The Barley Mow
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Reaping what we sow
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Rooftop fish farms to feed Germany's sprawling urban population

Rooftop fish farms to feed Germany's sprawling urban population | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Fish farms have proved controversial in the estuaries of north Atlantic salmon rivers and in the Mediterranean, with anglers and environmentalists claiming their byproducts are seriously damaging the natural habitat.

 

But a project in Germany aims to feed growing urban populations by bringing aquaculture into town centres, putting tanks on rooftops and car parks and using the waste to grow vegetables.

 

The idea is simple. Perch swim in metal water tanks and the ammonia they excrete is used to fertilise tomatoes, salad leaves and herbs growing in a greenhouse mounted above. Aquaponic fish and vegetable farms aim to provide a self-contained system designed to provide city dwellers with organic, sustainable locally grown food.

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Cows listening to music give more milk! - Science - Jun 2, 2012 ...

Cows listening to music give more milk! - Science - Jun 2, 2012 ... | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Having your utter pulled constantly can get a little bit stressful. Sometimes all you need is some nice, classical music to help you relax and “get the juices flowing.” So when farmers play classical or soft music in the cowshed, they receive about 1 extra pint of milk from their cows.

 

Some of the most popular hits are Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over a Troubled Water. Some farmers have even tried using this yield-increasing method on chickens. Supporting this practice is a study carried out by the LCAH Dairies in Linconshire and Bishop Burton Agriculture College in Humberside.

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Knowing What Pesticides Are on Your Food - HealthNewsDigest.com

Knowing What Pesticides Are on Your Food - HealthNewsDigest.com | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

While the website version of “What’s On My Food” is helpful for advance planning, the iPhone app is handy while plying the supermarket produce aisles to help decide whether to go for organic vegetables or stick with the cheaper conventional ones. For instance, the database shows that conventionally grown collard greens likely contains residues of some 46 different chemicals including nine known/probable carcinogens, 25 suspected hormone disruptors, 10 neurotoxins and eight developmental/reproductive toxins—not to mention 25 different compounds known to be harmful to honeybees. Spending a little quality time on the website or app is enough to drive anyone to more organic food purchasing.

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A.M.P.S. and Rouses are taking urban farming to new heights ...

A.M.P.S. and Rouses are taking urban farming to new heights ... | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
On the roof of the Rouses Market on Baronne Street in downtown New Orleans, an herb garden flourishes. However, you won't find on the market's flat roof a traditional glass green house, soil, or rows of potted planters.

 

Appropriately named The Roots on the Rooftop, the garden is an aeroponic urban farm, the first of its kind in the United States to be built on the roof of a grocery store. The plants grow upward out of soil-less towers rather than horizontally and outward. A constant flow of water, air, and nutrients through the vertical aeroponic Tower Garden allows the herbs to grow twice as fast, while taking up less space

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Study reveals pesticide approval processes don't protect river biodiversity - Phys.Org

Study reveals pesticide approval processes don't protect river biodiversity - Phys.Org | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

he collaborative study from the University of Koblenz-Landau, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (both in Germany), the University of Aarhus (Denmark), and UTS, compared and evaluated data collected between 1998 and 2010 on the effect of pesticides from six different European countries, Siberia and Australia.


Pesticides used in agriculture can be washed into surface water during heavy rain and impair river ecosystems. The main aim of the study was to assess the "effect threshold" of pesticides for organisms in rivers: an effect threshold is the maximum concentration of a substance which doesn't cause an adverse environmental impact.


The researchers concluded that the existing EU evaluation process – which, as in Australia is based on a risk assessment approach – is insufficient to sustainably protect river ecosystems from the effects of pesticides

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Agricultural research funds escape austerity cuts - AlertNet

Agricultural research funds escape austerity cuts - AlertNet | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Price spikes and problems linked with climate change are propelling food security toward the top of government agendas...

 

Public spending on agricultural research is on the rise, despite austerity drives in many countries, as price spikes and problems linked with climate change propel food security towards the top of government agendas, the head of a leading research body said.

"People have realised that feeding the world without destroying the environment is very likely the biggest challenge facing humanity over the next few decades," Frank Rijsberman, chief executive of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers said in a telephone interview.

 

The consortium, whose backers include the World Bank, the United States, Britain and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supports research targeted for the estimated 500 million smallholder farmers with less than two hectares to work.


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Rainwater Harvesting for Poultry and Goat Microbusinesses in Uganda

Rainwater Harvesting for Poultry and Goat Microbusinesses in Uganda | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Women's cooperative builds rainwater harvesting tanks for Poultry and Goat Micro-businesses in Uganda.

 

Community decision-making can be one of the key factors of success around any water development project. All over the world in communities of need, you’ll find systems that are functioning with ease and in others, the carcass of broken pumps, unused toilets, tanks in disrepair and the list goes on and on. A major contribution to the failure of these systems has been outsiders—not actually living in the community—deciding where to build and what to build, and not offering any local training for the construction, maintenance or repair of imposed systems. The result is that when these foreign systems breakdown, local people don’t have the capacity to repair or revitalize the projects leading to project failure.


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satish's curator insight, May 2, 2013 6:52 AM

महिलांच्या सहकारी तत्त्वावीरल छोट्या उद्योगांनी पाण्याची बचत करण्याचा चांगला प्रयत्न केला आहे. त्यामुळे पाण्याची गरज कमी होण्यासोबतच महिलांच्या आर्थिक उन्नतीला हातभार लागणार आहे. 

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Half-million pigs to be slaughtered in Chile health emergency – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs

Half-million pigs to be slaughtered in Chile health emergency – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
A half-million pigs on a Chilean farm will be destroyed after the facility was closed for several days during a dispute with local residents.

 

The events that precipitated the slaughter began this month when villagers from Freirina blockaded the farm after months of protests about foul odors and disease-infested water they said emanated from the farm and its slaughterhouse. The 500,000 pigs went unattended for five days, prompting the Chilean government to declare a sanitary emergency, according to a report from MercoPress.

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The Difference between Conventional Farming and Organic Farming

The Difference between Conventional Farming and Organic Farming | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Conventional non-organic farming typically cost less, but will you end up paying more for it in the end?

 

60 years ago there wasn’t a need for organic foods. Farmers practiced proper treatment of animals and fed livestock natural foods free of pesticides, growth hormones and genetically modified seeds (GMO).

 

Since foods were grown naturally and obtained fresh, we were able to get all the nutrients our body needed from foods. Today the conventional practices of raising livestock and growing crops are not so compassionate towards the treatment of animal, environment or the effects on human consumption.

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Scandal of pedigree cows whose udders are pumped full of gas - then glued up

Scandal of pedigree cows whose udders are pumped full of gas - then glued up | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Farmers desperate to win lucrative cattle show prizes are causing severe pain to their animals – by pumping their udders full of gas.


Experts say the use of the bizarre technique – used to improve a cow’s appearance by making the udder look full – has spiralled to the point it has become a ‘serious problem’.
Once the udder has been inflated, the animal’s teats are then sealed with superglue to stop milk, or the gas, leaking out.

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Leading Agriculture Experts Contribute to new Report Agriculture ...

Leading Agriculture Experts Contribute to new Report Agriculture ... | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

The report begins with identifying the key challenges in the global agriculture industry:

Astonishing levels of food waste at 30-40% of all food.


As many overweight people as undernourished people.


The wasteful impact that livestock and biofuels have on resources due to inefficient management.


Rising food prices that will likely continue within a volatile global market.


Concentration in food supply. With 50,000 edible plants on the planet, a low number of firms produce over half of the world’s food supply from only three plant sources.


Shifting agricultural governance from governments, international agencies and institutions to corporate power and NGOs.


Agriculture uses most fresh water and results in a loss of 20,000 – 50,000 square kilometers potentially productive land.

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How EU farming policies led to a collapse in Europe's bird population

How EU farming policies led to a collapse in Europe's bird population | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

In order to boost food production across Europe, the wholesale ripping up of hedgerows, draining of wetlands and ploughing over of meadows has robbed farmland birds of their homes and food. Numbers of linnets, turtle doves and lapwings have crashed as a result.

 

The survey, carried out by the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme, also found that Britain has been one of the nations worst affected by losses to its farmland bird populations. For example, in Europe the population of grey partridges has dropped from 13.4 million to 2.4 million, a loss of 82%. In the UK, that loss was 91%.

 

These losses were described as shocking by the scheme's chairman, Richard Gregory. "We had got used to noting a loss of a few per cent in numbers of various species over one or two years. It was only when we added up numbers of all the different farmland bird species for each year since 1980, when we started keeping records, that we found their overall population has dropped from 600 million to 300 million, which is a calamitous loss. We have been sleepwalking into a disaster."

 

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Innovation of the Week: Student Program Connects Consumers to the Food System Process

Innovation of the Week: Student Program Connects Consumers to the Food System Process | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
By Graham Salinger In 2009, the average distance that a granny smith apple traveled to get to McGill University in Quebec, Canada, was nearly 3,542 miles. Meanwhile, the dining halls serve approximately 2,500 meals a day.

 

In an effort to increase the amount of food that is sourced locally, students at McGill University established The McGill Food Systems Project (MFSP). The project, which began in 2009, engages students in the food system process by supporting student-led applied research that helps the University establish best practices for purchasing sustainable food. Collaborating with professors, the McGill Food and Dining Services, and the McGill Office of Sustainability, students conduct research and implement projects that help inform the University about the source of its food.


“The objective of these actions is to transition our food supply to more sustainable and local sources,” explains Laura Rhodes, co-founder of MFSP along with Jonathan Glencross. “We want to build a capacity to meaningfully assess what is or isn’t sustainable food. Our role is to communicate in the sense of building capacity to make sustainable choices,” notes Rhodes, who is currently in charge of making sustainable food purchases for McGill’s dining services.

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Fighting Hunger With Ancient Genetic Engineering Techniques | Agriculture | DISCOVER Magazine

Fighting Hunger With Ancient Genetic Engineering Techniques | Agriculture | DISCOVER Magazine | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

It may not have the flair of genetic engineering, but the breeding technique perfected by Howarth Bouis and HarvestPlus has the advantage of actually supplying the developing world with several nutrient-rich crops. Below, a sampling of the improved foods that will soon help fight malnourishment.


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Mars Chocolate to purchase nearly 90000 metric tons of cocoa this year - Warren Reporter

Mars Chocolate to purchase nearly 90000 metric tons of cocoa this year - Warren Reporter | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Mars Chocolate, one of the world’s leading chocolate manufacturers, announced today that it has made significant progress in just three years towards fulfilling its 2009 pledge to purchase its entire cocoa supply from certified sustainable sources by 2020. The company stated that it had met its 2011 goal of purchasing 10 percent of its total cocoa supply as certified sustainable, and in 2012 it will exceed its original target of 20 percent, making it the largest user of certified cocoa in the world. Based on current buying arrangements, the company projects that they will purchase nearly 90,000 tons of certified cocoa.

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Growing Cities: A film about Urban Farming in America

GROWING CITIES follows two friends on their trip cross-country as they meet urban farmers who are challenging the way we eat.

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FDA rejects new name for high-fructose corn syrup

FDA rejects new name for high-fructose corn syrup | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
High-fructose corn syrup won't get a wholesome new name after all.

 

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday rejected the Corn Refiners Association's bid to rename its sweetening agent "corn sugar."


Given the sweetener's bad reputation in recent years, the association submitted an application to the agency in 2010 to have the product renamed on nutrition labels.
But the FDA said that it defines sugar as a solid, dried and crystallized food — not a syrup.

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Union: the British perfume that's boosting biodiversity - The Ecologist

Union: the British perfume that's boosting biodiversity - The Ecologist | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Union: the British perfume that's boosting biodiversityThe EcologistEvery now and again, an idea comes along that's so good, you wonder why no one has ever thought of doing it before.

 

According to Michael Donovan, PR supremo and part of the team behind new, quintessentially British perfume brand Union, it’s because it’s simply too difficult. On the face of it, the Union concept doesn’t seem ridiculously hard – a British perfume that contains ingredients that come entirely from UK shores – but according to Donovan, to say it’s been a challenge is nothing less than an understatement.

 

‘No other brand has ever done this,’ he says. ‘It’s totally unique but it’s been hugely challenging.’ The main reason for this, he explains, is that not only is it impossible to find commercial sources for many British flowers, fruit and leaves, others, English bluebells for instance, have necessitated completely new techniques. 

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Current Events: World can feed more people more efficiently

Current Events: World can feed more people more efficiently | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
MILAN, May 30-The world can feed itself with less food output than previously forecast if it turns to sustainable farming, cuts waste and stops excessive consumption...

 

If current consumption patterns persist, the world will need to raise food output by 60 percent by 2050 from 2005-07 levels to feed a population expected to rise to 9 billion from about 7 billion now, according to FAO estimates. However, it is possible to feed the population with a smaller rise in food output than that, the FAO said in a policy report ahead of a sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro.

 

On the production side, agricultural and food systems should reduce their negative environmental impacts, including soil and water depletion as well as greenhouse gas emissions, the report said.

 

On the consumption side, people need to cut food losses and waste which amount to 1.3 billion tonnes a year, roughly one third of world food production for human consumption.

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Urban Agriculture Redefined, Growing Crops In Recycled Shipping Containers - Forbes

Urban Agriculture Redefined, Growing Crops In Recycled Shipping Containers - Forbes | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Take an unused parking lot in the middle of downtown Atlanta, Georgia on Ponce de Leon Avenue, put five 320-square foot recycled shipping containers tricked out with proprietary technology to reduce overall energy consumption and increase crop yield and then grow three tons of lettuce, hydroponically.

 

This is exactly what a seed funded start up, PodPonics, did. Then they realized they had a contribution to make to the world’s food shortage with urban agriculture. 

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The cocktail of up to 20 chemicals in a glass of milk

The cocktail of up to 20 chemicals in a glass of milk | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
A glass of milk can contain a cocktail of up to 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones used to treat animals and people, scientists have shown.

 

The researchers say their new 30-minute test is the most sensitive of its kind. If the findings are true for Spanish and Moroccan milk, they could equally be true for milk produced in Britain and northern Europe.

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Japan farmers plant, pray for radiation-free rice - Boston.com

Japan farmers plant, pray for radiation-free rice - Boston.com | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Japan farmers plant, pray for radiation-free riceBoston.comHe's living up to his family's proud, six-generation history of rice farming, and praying that this time his harvest will not have too much radiation to sell.

 

A handful of farmers are giving up on growing rice. Some are switching to flowers, which don't require radiation checks. Others are suing Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi, for damages.

 

Fukushima farmer Shoichi Watanabe is angry he even has to worry about radiation.

"See how peaceful this place is," he said, pointing to paddies filled with gently croaking frogs. "I want to say at the top of my lungs that we would not be going through all this suffering -- if only Tokyo Electric had done its job right."

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Against factory farming - PriusChat Forums

Against factory farming - PriusChat Forums | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it
Factory Farming, what is factory farm? - The Issues - Sustainable Table The US really should phase out factory farming.

 

What is a Factory Farm?


The government calls these facilities Concentrated (or Confined) Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a CAFO as "new and existing operations which stable or confine and feed or maintain for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period more than the number of animals specified" in categories that they list out. In addition, "there's no grass or other vegetation in the confinement area during the normal growing season."

 

Numbers for both large and medium CAFOs (factory farms) are listed on the EPA's site. A large CAFO includes 1000 cattle (other than dairy, which is 700), 2500 hogs over 55 pounds, or 125,000 chickens (as long as a liquid manure system isn't used). A liquid manure system is when the animal's urine and feces are mixed with water and held either under the facility or outside in huge open air lagoons - these manure systems create a lot of pollution (which many times taxpayers end up paying for). The chickens they refer to are chickens other than laying hens – laying hens must number between 30,000 - 82,000, depending on how the manure is handled.

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Common Pesticide Makes Honey Bees Picky Eaters | Care2 Causes

Common Pesticide Makes Honey Bees Picky Eaters | Care2 Causes | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

A new study offers further evidence about the dangerous effects of pesticides on honey bees. Biologists at the University of California at San Diego have found that a commonly used crop pesticide makes honey bees picky eaters and also makes them reduce the number of waggle dances they perform. Waggle dances are how the bees communicate the location of a food source; bees exposed to the pesticide performed four to ten times fewer dances. ...

 

The chemical in question is imidacloprid, which is a type of neonicotinoid — which has been linked to bees’ deaths. Imidacloprid has come under increasing scrutiny in the US and is banned for use in some crops in some parts of Europe. James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who also authored the study, notes in Science Daily that, in 2006, imidacloprid was the sixth most commonly used pesticide in California. Besides being used in agriculture, it is also used in home gradens.

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Factory Farming in America, Part 3: The Environmental Impact of Factory Farming | Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Factory Farming in America, Part 3: The Environmental Impact of Factory Farming | Ian Somerhalder Foundation | The Barley Mow | Scoop.it

Land: In the US, more than 260 million acres of forest have been cleared to create cropland. The cropland is used grow grain fed to farmed animals. Of all the agricultural land in the US, 80 percent is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them; this is almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states! Worldwide, a staggering 30% of the Earth’s land mass is used to raise animals for food; this includes land used for grazing and to grow feed crops.

 

Water: Factory farms use massive amounts of water. It is estimated that nearly half of all the water in the US is used in the process of raising animals for food. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat and only 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat. It takes over 4,000 gallons of water to produce a day’s food for one meat-eater compared to 300 gallons for a day’s food for a person who eats a plant-based diet.

 

Crops: In the US, as much as 70 percent of the grain harvest and 80 percent of the corn harvest are fed to livestock and poultry. Approximately two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, according to Rosamond Naylor, an associate professor of economics at Stanford University. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of meat. Throughout the world, cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people – more than the entire human population on Earth.

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