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Developments in Organic agriculture in the Pacific Islands
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Indigenous methods of food preparation: what is their impact on food security and nutrition? | Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) - FAO

Indigenous methods of food preparation: what is their impact on food security and nutrition? | Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) - FAO | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
Indigenous methods of food preparation: what is their impact on food security and nutrition? | Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) - FAO (Indigenous methods of food preparation: what is their impact on food security and nutrition?
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asks the question: can we consider indigenous methods of food preparation as a viable means for achieving food security and nutrition in rural poor communities? 

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Sustainable Agricultural Intensification: A Practical Solution for the Global Development Agenda - Global Food for Thought

Sustainable Agricultural Intensification: A Practical Solution for the Global Development Agenda - Global Food for Thought | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
By Sir Gordon Conway Professor of International Development, Agriculture for Impact, Imperial College London This originally appeared on Huffington Post.
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It’s Raining Organic

It’s Raining Organic | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it

Trends: With a growing awareness of the benefits of making organic a way of life, most localities in Bangalore now boast an organic store, sometimes even more than one, finds Bhumika K.

It’s there in your vegetables, it’s there in your spices, your tea, even in your sambar powder. It’s in your jam, dal, millet-bread, atta…it’s in your clothes too. But more than ever it’s on your mind. And it’s a word called ‘organic’ that’s becoming a whole new way of life — of benefitting from going back to your roots.

Bangalore is seeing a quick sprouting of organic stores, not just in its large shopping hubs, but also in smaller localities and neighbourhoods. A lot more people seem to be catching on to the organic mantra each day, and as word spreads, and demand increases, there’s a store at an arm’s reach for most people in the city. In late 2012, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) stated that Bangalore had 68 retail shops selling organic produce — including dedicated outlets as well as those which have sizeable space earmarked for organic produce. See any supermarket and you will be sure to find a section dedicated to organic. Even online stores have a separate section of organic products.

While earlier, people only had a Namdhari’s Fresh to turn to for organic veggies, now a lot more effort is going into making daily living as natural and therefore as healthy as possible, turning life safe and chemical-free, leaving a minimal carbon footprint, about caring for the earth that gives you so much. So much so that most daily usage products are turning organic — from milk and meat, to washing powders and floor cleaners. Smart entrepreneurs are using organic ingredients to make readymade food mixes — an organic imagination has taken wing and there’s no end to creatively exploring possibilities of what comes out of the organic magic-bag.

 

“A lot more people are making organic a part of their routine — they know it’s good for them and the planet,” confirms Ami Patel, category head-home, Mother Earth. At their Domlur store, where they have stocked organic products since 2009, food, specially staples, are pretty popular. “Some regular clientele buy their monthly groceries from us, while many others look for specifics.” They have a range of around 200 food products, but they have around 100 non-food products, including house cleaning and personal care items like lotions and shampoos. It’s a slowly, but steadily catching up trend. Vijay Grover, co-founder of Bangalore Organic Store, talks of how they have now diversified into organic clothing, specially innerwear. “People with allergies seem to prefer organic clothing. We have also begun to stock t-shirts,” he says. They initially set up an online-only store. But the demand was such that they had to open up a retail nook as well in Cox Town.

“We realised there is a demand here in Bangalore, among the IT crowd. The younger generation, specially pregnant women and young mothers, are willing to spend on organic products. So we concentrated a lot on baby food and oatmeal,” says Grover. He also points to another trend in the organic market: “People are willing to pay more for branded products because they are certified organic, rather than unbranded, though we source from trusted growers.” People are also suspicious of adulteration in cooking oils, and so cold-pressed organic cooking oils have caught people’s imagination, he offers. A lot of new customers come looking for organic foods, based on a dietician’s recommendations.

Ridhima Peravali, who works for a non-profit organisation, has been in Bangalore two years. She used organic products even while she lived in the U.S.A for three years. “Earlier I shopped at Era Organics near my home in Dollar’s Colony and now I shop at Buffalo Back in Malleswaram, which is on my way back from my workplace. The only thing I find difficult to find on a consistent basis here in India is organic vegetables. They are available only select days a week, and there is actually a queue for them!” Her parents come from an agricultural family in Bihar and they were aware of what kind of pesticides go into crops; she also buys organic sugar because it’s sulphur-free. “Moreover, in India, organic products cost only 1.5 times more than non-organic, while in the West, prices are almost thrice as much.”

The reasons for consumers to go organic may be many. Manjunath Pankkaparambil, owner of Lumiere, an organic restaurant and store in Marathahalli, gives credit to Aamir Khan’s episode on organic food in the Satyameva Jayate TV series, as well as events like BioFach organic exhibitions, in raising consumer awareness about the advantages of consuming organic. “It is not just fashionable to be organic, people are understanding it.” There are many newcomers each day at his store who come on friends’ recommendations. Manjunath says a lot of older customers have the time to understand the concept of organic and have tasted the goodness of it before. Apart from fresh vegetables grown on their own organic farm, Lumiere also sells organic chicken and eggs from their organic poultry farm. They also take orders online — about 50 people order over the weekend.

The Jaivik Krishik Society runs perhaps what is one of the oldest outlets in the city selling organic (since 2006) — surprisingly, it’s a state-run enterprise. It’s an offspring of the State’s horticulture department, with a supply network of over 300 farmers. It also has the advantageous location of being in Lal Bagh. Harish, senior manager at the Jaivik Mall, says their footfalls total 50 every day, mostly from the early morning walkers in the park. “We have a whole variety of rice, wheat, dals, millets and pulses grown all over Karnataka. On Friday and Saturday we have vegetables too. Because it’s grown locally and we purchase directly from farmers, our products are priced much lesser than other branded ones. Yet, new customers ask us why organic is priced so high. But they are convinced when we tell them about the way yield drops when a farmer starts organic cultivation, and how much more effort it takes to raise such a crop.”

 


Via Giri Kumar
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Steve Kingsley's curator insight, July 20, 2013 8:26 PM
It’s Raining Organic - in India too!
Susan Sharma's curator insight, March 1, 2014 1:09 AM

Grow your own vegetables organically in your backyard or balcony.   There can be no better certificate for the organic food you consume from your own produce.

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Benefits of Organic Farming

Benefits of Organic Farming | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it

Benefits of Organic Farming

The benefits of organic farming are manifold. First, organic farming benefits people directly by producing safe, nutritious foods that are free from the potentially harmful chemicals used in synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Second, organic farming also benefits the environment by utilizing methods that help preserve biodiversity and conserve natural resources such as soil, water, and energy.

Given the relatively higher cost of operating organic farms and gardens, more and more people are still turning to the practice of organic farming. Incidentally, more and more people are also consuming organically grown products. Obviously, both are due in large part to the fact that the perceived benefits of producing and consuming organic products far outweigh the disadvantages.

So why do many farmers insist on practicing organic agriculture techniques when conventional methods and practices are currently more profitable?

By working in harmony with nature, organic farming delivers long-term benefits to people and the environment. Compared with conventional agriculture, it preserves soil fertility more effectively. Organic farming also uses methods for controlling pests and diseases that do not harm the environment. By not using synthetic chemicals, organic farming ensures that the local water supply remains safe and clean. By utilizing only readily available resources, organic farmers get to save the money that will otherwise be spent for additional farming inputs.

The benefits of organic farming are highlighted when considered in the context of conventional agriculture’s negative effects. In conventional agriculture, synthetic chemicals from pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides gets easily transported from the soil to the water system, polluting rivers, lakes, and other water courses. Prolonged exposure to synthetic fertilizers depletes the soil’s organic matter content, which in turn reduces the soil’s resistance to erosion. Prolonged use of synthetic fertilizers also makes soils too dependent on the chemicals such that more amounts of fertilizer are needed every year just to harvest the same yield level. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers destroy most microorganisms in the soil—even the beneficial ones—resulting to poor soil structure and deficient nutrient content. Synthetic and health-damaging chemicals tend to stay in the soil, eventually entering the food chain to be consumed by humans.

To effectively deliver the potential benefits of organic farming, farmers rely heavily on sustainable agricultural techniques such as green manure, composting, crop rotation, and natural methods of weed, pest, and fungus control. While employing these techniques, organic farmers also strictly restrict the use of genetically-modified organisms (GMO’s) and synthetic chemicals, thereby ensuring the harvesting of healthy, nutritious produce.

To conserve and enhance soil quality, organic farmers use recycled and composted crop wastes and manure. Organic farmers also practice crop rotation. To control pests, diseases and weeds, organic farmers plan crop sequence and use resistant varieties. Farmers also allow natural predators to control plant pests first before seriously using organic pesticides.

Given these benefits, there are also downsides to organic farming, however. For one thing, organic produce costs considerably more than their commercial counterparts simply because organic farming is costlier to operate. Nonetheless, given the consistently demonstrated environmental benefits of organic crops, at least trying them out is good choice, especially for people who can afford them or who care deeply for the environment and biodiversity.


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Agro-ecology, Food Security, and Common sense

Agro-ecology, Food Security, and Common sense | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
Agro-ecology is the common sense approach to food security “There is no agricultural challenge that we can’t solve with an agro‐ecological approach.”  “The industrial mindset is the underlying psychological state that drives the development of technologies...

Via Cathryn Wellner, Alan Yoshioka
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Jeremy Cherfas's curator insight, April 3, 2013 6:26 AM

Preaching to the choir, but a good sermon nonetheless (apart from the well-dodgy ligtures).

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Storm Surges, Rising Seas Could Doom Pacific Islands This Century ...

Storm Surges, Rising Seas Could Doom Pacific Islands This Century ... | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
Atolls and other low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean may not slip under the waves but they will likely become uninhabitable due to overwashing waves.
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Women In Business's comment, April 14, 2013 5:15 PM
We need to get ready for these extreme sea changes.
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Composting Guidelines for Beginners

Composting Guidelines for Beginners | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
It seems everyone is concerned about the environment and trying to reduce their “carbon footprint”.  Let us hope that this trend will continue and grow as a worldwide phenomen...

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Noor Fatima's curator insight, April 10, 2013 7:12 AM

 Let us hope that this trend will continue and grow as a worldwide phenomen.....:)

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Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly

Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
A middle-school experiment using fruit flies and organic foods has won publication in a national scientific journal and spurred a debate about the relative benefits of organic eating. (I now have publication envy!
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Organic box schemes are growing – but are they still the ethical ...

Organic box schemes are growing – but are they still the ethical ... | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
Sales of organic vegetable boxes are on the increase, but the produce isn't always local or seasonal – and the scheme may be run by a major retailer rather than a trusted farmer.
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Cosgrove calls for EU-style Pacific Islands link - Australia - News - Islands Business magazine

Cosgrove calls for EU-style Pacific Islands link - Australia - News - Islands Business magazine | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
Australia should embrace the Pacific Island nations in a regional economic structure based loosely on the European... http://t.co/zRgrpd24E1
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International Symposium on Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Development

International Symposium on Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Development | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it
Bioversity International and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences are organizing the International Symposium on Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Development.

Via Luigi Guarino
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Antibiotics in Organics -- News from Portland, Clarifications and Amplification

Antibiotics in Organics -- News from Portland, Clarifications and Amplification | Pacific organic agriculture | Scoop.it

Sparks really flew at the National Organic Standards Board meeting in Portland, Oregon yesterday. In one of the most contentious issues to come before the organic community in many years, the continued use of antibiotics (oxytetracycline) on tree fruit was on the agenda.

 

Apple growers from Washington State petitioned the USDA to allow for the continued use of oxytetracycline to control fire blight on apple and pear trees.

 

Medical experts testified that environmental contamination, by using air blast sprayers to apply the same antibiotics as humans depend on, over wide acreage, is a significant danger in developing antibiotic resistant bacteria.

 

Consumers are understandably concerned...


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Sepp Hasslberger's curator insight, April 14, 2013 4:09 PM

Antibiotics on US organic apples?

Women In Business's comment, April 14, 2013 5:14 PM
Concerns that spraying antibiotics on fruit will develop anitbiotic resistant bacteria