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Plymouth business increases recycling to 97 per cent

Plymouth business increases recycling to 97 per cent | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
A CAFE with branches in Plymouth and Tavistock is now recycling 95 per cent of the waste it produces - and helping a local ice-cream factory into the bargain.

The Original Pasty House, run by...
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US campaigners hope to engineer GMO labeling laws - Phys.Org

US campaigners hope to engineer GMO labeling laws - Phys.Org | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
Phys.Org US campaigners hope to engineer GMO labeling laws Phys.Org Even though most processed foods now contain at least one genetically modified ingredient, there's no national requirement in the United States for manufacturers to disclose GM...
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Decision on GMO maize authorisation now with EC, says minister

Decision on GMO maize authorisation now with EC, says minister | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
Hungary re-affirms no #GMO crops will be gown there, despite "absurd drama" of EU Commision's position http://t.co/KDUAY6i1ye Last sentence
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'Organic' doesn't mean pesticides weren't used - Press of Atlantic City

'Organic' doesn't mean pesticides weren't used - Press of Atlantic City | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
'Organic' doesn't mean pesticides weren't used
Press of Atlantic City
Brian Leahy has an interesting history. In 1980, he operated a 900-acre organic rice farm in California.
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Fishing for our future

Fishing for our future | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
The development community is realising that we cannot move forward if we continue to think of agriculture and rural areas as backward (Investing in #rural people is essential for sustainable #development - #IFAD president
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The Activists Who Exposed A Chinese Factory Processing Endangered Whale Sharks Posed As Seafood Buyers

Activists posed as representatives of an international seafood company to get inside a mainland China building where hundreds of endangered whale sharks are processed. (We told you about the illegal whale shark trade in China.
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Marty's Market will sell only Watch list-approved seafood

Marty's Market will sell only Watch list-approved seafood | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
Pittsburghers are paying more attention to seafood. Penn Avenue Fish Co. is expanding its wholesale and retail business in the Strip District, and Fukuda in Bloomfield is filled with sushi fanatics late into the night.
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Organic farms support more species - Phys.Org

Organic farms support more species - Phys.Org | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
New Scientist Organic farms support more species Phys.Org 'Our study has shown that organic farming, as an alternative to conventional farming, can yield significant long-term benefits for biodiversity,' said Sean Tuck of Oxford University's...
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Organic produce could be worse for tropical wildlife - environment - 04 February 2014 - New Scientist

Organic produce could be worse for tropical wildlife - environment - 04 February 2014 - New Scientist | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
We have no clear picture of how organic farming affects tropical biodiversity because most research is in Europe, which has a very different farming (Organic produce could be worse for tropical wildlife than intensively farmed stuff.
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watching this with interest...

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Spade & Barrow achieves sustainable business model through imperfect produce

Spade & Barrow achieves sustainable business model through imperfect produce | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
New Melbourne based social wholesale food business, Spade & Barrow have developed a holistic approach to their operations by advocating a direct plough approach which ensures that farmers are able to harvest their entire crop - irrespective of size...
NoshPlanet's insight:

LIKE. Alot! So much food is wasted before it even leaves the paddock, and most suburban crops are wasted before they leave the backyard. This is an excellent initiative.

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Landrace Gardening: Survival of the Fittest - Organic Gardening - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Landrace Gardening: Survival of the Fittest - Organic Gardening - MOTHER EARTH NEWS | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
A photo essay showing off the stunning success of landrace gardening on my farm.

 

 

Landrace gardening is a traditional method of growing food in which the seeds to be planted next year result from the survival of the fittest in a particular garden in previous years. Landrace varieties become attached to a region, and thrive in that region. Landrace varieties are genetically variable so that as conditions change from year to year the population can adapt to the changes.

 

The first landrace crop that I grew was Astronomy Domine sweet corn. It was the product of a breeding project by Alan Bishop of Bishop’s Homegrown in Pekin, Indiana. The essence of the project was to throw as many cultivars of sweet corn as possible into a field, let them cross pollinate, and see what survived and how the descendants fared. Around 200 cultivars contributed their diversity to the gene pool. Some plants grew vigorously, many grew decent, and some struggled to survive. I saved seed from the parents that thrived and that did okay, and replanted the next year. The results were fantastic! I was hooked on growing genetically diverse crops and saving seeds from them.

My version of Astronomy Domine had diverged from the original version. My population is about ten days shorter season than the original. That is to be expected because in my cold mountain valley a crop has to produce quickly and thrive in cool nights if I am to get a harvest.

After the stunning success of the sweet corn project, I determined that I wanted to explore growing other varieties of localized landrace crops. Melons seemed like a good test project, because they have traditionally done poorly in my valley, and because they are highly popular. Melons are an out-breeding crop, so they cross-pollinate readily, and can produce huge numbers of genetically unique individuals. Generating lots of variety is one of the key principals of landrace gardening. More diversity provides more opportunities to find family groups that thrive in any particular garden.

To start the cantaloupe project, I gathered together the seeds from the few melons that had produced a fruit the previous year, and I added to them as many varieties as I could obtain: from local farm stands, from the Internet, from seed catalogs, from the grocery store. I planted a packet of seeds per row until I had planted a large patch of melons. Then I sat back and watched one melon disaster after another. Some varieties didn’t germinate. Some varieties were eaten by bugs within days of emerging. Others just sat there and shivered in the cold. Some individuals shrugged off the adverse growing conditions and grew robustly. The two best growing plants produced more fruit than the rest of the patch combined.

Here are photos that demonstrate the differences. Each seed was planted on the same day, a few feet from each other in the garden. The photos were taken a few minutes apart. The first photo shows what an average cantaloupe from a seed packet grows like in my garden. The second photo shows what a well adapted cantaloupe grows like in my garden (after only one year of selection).

 

 

I collected the seed from the best growing melons and replanted it. Oh my heck!!! I was used to trying to grow maladapted cantaloupes. I never imagined that cantaloupes might actually produce an abundant harvest for me: I was harvesting a hundred pounds of fruit at a time!

 

Early in the process of developing a locally adapted cantaloupe population, I was contacted by a grower who grows in the same mountain valley as my farm. Since that time, we have shared seeds liberally with each other. I trust her seeds implicitly, because we share the same climate, the same soil, the same altitude, the same bugs, and the same philosophy towards diversity. Her seeds thrive in my garden because our gardens are so similar. I love our collaboration. It is nice to see the grandchildren of my seeds coming back home to grow among their cousins. Half of the watermelon and cantaloupe seeds that I planted this spring were grown by her. She provided most of my sweet pepper seed. I am coming to favor the yellow watermelons that are emerging from the collaboration. They taste excellent and grow well in our valley. When did anyone ever say that before about watermelons in our valley?

 

The watermelon project included collaborators from around the world. We have shared seeds liberally among all participants. The most reliable imports into my garden have consistently came from the collaborator in my valley. To start the watermelon project, I planted around 700 seeds: A few seeds each from as many varieties as we could get our hands on. The first planting included the promiscuously pollinated hybrid offspring of hundreds of varieties. I harvested about 5 fruits the first year. That is great odds for a survival of the fittest plant breeding program. One of those fruits was from the variety of watermelon that my daddy has preserved for decades in our valley.

Because of my success with cantaloupes, I decided to convert all of my crops to locally-adapted survival-of-the-fittest landraces. Spinach was among the first crops that I converted. It was the simplest for me. I planted a number of varieties of spinach next to each other and weeded out the plants that were slow growing, or quick to bolt. About 4 of the 12 varieties were suitable for my garden. I allowed them to cross pollinate and set seed. This spring someone gave me a packet of spinach seeds so I thought I’d plant it next to my locally-adapted landrace to compare them. See that little speck of green that I marked with a red dot? That is the imported spinach: Already gone to seed. I pulled it and laid it next to my landrace spinach to demonstrate the huge difference in growth. They were planted on the same day a few feet from each other.

 

Sometimes when I start adapting a new crop to my garden, I import hundreds of varieties to trial. Other times I take a slow and steady approach, by growing one new cultivar in the row next to my crop. If the new variety does well then I save seeds from it and add them to the landrace. If the new variety does poorly, then it might contribute some pollen. I do not try to keep varieties pure, other than basic things like keeping hot peppers separate from sweet peppers, and sweet corn separate from popcorn. Turnips are a crop that I approached by the slow and steady method. They already grew well for me, so there wasn’t any reason to search far and wide for something that would do better. I plant another packet of seed every few years, and may include a couple of roots from the new strain among the seed-parents the following year.

 

The dry bean landrace has been fun for me because it is tremendously colorful. It draws lots of attention at the farmer’s market. I started it by planting beans, all jumbled up together from as many species and cultivars as I could acquire. I think that there were around 12 species, many of which I had never grown before. I planted them in hot weather, not knowing that some of them are cool-weather species. I didn’t know if they were bush beans or pole beans. Nevertheless, some of them grew very well and produced a harvest in my short growing season. I collected the seeds of the survivors and planted them a couple weeks ago. This year I am expecting them to do great, because I selected (mostly) for bush types whose parents thrived in my garden. I tend to give my crops names that describe the plant or its use, such as “dry bush bean landrace”. “Dry bean” describes what the crop is used for, “bush” describes how it grows, and “landrace” implies that it is genetically diverse and has been localized to my garden by passing the survival of the fittest test. Some crops can achieve the landrace label in my garden in one growing season, other crops may take many years before I could say that they are thriving in my garden.

 

I could write and write about how successful landrace gardening has been for me, but it would just be more of the same: The locally adapted plants thriving, and the imports from far away struggling to survive. I hope that this post has helped show in photos why I believe that landrace gardening is a path towards food security through common sense and traditional methods.

Next time I’ll write more about naming all the new plants that arise in a landrace garden.

Joseph Lofthouse grows vegetables in a cold mountain valley where he practices the art of landrace gardening in order to feed his community more effectively. 


Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/landrace-gardening-survival-zbcz1306.aspx#ixzz2pNcbQFvO


Via Giri Kumar
NoshPlanet's insight:

This is awesome. The fact that these plants - and their seeds - are able to behave as described is something that we might take for granted, yet this ability (and the right of people to 'experiment' in this way) is exactly what is under threat from legal ownership of seed strains. This is why we don't like #GMOs - not because of health concerns, because frankly we haven't seen any credible research that shows GMO DNA to be fundamentally different to non-GMO DNA - but because there is a moral issue at stake here.

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Eat Your Organic Veggies, Your Majesty - Huffington Post (blog)

Eat Your Organic Veggies, Your Majesty - Huffington Post (blog) | Sustainable food | Scoop.it

Eat Your Organic Veggies, Your Majesty"
A brand new gourmet food line, in partnership with an organic company, suppliers of fresh local produce - to the Queen!

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Sows and Soil: Building a Sustainable and Profitable Farm

Sows and Soil: Building a Sustainable and Profitable Farm | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
By Harry Stoddart, Stoddart Family Farm, Ontario, Canada The System of Rice Intensification drew last week to a close, but we continue discussing the challenges and means by which to increase produ...

 

 

http://blog.ecoagriculture.org/2013/09/30/stoddart_real-dirt/

 


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Brain scans suggest people can learn to like healthy foods

Brain scans suggest people can learn to like healthy foods | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
Brain scans of participants showed higher activation of reward centers shifted from high-calorie toward low-calorie food over a 6-month structured behavioral weight-loss program.
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Sweeping Commercial Fishing Bans Could Create Sea Change in Global Seafood Industry | Sustainable Brands

Sweeping Commercial Fishing Bans Could Create Sea Change in Global Seafood Industry | Sustainable Brands | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
A number of potentially game-changing restrictions have been placed on commercial fishing in recent weeks in an effort to preserve the integrity of marine ecosystems and the sustainability of fish stocks. The EU Fisheries Council placed trade restrictions on Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea for failing to regulate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, while Palau plans to ban all commercial fishing vessels from its waters.
NoshPlanet's insight:

For fisheries of this size and spread, trade intervention is a good tool to change behaviour. Big tick to this.

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French senator introduces draft law to ban all GM maize cultivation

French senator introduces draft law to ban all GM maize cultivation | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
French senator introduces draft law to ban all GM maize cultivation (French senator introduces draft law to ban all GM maize cultivation.
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Manatee's Wish Farms bucks trend, grows organic strawberries - Bradenton Herald

Manatee's Wish Farms bucks trend, grows organic strawberries - Bradenton Herald | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
Bradenton Herald
Manatee's Wish Farms bucks trend, grows organic strawberries
Bradenton Herald
Workers pick strawberries at Wish Farms in Duette.
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Organic farming 'boosts biodiversity and bees'

Organic farming 'boosts biodiversity and bees' | Sustainable food | Scoop.it

Organic farms support 34% more plant, insect and animal species on average compared with conventional farms, according to Oxford academics.

Researchers from the University of Oxford reviewed farm data going back 30 years and they concluded that organic farms yielded greater biodiversity benefits than intensively-farmed land.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, also found that on average, non-organic farms have about 50% fewer species of pollinators, such as bees, than organic farms.

“Our study has shown that organic farming, as an alternative to conventional farming, can yield significant long-term benefits for biodiversity,” said Sean Tuck, study lead author, of Oxford University’s department of plant sciences. “Organic methods could undoubtedly play a major role in halting the continued loss of diversity in industrialised nations.”

The report, entitled Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity, was completed using meta-analysis – a statistical technique that combines the results of different studies. It looked at data from 94 previous studies covering 184 farm sites dating back to 1989.

Louise Payton, policy officer at the Soil Association, said: “This is fantastic news for wildlife and confirms what we have been saying for years. We are suffering dramatic losses of wildlife all over the world so to know that organic farms have on average a third more species shows just how great a difference you can make by supporting organic agriculture and buying organic food. Our food systems are being threatened by the declines of bees and other pollinators - necessary for a third of the food that we eat.

Yet despite offering more benefits for the environment, UK organic farmers receive some of the lowest payments in farm subsidies across the whole of the EU, she added. “We are urging the government to redress this balance and ensure organic farmers in the UK are adequately supported in the new CAP.”

Source: fwi.co.uk

Publication date: 2/10/2014

 


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Sustainable seafood? Let's get smart

Chef Barton Seaver presents a modern dilemma: Seafood is one of our healthier protein options, but overfishing is desperately harming our oceans.
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The next move for SPC Ardmona: rethinking the business model?

The next move for SPC Ardmona: rethinking the business model? | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
The failure of Victorian fruit cannery SPC Ardmona (SPCA) to secure A$25 million from the federal government has led to heightened fears about the future of the company and the Goulburn Valley fruit growers…
NoshPlanet's insight:

Here's the thing: 'valuation' has been bandied around so much in this discussion over the past months (years?), but valuing a company, valuing the community fabric, and valuing the old orchards that look set to under the bulldozers all seem incomparable values. Why then do we only seem to focus on valuing the company? Perhaps we need better metrics. Or just better values.

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Chipotle Sales Up after Moves to Go Non-GMO

Chipotle Sales Up after Moves to Go Non-GMO | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
Chipotle is one of the only restaurants in the company that voluntary labels its GMO ingredients and its sales are moving up. (It Must Be What the People Want!
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Growing Insects: Farmers Can Help to Bring Back Pollinators - Yale Environment 360

Growing Insects: Farmers Can Help to Bring Back Pollinators - Yale Environment 360 | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
Yale Environment 360
Growing Insects: Farmers Can Help to Bring Back Pollinators
Yale Environment 360
With a sharp decline in pollinating insects, farmers are being encouraged to grow flowering plants that can support these important insects.
NoshPlanet's insight:

... and of course, not spraying poisonous crap all over the insects in the first place might help. Just a thought...

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Forget Salmon and Tuna—It's Time to Start Eating 'Trash Fish'

Forget Salmon and Tuna—It's Time to Start Eating 'Trash Fish' | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
The market and our palates need to catch up with changes in the marine ecosystem.
NoshPlanet's insight:

We love seeing articles like this. After all, one fish vs another is, for most people, a fashion thing. Pretty much any fish cooked with consideration can taste amazing - Chef Robert Clarke at The Fish Counter has performed miracles in this regard. Now, to invent a better term than 'trash fish' - otherwise it will remain an anti-fad, which isn't really that sustainable.

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Rosmann: Organic farming is here to stay | INFORUM | Fargo, ND

Last week I reported predictions about what the next few years hold for agriculture, derived from the plenary addresses of several experts at the Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health conference Nov. 19 in Ames, Iowa.

Today I offer my comments about what the nearby future looks like for agriculture. My opinions are those of a behavior specialist, health care researcher and provider, previous farmer but still a farm owner, and an interested observer.

Agricultural producers like progress but dislike change. Iowa State University rural sociologist and economist Mike Duffy described progress of agricultural producers as adopting new technology, becoming bigger operators and integrating vertically. Change, he said, involves living with increasing government regulations, blaming environmentalists and policy makers, and becoming stressed about these matters.

Agricultural producers are in the third era of uncommon prosperity since the last century began, Duffy noted. Prosperity doesn’t mean the end of stress.

Large farm operators are looking for legal ways to protect their wealth, such as placing farmland into trusts. The agriculture economy is entering an era of retraction, but the “correction” won’t be as drastic as the Great Depression or the Farm Crisis of the 1980s.

I agree with Duffy and the other experts about what lies ahead for agriculture. Here are several of my own perspectives.

We are moving toward two primary methods of farming.

One method involves increasing reliance on technological advances and specializing in one or two products. This method is sometimes called the industrial or conventional approach to agriculture.

The other primary method of farming involves organic production of agricultural goods, reliance on fewer purchased inputs while undertaking production of diverse foods and other outputs. This method is sometimes called the sustainable or alternative approach to agriculture.

Farming organically is a trend that is here to stay. In 2007, the sustainable approach to farming in the U.S. comprised less than 1 percent of farmers who operated even less farmland (0.3 percent), according to the Census of Agriculture.

Worldwide, the amount of land invested in organic farming has increased threefold since 1999, according to a Jan. 17, 2013, report by the Worldwatch Institute. Worldwatch says organic farming in the U.S. is the fastest growing agricultural method in terms of practitioners and sales.

In 2011, expenditures of organic foods were $31.5 billion, which was about five percent of total food expenditures. In the nearby future, some organic producers will equal their conventional-farming competitors in size.

Consumer demand is the main factor driving the increase in organic food production in the U.S. and the world. Although advocates of conventional farming sometimes contend that organic methods will not yield sufficient food, I look for organic farmers to embrace what they deem as acceptable technological advances to maximize production.

These include using robots to assist with crop cultivation instead of using herbicides to control weeds, and robotic animal milking devices to conduct large dairy operations while enhancing cleanliness and other healthful practices.

Organic farmers are already ahead of conventional farmers in the use of some technological advances, such as relying on electronic social media devices to market their products. Likely, this trend will continue because organic producers desire direct connections with consumers.

The future of agriculture looks to be positive and interesting. What do you think the future holds for agriculture? Please share your thoughts with me.

Rosmann is a Harlan, Iowna, psychologist and farmer. To contact him, visit www.agbehavioralhealth.com.


Via Giri Kumar
NoshPlanet's insight:

Really interesting observations here, in particular the tension between progress and change, technology and 'alternative' farming. Organic production and responsible technology shouldn't automatically be  mutually exclusive practices.

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Chickens for Change | Gospel For Asia New Zealand

Chickens for Change | Gospel For Asia New Zealand | Sustainable food | Scoop.it
Malnutrition in South Asia severely affects kids' health. How can a pair of chickens change this? http://t.co/WL9b6pxjNX
NoshPlanet's insight:

Great idea. Not new by any means, but 'chickens for change' has a nice ring to it.

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