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The Global Farmland Rush

The Global Farmland Rush | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

OVER the last decade, as populations have grown, capital has flowed across borders and crop yields have leveled off, food-importing nations and private investors have been securing land abroad to use for agriculture. Poor governments have embraced these deals, but their people are in danger of losing their patrimony, not to mention their sources of food.

 

According to Oxfam, land equivalent to eight times the size of Britain was sold or leased worldwide in the last 10 years.

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The Barley Mow
Reaping what we sow
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Rebuilding soil with livestock: one farmer's story - Sustainable Food Trust

Rebuilding soil with livestock: one farmer's story - Sustainable Food Trust | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

This film is about Duncan Leaney, a conventional tenant farmer near Taunton in Somerset who realised his farm was no longer viable due to the increasing costs of inputs such as chemical fertilisers and pesticides. At the same time his profit from cereal crops was not going up resulting in a cost-price squeeze. Heale Farm, a 300 acre mixed farm has been in Duncan’s family for 57 years. When Duncan heard about the potential of mob grazing methods he decided to try it out and was surprised by the results. Not only did a diversity of butterfly and bird species return to his farm, but his soil organic matter increased and he could put his stocking rate up. Duncan tells about an old farmer who once said to him, “in farming it’s easier to save money than to make money.” As a result of improving the rotations on his farm and using livestock to rebuild the soil, Duncan has also succeeded in making his farm viable.

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Farming News - £10 million for peatland restoration

Farming News - £10 million for peatland restoration | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

The government has announced a £10 million grant scheme to restore England’s iconic peatlands, loss of which is threatening wildlife and causing pollution.


Peatlands cover 11 per cent of England’s landscape and provide habitat for a wide range of birds like the merlin, dunlin and golden plover. They also provide a huge percentage of drinking water, can reduce flood risk when healthy and take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere by locking away at least 3.2 billion tonnes of CO2 (in fact, a loss of only 5% of UK peatland carbon would be equal to the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions). These bogs also act like a sponge, soaking up rainwater, and can help to reduce flood risk.

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How Sustainable Eating Is Reaching The Top of The Culinary Game

How Sustainable Eating Is Reaching The Top of The Culinary Game | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Was this egg from a free-roaming happy hen? Will this tuna contribute greatly to the rapid depletion of fish in our oceans? And did a bashed apple fall short for this more aesthetically pleasing one? Questioning the ingredients on your plate is becoming mandatory in 2016.


According to the Sustainable Restaurant Association, the concept of sustainable dining is on the rise with more and more chefs coming forward to gain a rating. With the future of our planet relying on eco-friendly ingredients, wining and dining in restaurants is changing for the better.


And restaurant owners are stepping up the plate. “Serving and producing ethical food is a way of life, a mindset. There is no opt-out clause. If we want to live long healthy lives there is no alternative,” explains chef Jim Cowie, the co-owner of The Captain’s Galley, Caithness, Scotland.

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Climate change may soon diminish crop yields

Climate change may soon diminish crop yields | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Selective breeding of crops like maize has been common practice in agriculture for thousands of years. By breeding new varieties of plants, farmers can increase crop yields, prevent the spread of disease, and adapt to droughts or other environmental conditions. Unfortunately, a new study from the University of Leeds reveals that climate change may prove to be the biggest challenge yet for crop breeders.


According to the study, rising temperatures and an increased number of droughts brought on by climate change are significantly reducing the crop durations of maize in Africa. Crop durations indicate the length of time between the planting and harvesting of a crop, and the shorter they are, the less time crops have to mature.

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Life learning on the ground in West Wales: Project World School - Sustainable Food Trust

Life learning on the ground in West Wales: Project World School - Sustainable Food Trust | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
This summer Project World School International Retreat comes to the wilds of West Wales, where young people will focus on developing the skills needed to sustain themselves and to sustain the planet.

Hosted by Troed y Rhiw Organics, they will have an experience of off-grid living, learn to build a straw bale roundhouse, spend time working on the farm and learning about organic agriculture, forage for wild food and try their hand at beekeeping.
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Stomachs and soils

Stomachs and soils | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
This culturally embedded fear of germs has had devastating, if unintended consequences, both for our guts and for our agriculture and food production systems. We have been willingly accelerating what could be seen as a mass extinction of previously common strains of stomach bacteria, now rare in western guts, through the prophylactic use of antibiotics.
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Industrial-scale farming denounced by international experts - Farmers Weekly

Industrial-scale farming denounced by international experts - Farmers Weekly | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

An international think-tank has called for a move away from industrial farming systems, arguing that they pose a threat to human health and the environment.


The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) has said input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots must be consigned to the past, to put global food systems on a sustainable footing.


The group has called for a shift to diversified agroecological systems that would involve replacing chemical inputs, optimising biodiversity and stimulating interactions between different species.

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Tony Simons: Agroforestry is a ‘win-win’ for developing nations

Tony Simons: Agroforestry is a ‘win-win’ for developing nations | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Agroforestry is a “back to the future” concept, advocating a return to the origins of farming —trees and fields— rather than the modern concept of huge monocultures, says Tony Simons.


Tony Simons is the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, a Nairobi-based body that works in 34 countries across the developing world to argue for a move away from ‘hi-tech’ farming towards a mix of trees and agriculture, to aid productivity, livelihoods, the environment and the climate.

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Egg Farmers Say They'll Stop Grinding Up Millions Of Chicks Alive

Egg Farmers Say They'll Stop Grinding Up Millions Of Chicks Alive | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Most egg farmers in the United States will stop grinding male baby chickens to death over the next four years.


United Egg Producers, the industry group that represents 95 percent of egg producers in the country, announced Thursday that they would end the process of “culling” male chicks by 2020. Instead, they’ll use technology that determines the sex of a chicken embryo still inside an egg.

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How leftover foods are being turned into green fashion

How leftover foods are being turned into green fashion | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Eco-fashion is joining in the fight against food waste with some cool new innovations. Designers are figuring out how to incorporate leftover food and food-related byproducts into fabrics, which are then turned into wide variety of stylish products, from coats and belts to wallets and shoes.

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Digging a bit deeper - Sustainable Food Trust

Digging a bit deeper - Sustainable Food Trust | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

In what is possibly the first ever report on soil health by a UK Parliamentary committee, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has highlighted the threat to society and future food security if soils continue to be managed unsustainably.


It calls for Defra to ensure that its upcoming 25-year environment plan puts soil protection at its heart.


The report states that “we must move away from viewing soil merely as a growth medium and treat it as an ecosystem in its own right”, a view which lines up closely with the concerns of many farmers and campaigners in the UK and around the world.

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World's top herbicide in you, me, and our pee

World's top herbicide in you, me, and our pee | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Glyphosate. Yeah, it's from Monsanto. It's in those bottles of Roundup you've seen in your neighbor's garage. So perhaps it will be no surprise that independent testing by the University of California San Francisco found this chemical herbicide in the urine samples of 93% of Americans.

With vast swathes of our country covered in genetically-modified crops that require the use of Round-up to kill the weeds (and any collateral plants and animals that aren't engineered to resist glyphosate), that's not surprising.
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Peruvian farmers harvest water from fog

Peruvian farmers harvest water from fog | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Using 'Atrapanieblas'—large nets erected on the hillside—farmers like Maria Teresa Avalos Cucho take advantage of the daily fog to capture condensation, harvesting between 200 and 400 liters a day from each panel—which is then stored in tanks, and gravity-fed to the crops below.

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Short food chains seen as answer to farmers’ pay and product quality

Short food chains seen as answer to farmers’ pay and product quality | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Local markets, where farmers and producers sell directly to the consumer, have prospered across the EU in both rural and urban areas in recent years.

The development of short food supply chains where intermediaries between farmers and consumers are removed should result in fairer remunerations for farmers and higher quality local food products, supporters say.

In 2015, 15% of farmers sold half of their products through these short food supply chains, according to a study carried out by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS).
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Agricultural Workers Are on the Front Line of Climate Change

Agricultural Workers Are on the Front Line of Climate Change | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Due to long hours outdoors, interacting with heavy machinery, and exposure to toxic chemicals, farmers and other agricultural workers are already vulnerable to a variety of occupational hazards that can threaten their physical health and well-being. These hazards range from heat-related illness, physical injury, and noise-induced hearing loss to respiratory diseases.


Now, research is unveiling a new threat to the farming sector: climate change. According to the article “An Overview of Occupational Risks from Climate Change,” published by faculty members from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, rising temperatures will have a detrimental impact on the health of agricultural laborers, especially in the areas of heat stress and vector-borne diseases.

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Microbes in soil are essential for life and may help mitigate climate change

Microbes in soil are essential for life and may help mitigate climate change | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
"... soil is actually a living entity, a diverse ecosystem that is one of the most complex on the planet. And it is one that is essential for human life through all the functions it provides—food production, water purification, greenhouse gas reduction, and pollution cleanup, to name a few."

"A lot of processes that are really important in soil, like the decomposition of organic material, goes into building up the soil structure—the aggregates—which are the structural units of soil," says Scow.

" Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-microbes-soil-essential-life-mitigate.html#jCp
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Feeding cities from within

Feeding cities from within | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Urban agriculture is sprouting up all over the world. Urbanites are taking the soil into their own hands and wrestling back control of food production – from community allotments driving regeneration in Detroit and guerrilla gardeners turning flower beds into cabbage patches across cities to temporary growing plots in meanwhile spaces like the Skip Garden in London and commercial rooftop greenhouse operations like Lufa Farms in Montreal.

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Eat the Week

Eat the Week | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

A new report, published by GRAIN, documents the continuing and still growing practice of ‘land-grabbing’ across the world. This practice, in which land is taken by corporations or governments from individuals and communities which own or have rights to it, has been a devastating problem for people in the developing world. In the fight to acquire the land, harassment, intimidation and sometimes violence is used.


GRAIN has been tracking nearly 500 land deals over the past ten years which constitute land grabs amounting to 30 million hectares across some 78 countries. GRAIN states that this research evidences that “the global farmland grab is far from over. Rather, it is in many ways deepening, expanding to new frontiers and intensifying conflict around the world.”

Land grabbing is a fundamental inhibitor of food justice and sovereignty, disenfranchising large numbers of people from a food system that they have access to and control over. It is also supporting the further intensification of agriculture, especially through the developing world.

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Nutritional Research Meat & Dairy

Nutritional Research Meat & Dairy | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
A new study published today, 16 February 2016, in the British Journal of Nutrition shows organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic.

In addition to organic milk and meat, the nutritional differences also apply to organic dairy like butter, cream, cheese and yoghurt. The study is the largest systematic review of its kind and led by Newcastle University and an international team of experts.
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Extreme weather increasing level of toxins in food, scientists warn

Extreme weather increasing level of toxins in food, scientists warn | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As they struggle to deal with more extreme weather, a range of food crops are generating more of chemical compounds that can cause health problems for people and livestock who eat them, scientists have warned.


A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that crops such as wheat and maize are generating more potential toxins as a reaction to protect themselves from extreme weather. But these chemical compounds are harmful to people and animals if consumed for a prolonged period of time, according to a report released during a United Nations Environment Assembly meeting in Nairobi.

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Recall of Monsanto's Roundup likely as EU refuses limited use of glyphosate

Recall of Monsanto's Roundup likely as EU refuses limited use of glyphosate | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

EU nations have refused to back a limited extension of the pesticide glyphosate’s use, threatening withdrawal of Monsanto’s Roundup and other weedkillers from shelves if no decision is reached by the end of the month.

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4 Surprising Reasons to Measure and Reduce Food Loss and Waste | World Resources Institute

4 Surprising Reasons to Measure and Reduce Food Loss and Waste | World Resources Institute | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
About 1 out of every 9 people globally is undernourished, meaning they don’t get enough to eat on a daily basis. Reducing FLW could be an important strategy in making more food available without needing to increase production.

According to WRI analysis, cutting the rate of food loss and waste in half could close 20 percent of the nearly 70 percent “food gap” between food available today and what will be needed in the year 2050 to accommodate a larger population.
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Drought and ‘Rice First’ Policy Imperil Vietnamese Farmers

Drought and ‘Rice First’ Policy Imperil Vietnamese Farmers | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
The Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s premier rice growing region, is suffering its worst drought since French colonial administrators began recording statistics in 1926. Giant cracks, some a foot deep, gouge the hard earth; brown stalks of dead rice litter the fields; and the dryness is so severe even the pests lie shriveled on the ground.

The Communist government’s insistence that farmers grow three rice crops a year, instead of the traditional one or two, has depleted the soil of nutrients, exacerbating the impact of the drought ...

And water from the sea has invaded the lower reaches of the Mekong River, which is more shallow than usual, sweeping saline water farther up the delta than ever before and wiping out rice fields.
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Raising the Volume on the Quiet Green Revolution

Raising the Volume on the Quiet Green Revolution | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

'God Save the Green' leaves the viewer with no excuse to be a pacifist in the revolution taking place in food production. The creativity demonstrated by each of its characters as they work to find ways to participate is inspiring and invites all of us to change from couch potato to potato farmer.

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Overwhelming majority of Germans contaminated by glyphosate

Overwhelming majority of Germans contaminated by glyphosate | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

A worrying three-quarters of the German population have in fact been contaminated by the controversial herbicide, according to a study carried out by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The report analysed glyphosate residue in urine and it concluded that 75% of the target group displayed levels that were five times higher than the legal limit of drinking water. A third of the population even showed levels that were between ten and 42 times higher than what is normally permissible.


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