The Barley Mow
2.7K views | +0 today
Follow
The Barley Mow
Reaping what we sow
Curated by David Rowing
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Family Farms, Conscious Consumption, and Ecological Profitability: An Interview with Bev Eggleston

Family Farms, Conscious Consumption, and Ecological Profitability: An Interview with Bev Eggleston | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
By Kevin Robbins On Sunday mornings at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market in Washington, D.C., you can find bouquets of fresh flowers, bundles of brussels sprouts, and buckets of local apples.

 

It’s simple: if it makes ecological sense and it makes profit, then it’s ecological profitability. And it has to be both. We could just be ecologically sound or just economically viable—plenty of people have done that. But ecologically sound while economically profitable? That’s like a lost art form. Thankfully, we’re starting to remember.


Focusing solely on profits and maximizing output—with no regard for the earth, the animals, or the quality of the food we’re putting into our bodies—this kind of thinking has made a mess of our food system and of farming in America. I believe we still have some tough times ahead, but I’m optimistic. I know there’s a new crop of farmers out there who want to learn how to grow food in a way that is ecological and profitable.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Nature News Blog: After Rio+20: seeds sprout on the Hill of Hope : Nature News Blog

Nature News Blog: After Rio+20: seeds sprout on the Hill of Hope : Nature News Blog | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
RIO DE JANEIRO – Global leaders have departed, and the media spotlight has moved on.

 

But in one small corner of Complexo do Alemão, an agglomeration of some of the most notorious favelas in northern Rio, the 2012 Earth Summit is just beginning to bear fruit. Or more accurately, herbs and vegetables, for now. The fruit will come later, along with tubers and, eventually, trees that could occasionally be clipped for construction wood. And one of the lucky beneficiaries, a 25-year-old who is fresh from prison and still wearing an electronic-monitoring device on his ankle, has a job tending to this new garden.

 

The garden is one of three initiatives brought to Complexo do Alemão by the Brasilia Botanical Garden and a collection of non-profit groups, with support from the private sector and the federal government. Nearby, where pipes once released sewage directly onto the hillside, the groups buried a simple treatment system that relies on microbes and old tires; an elevated planter featuring banana trees sits on top, fed by grey water from sinks and showers.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by David Rowing from Climate change challenges
Scoop.it!

Heatwave threatens US grain harvest - FT.com

An intense heatwave is threatening havoc with this year’s US grain harvest, burning up hopes of blockbuster yields and sending prices soaring.

Via Cathryn Wellner
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Small-Scale Farmers Creating a New Profit Model

Small-Scale Farmers Creating a New Profit Model | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
With an aging farm population and a looming shortage of migrant workers, local growers band together for collective organic clout.

 

The cultivated rusticity of a farmers’ market, where dirt-dusted beets are status symbols and earnest entrepreneurs preside over chunks of cheese, is a part of weekend life in cities across the nation as the high days of the summer harvest approach.

 

But beyond the familiar mantras about nutrition or reduced fossil fuel use, the movement toward local foodis creating a vibrant new economic laboratory for American agriculture. The result, with its growing army of small-scale local farmers, is as much about dollars as dinner: a reworking of old models about how food gets sold and farms get financed, and who gets dirt under their fingernails doing the work.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Climate change, corporate farming threat to small farmers - The Express Tribune

Climate change, corporate farming threat to small farmers - The Express Tribune | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Mehnaz Ajmal Paracha from Oxfam Novib, while highlighting the plight of the small farmers, said the present agriculture system is creating inequality and food insecurity. She said 40 per cent of Pakistanis are food insecure and small farmers have no say in decision making. ...

 

Paracha lamented that large farmers have representation in the legislative process and get all the benefits from the government, but agriculture is no longer profitable for small farmers, who are abandoning the trade and migrating to cities. ...

 

Taking a more holistic view, Damaan Project Manager Shoaib Aziz said increasing population and decreasing resources may pose threats to future generations and stressed the need for setting up market infrastructure for the promotion of organic produce.


The participants also discussed the increasing prevalence of monocropping which they said was not good for the produce and the land. Khadim Hussain, an expert, said corporate agriculture farming is posing a big threat to agriculture since multinational companies are grabbing land and growing the same crop on the same piece of land, year after year.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Food security: assessing the G20's approach | East Asia Forum

Food security: assessing the G20's approach | East Asia Forum | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

With an ever-increasing number of malnourished people worldwide, this latest meeting of G20 leaders provided an opportunity to take an innovative approach to resolving food-security issues, but this opportunity was lost as leaders fell back on promises and plans without firm measures to implement them. ...

 

Agriculture is the major source of growth in developing countries, and increasing agricultural productivity is central to increasing food security. According to the Australian aid agency, AusAID, a 1 per cent increase in agricultural yields reduces the number of people living on less than US$1 a day by 0.6 to 1.2 per cent. The UN report Agroecology and the Right to Food states that increasing investment in small-scale agriculture would double food production in 5–10 years in the parts of the world where food is least secure.

more...
No comment yet.
Suggested by Seth Capo
Scoop.it!

How The Taste Of Tomatoes Went Bad (And Kept On Going) : NPR

Scientists have discovered that the gene that makes tomatoes uniformly ripe and red also makes them less tasty. But it's going to take consumer education and a willingness to pay more before the industry makes a change.

 

The researchers discovered that this natural tomato gene, when it works properly, produces those green shoulders on tomatoes. The darker green color comes from the chlorophyll in plant structures called chloroplasts, which is what converts sunlight into sugars for the plant. In fact, those dark green shoulders were making those old tomatoes sweeter and creating more flavor.

 

The uniform-ripening mutation disabled this gene.

 

But consumers may have to change their expectations, Klee says. "They're going to have to go in and say, 'That one's got that little discoloration at the top; that means it must be good!"

 

And, the only way they're likely to show up in your local grocery store is if consumers can recognize them and are willing to pay a bit more for them.

 

Still, for the best flavor, you might want to grow your own.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Can't we all just work together?: Q&A with Ecoagriculture Partners - GlobalPost (blog)

Can't we all just work together?: Q&A with Ecoagriculture Partners - GlobalPost (blog) | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

What was happening for many decades is that the agricultural investments weren’t paying attention to those watershed issues, they weren’t paying attention to the wildlife issues, and they weren’t even paying attention, often, to soil degradation issues. And they started to have a serious decline in production.

 

They’ve been really trying to turn that around in recent years by increasing growing agroforestry, by using conservation farming techniques, by having community plans that will protect certain areas near the water sources. In the places where they are doing these things agricultural production is going up, it’s much more secure and much more drought resistant. At the same time, they are improving the cover of the soil, and they are also providing a much better habitat for species. So it’s really showing an example of a win, win, win, strategy for changing food security.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Aquaponics: Something's fishy in Baltimore backyards

Aquaponics: Something's fishy in Baltimore backyards | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

The aquarium in the living room of Meir and Leah Lazar's home isn't just for decoration. The tilapia and bluegills packed into the 50-gallon glass tank are waiting their turn to wind up on dinner plates.

 

Out back, Meir Lazar is putting the finishing touches on a bigger new home for the fish inside a plastic-covered greenhouse. There, he hopes, the waste from the fish he's tending will help him raise enough lettuce, tomatoes and other produce to feed his family of five year-round.


Sustainability is more than a buzzword for Lazar, 32, a computer systems administrator and teacher who's pursuing aquaponics in his small suburban backyard off Greenspring Avenue. He said he's inspired in part by news reports about food tainted by pesticides, bacteria and even radiation from the Japanese nuclear disaster last year.

 

"I think it's incumbent on every person to start growing their own food so they can take back some of the control over their health, over what's in their food," he said. "Plus, you have a deeper appreciation of what you've grown and what you're about to eat."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Dairy Day highlights organic farm - Superior Telegram

Dairy Day highlights organic farm - Superior Telegram | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

The TePoel farm is one of the dozen dairy operations in the county today. Of those, Anklam said, half are organic. While that may be a buzzword today, the TePoels chose the organic route back in 1982, long before it was “cool.”

 

Doing away with antibiotics and giving the cattle room to roam greatly improved herd health, Jon TePoel said. Cows are smarter than many people give them credit for, he said, and they pick the outdoors when they have a choice. Once the farmer opened the barn doors he saw cases of mastitis as well as hoof and feet problems fade away.

“The vet doesn’t come here anymore,” TePoel said.

 

By rotating crops and using natural additives like manure and lime, the land has become more productive. Letting nature take care of itself is the key.

 

“Once you get it, it’s easy,” he said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Time for a re-think on GM crops?

Time for a re-think on GM crops? | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
What would it take to break the impasse on GM crops?

 

After the bruising rows of the 1990's - culminating in a series of public debates under the banner GM Nation, and the biggest open air experiments ever undertaken in the shape of the farm scale trials of genetically modified crops - an uneasy standoff has held sway. Although not illegal, to date no GM crops have been grown commercially in the British countryside.

 

But while this de facto moratorium has persisted the pressure to adopt a technology that is widely employed elsewhere around the world has intensified.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Eat less meat and improve farming efficiency to tackle climate change

Eat less meat and improve farming efficiency to tackle climate change | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

New research from the University of Exeter shows that if today's meat-eating habits continue, the predicted rise in the global population could spell ecological disaster. 

 

Published today (20 June 2012) in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, the research suggests that in order to feed a population of 9.3 billion by 2050 we need to dramatically increase the efficiency of our farming by eating less beef, recycling waste and wasting less food. These changes could reduce the amount of land needed for farming, despite the increase in population, leaving sufficient land for some bio-energy. To make a really significant difference, however, we will need to bring down the average global meat consumption from 16.6 per cent to 15 per cent of average daily calorie intake – about half that of the average western diet.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

International Scrutiny of Pesticide Link to Honey Bee Deaths ... - eNews Park Forest

International Scrutiny of Pesticide Link to Honey Bee Deaths ... - eNews Park Forest | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

The Canadian governmental authority responsible for pesticide registration has expanded its re-evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides to include two additional compounds linked to honey bee deaths and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced on June 12 that it has added clothianidin and thiamethoxam and their associated products to its ongoing re-evaluation of imidacloprid. The re-evaluation of these pesticides will focus on resolving issues related to environmental risk and specifically the potential effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators. The re-evaluation will consider all agricultural uses of neonicotinoid insecticides, including soil applications, seed treatment, as well as foliar and greenhouse uses. The Canadian announcement follows France’s decision earlier this month to initiate its own review for thiamethoxam that could result in the cancelation of allowances for using the pesticide.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Parque de la Papa: Preserving Potato Biodiversity in the Andes

Parque de la Papa: Preserving Potato Biodiversity in the Andes | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

The Andes Mountains are home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. Settled in the heart of these mountains near Cusco, Peru, lies Parque de la Papa (Potato Park), a park dedicated to preserving this biodiversity and protecting one of the world’s most widely-recognized crops—the potato.

 

Parque de la Papa is home to over 1,100 varieties of potatoes.


The potato is believed to have originated in the southern Peruvian Andes, where indigenous groups used 20 native varieties to domesticate the crop and create some 2,300 new varieties. The park itself is home to more than 700 local varieties, over 400 varieties repatriated from the International Potato Center, and 5 wild varieties.


Parque de la Papa is made up of more than 6,000 people who live in six communities. These six communities of native people used to be separate from one another, but now they are united in an effort to preserve and recover the biodiversity of their potatoes.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

AFBF Launches 'Today's Agriculture' Website | Wisconsin Farm ...

AFBF Launches 'Today's Agriculture' Website | Wisconsin Farm ... | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Today’s Agriculture, the new consumer-oriented website from the American Farm Bureau Federation, went live last week. The site features The Dish and Foodie News Blog, with posts about today’s food trends; farmer profiles from around the country; links to blogs written by farmers, ranchers and others involved in agriculture; excerpts from AFBF’s “Food and Farm Facts” publication about stretching your grocery dollars and how farmers and ranchers care for farm animals; and a link to My American Farm, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s educational website with games and activities about agriculture.


The new website also includes a link to the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance’s Food Dialogues website, where consumers can learn about their food and join a conversation about modern agricultural practices.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Making textiles sustainable isn't as easy as it seems - The Guardian (blog)

Making textiles sustainable isn't as easy as it seems - The Guardian (blog) | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

In sustainability, things are not always as they appear. In particular, thinking on sustainability and textiles is ripe with misconceptions, let's start by busting a few of the most common myths:

 

• Across the full life cycle (growing, manufacturing and specifically usage) natural fibres are not necessarily more sustainable than synthetic fibres

 

• Natural dyes are not necessarily better than chemical ones

 

• Organic cotton currently only amounts to around 1% of the world harvest and production cannot be scaled sufficiently quickly to cater to the mainstream just yet

 

The characteristics of individual fibres are not only key influencers of their footprint. They also determine how textiles behave during manufacture, the type and quantity of dye they take, the frequency and intensity of washing required when they're being worn, and whether or not they are recyclable. As such, taking a longer view across the entire lifecycle is important to establish their relative sustainability.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by David Rowing from GMO GM Articles Research Links
Scoop.it!

Genetically Modified Foods and Why They Can be Harmful

Genetically Modified Foods and Why They Can be Harmful | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

It is the unknown factor about GM foods that concerns so many. They have never been tested by an independent study to confirm that they are safe to eat and could well have many unpredictable consequences. Many scientists worry that the genetically altered foods, once consumed, may pass on their mutant genes to bacterium in the digestive system. Many other countries recognize that a lack of long term studies and testing may be hiding disastrous health defects.

 

It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill effects. But these foods are unlabelled in the USA and no one has monitored the consequences. In fact, it is often said that because there have never been mandatory human clinical trials of GM crops (with no tests for the possibility that they could cause cancer or harm to unborn babies) the actual long term healthy study on GM foods is being done on the American people – like it or not, they are the “clinical test”.


Via Maria Nunzia @Varvera
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

To make beer, MillerCoors helps farmers save water - msnbc.com

To make beer, MillerCoors helps farmers save water - msnbc.com | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

A recent stretch of devastating drought in Texas and fears of ongoing water scarcity across many parts of the United States are pushing Price and others in ranching and farming into new frontiers of water conservation.


In Price's case, that means teaming up with a corporate partner, water-thirsty MillerCoors Brewing Co. The second-largest U.S. brewer has been helping him build fences for new grazing rotations and plant native prairie grasses that grow thick, retain rainwater and limit runoff.

 

Across the globe, water consumption has tripled in the last 50 years, and at least 36 U.S. states are anticipating some areas of water shortages by 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Farming alone consumes 70 percent of all fresh water used around the world.

With that in mind, public and private interests working on water conservation have started pushing partnerships with farmers and ranchers to protect water quantity and quality. The work is starting in Texas but is intended to spread nationwide.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by David Rowing from "Environmental, Climate, Global warming, Oil, Trash, recycling, Green, Energy"
Scoop.it!

Cuba Develops Crops Adapted to Climate Change

Cuba Develops Crops Adapted to Climate Change | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
IPS: Cabbage, broccoli, carrots, onions and other resistant vegetables are being grown by researchers in Cuba, who for decades have been working to design plants adapted to the tropical conditions in the Caribbean region.

 

A good part of the vegetables on Cuban tables are the product of urban and suburban agriculture, grown in backyards and empty lots in and around the cities. This kind of agriculture has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two decades, in response to an effort to promote sustainable, agroecological agriculture and boost food production.


Via Ashesh, ABroaderView
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

An Incredible Skyscraper That Breeds Insects for Food

An Incredible Skyscraper That Breeds Insects for Food | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Could future generations live on a diet of exoskeleton inside this self-sustaining cricket hive?

 

Let's all take a moment to pray it doesn't come to this.

 

What you see above is a dystopian or delicious vision (depending on how much you like to eat bugs) of a skyscraper infested with crickets, given creepy life by Royal College of Art student Christopher Green.

 

With food sources possibly stretching thin on an overpopulated planet, futurists are looking with hunger upon insects, which can be eaten whole in some cases or ground up into delightful-sounding "insect flour" to use for baking cakes that nobody wants. It may sound gross, but anything is better than starving to death, and the protein load would make a fitness buff totally ripped.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Soil from ENTIRE town of Middleport New York to be dug up and carted away in ... - Daily Mail

Soil from ENTIRE town of Middleport New York to be dug up and carted away in ... - Daily Mail | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

The Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed removing and replacing nearly an entire town's soil feared contaminated with arsenic.

 

Citing 181 properties with elevated levels in the 576 acre town of Middleport, New York, the state's DEC suggested lifting and replacing the soil contaminated by a local pest control plant to an off-site location.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

The buzz on beekeeping and urban agriculture - Denver Restaurants and Dining - Cafe Society

The buzz on beekeeping and urban agriculture - Denver Restaurants and Dining - Cafe Society | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Above the heads of passersby, James Bertini's bees are flying in circles around the entrance to their new home: a small tube set in the red brick wall at Denver Urban Homesteading. Though the bees are still orienting themselves with the ins and outs of their glass-windowed beehive, soon they'll "be coming in like airplanes going onto a landing strip," says Bertini.


In celebration of National Pollinator Week, Denver Urban Homesteading has installed a new observation beehive so customers can watch honeybees at work and learn about them and other native pollinators.

 

Bertini, who owns urban agricultural center and local market Denver Urban Homesteading with his wife Irina, promotes beekeeping as a way to save and protect honeybees as well as develop food resources. More and more urbanites are discovering beekeeping as a means of making their own food, says Bertini, who also keeps bees at his home three blocks from the market. In Denver residential areas, two hives may be kept per lot; a typical hive is home to 25,000 to 50,000 bees -- and one queen bee.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

The end of the family farm? 72% of family farms don’t earn enough to support the family on them

The end of the family farm?  72% of family farms don’t earn enough to support the family on them | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Small family-owned and managed farms are struggling for survival in the face of corporate and large-scale agriculture.

 

Research released yesterday by the Australian Farm Institute, entitled Will Corporate Agriculture Swallow The Family Farm?, found that in Victoria last year, only 28% of family farms were of sufficient scale and profitability to earn enough income to support the families owning them.

 

Only half of this group was classed as likely to achieve the same success in the future and more than one-third of all family farms relied on adults living on the farm to earn wages elsewhere, reinforcing the stereotype that many farm wives have to work as local doctors, hairdressers and teachers for their families to survive.

 

Another 39% of farmers earned so little from trying to grow and produce food that their family income was below the median of all Australian households.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

How Whitby fell victim to potash fertiliser fury - The Independent

How Whitby fell victim to potash fertiliser fury - The Independent | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

"There's potash in them thar hills" might lack the potency of the Klondike's rallying cry, but the discovery is causing passions to run high in the North York Moors. Deep beneath the protected national park landscape between the tourist towns of Whitby and Scarborough resides the world's largest deposit of agricultural fertilizer. The estimated 1.3 billion tonne treasure trove could help solve the globe's emerging food crisis.

 

But getting it out of the ground is no easy matter. Laid down nearly a mile underground by the evaporation of a Permian-age sea stretching from England to Poland 250 million years ago, the polyhalite from which potash is processed is inconveniently situated in one of Britain's best-loved and fiercely guarded environments.

 

International mining conglomerate Sirius Minerals is keen to exploit the reserves over the next 50 years and meet the burgeoning demand for the high-quality mineral currently fetching around $500 a tonne on world markets, but many locals are vehemently opposed.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by David Rowing
Scoop.it!

Campaign for pesticide residue-free food - Times of India

Campaign for pesticide residue-free food - Times of India | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

The farm fresh vegetables that you hand-pick from markets everyday are in most cases deceptive. As much as you try to pick the ones with no pests or rotten edges, they may be much more toxic within.

 

According to the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), out of the top 15 most-consumed pesticides in India, 11 figure in the list of 67 globally-banned pesticides. ASHA launched 'India For Safe Food' campaign on Monday, to raise awareness among consumers about the health impacts of consuming pesticide laced vegetables and urged the government to ensure safe food for all.

more...
No comment yet.