kathryn Bradbury, Professor Tim Key and colleagues found no evidence that regularly eating a diet that was grown free from pesticides reduced a woman's overall risk of cancer.

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A new paper by Lindsay Turnbull shows that organic farming increases species richness by about 30%.

The study was a meta-analysis that compared biodiversity under organic and conventional farming methods, mainly in Europe and North America. The authors note that more studies need to be carried in the Developing World to see if the same results would apply.

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By Lindsay Turnbull, University of Oxford

Organic farming is a trade off: it prohibits the use of certain chemicals and inorganic fertilisers, which usually results in lower yields, and hence higher prices. With arguments about health benefits inconclusive, one might ask what reasons there are to pay the organic premium.

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People » Lindsay Turnbull

Associate Professor & Tutorial Fellow, Queen’s College

Lindsay’s research interests focus on how and why plant species differ from one another and what the consequences are for ecosystems.

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Organic farming is generally good for wildlife but does not necessarily have lower overall environmental impacts than conventional farming, a new analysis led by Dr Hanna Tuomisto, at Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), has shown.

The researchers analysed data from 71 studies published in peer-reviewed journals that compared organic and conventional farms in Europe.

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