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What are the successful strategies for calculating the true price of farming landscape restoration at the price of food: Food Security Policy and Management Thesis, UCC, Ireland

University University College Cork (UCC)
Subject Food Security Policy and Management

What are the successful strategies for calculating the true price of farming landscape restoration at the price of food?

  • Who experiences it as a problem?

Dairy farmers mostly and around Amsterdam (municipalities of Amstelveen, Amsterdam, Ouder-Amstel, Waterland, and Weesp). These farmers are working to enhance soil microbiology, reduce input such as fertilizer, and contribute to biodiversity, restore the ecological functions of the peat-meadow farm landscape.

  • When did the problem arise?
  • Where does the problem occur?
  • Why is it a problem? What are the consequences?
  • How did the problem occur? What are the causes?

Farmers within a radius of 12km from Amsterdam produce enough milk and some food crops such as apples, and tea to supply the food needs of Amsterdam and its surrounding towns and villages. Farmers from this community cannot determine how much they could sell their farm products in relation to the cost of restoring their farm landscape to healthier biodiverse farmland.

The soil around Amsterdam is peat. The meadow environment surrounding Amsterdam, according to Amsterdam Ecology, is rich in peat soil and has a high biodiversity value. Peat oxidation is one of the most difficult issues in preserving these meadows. The layer of peat exposed to air is caused by a low water table that lets farmers early excess on the field in early spring. The consequent rise of anaerobic conditions allows various decomposers, particularly fungus and bacteria, to destroy peat, resulting in soil sinking and increased CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Land subsidence has the potential to have a significant influence on regional water quality (because of salinization) and the discharge of surplus water following heavy precipitation events (due to less time to discharge water at low tide in the Wadden Sea). A rise in the water table is a logical step to stop peat deterioration. Peat meadows are home to cows, windmills, and (migrating) bird populations. However, the intensification of farming activities and systemic dewatering have turned Holland’s western peat meadows into ‘green deserts’ where biodiversity declines whilst farmers also struggle to make a living (Commonland, 2018).

Farmers around this area together with their partners are looking for ways to increase the water table using flooded ditches and go back to the natural ways of farming(organic). This method is costly and labor-intensive, hence MOMA Amsterdam and its network of farmers want to establish the true price of foods in relation to landscape restoration around a radius of 12km off Amsterdam.

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