The Science and Art of Composting with Bruno Follador from The Nature Institute

Bruno Follador from the Nature Institute in Ghent, New York talks about his path toward becoming an agricultural researcher focusing on the science and art of compost-making. Bruno takes a qualitative approach to farm-based composting and the importance of developing our sense for what makes good, vital compost. His approach is both pragmatic and inspired, and he encourages us to develop our own sense for what makes for good compost – which will contribute in turn to good soil, good plants and good food!

Researching Holistic Agroecology

Growing the future

  • Is our agriculture healthy? Is our culture healthy?
  • Are you concerned about either of these?
  • Do you want to develop research alongside your work?

Join a growing, international community of individuals committed to developing transformative research in a diverse range of holistic approaches to agroecology.

Make a difference

The MA in Philosophy of Social Innovation with a specialisation in Researching Holistic Agroecology is designed to foster and support research in the practical and social dimensions of agroecology (organics, permaculture, biodynamics, urban agriculture, etc.).

To find out more: click here to view the full flyer.

We Spent a Week in New York State with the Hawthorne Valley Association

Crossfields Institute spent a week in upstate New York working with the innovative Hawthorne Valley Association. Watch their inspiring short video here:

In the video you will meet Steffen Schneider, farmer and innovator – also a student on the Masters in Philosophy and Social Innovation, researching agroecology pathway. Our team is working with the Waldorf School located in this exciting and hardworking community:

Want sustainable food? It will take a new normal for farming


Shared by our hard working Crossfields International Associates, Touchstone Collaborations, who are returning from their research residency in South Africa. “This piece is published in collaboration with the academic journal Elementa. It is based on “Toward thick legitimacy: Creating a web of legitimacy for agroecology,” a peer-reviewed article published July 20 as part of Elementa’s New Pathways to Sustainability in Agroecological Systems forum.”

Agriculture in the UK post Brexit

Text: The dust has certainly been stirred up in the UK agriculture sector following the Brexit result of last Thursday. In my last blog post the big issue was the fate of Roundup and glyphosates in the EU – the renewal of the licence for these being delayed and a decision will rest on further study of potential negative effects of glyphosate in the food chain. A significant role, from an agroecological perspective, that has been played by the EU is the regulation of GMO’s and many member states have opted out of growing GMO’s. It remains to be seen what emerges in a Brexit UK. The NFU states on their website that farmers in the UK have been frustrated by an “excessive use of the precautionary principle” (see – article of 24.06.2016). Now that the vote has been cast what does this mean for consumers, who will want to be sure that developments in agriculture continue to be carefully scrutinized?

Glyphosate ban?

Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

It is reported in the Guardian this week (Recall of Monsanto’s Roundup likely as EU refuses limited use of glyphosate; Monday June 6) that a renewal of a licence for Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers is not going to be as straightforward as it’s producers would hope. There is growing concern about the hazards of glyphosates for the environment and indications of potential toxicity for humans, which is contributing to the potential that it will have to be withdrawn from sale and use. From an Agroecological perspective it is high time we took seriously more sustainable approaches to agriculture – shifting from those based on manipulation to those with an ethos of stewardship. Perhaps it is also time to redirect some of the vast amounts of money invested in chemical, industrial scale agriculture into some of the options that are better for both the environment and people?

Soil Sense

6163B610-330F-4386-AFDD8D8B4450B1ECSoil continues to draw attention and respect for the role it plays in mediating and moderating climate extremes. In a year that has seen quite a number of extreme weather and climate events blogs such as the one by Esther Ngumbi, posted this week on the Scientific American website, serve to highlight the role that microbes can play in developing resilient soils. This article alludes to the role that big companies are playing in making microbial rich products available to growers, but it underplays the potential for small scale, agroecological approaches – the re-establishment of sound composting practices and soil stewardship. A number of our postgraduate students are currently active in researching this route toward building good, resilient soils, and on a scale that aims for good soil as well as good stewardship!

You can read more at: