7 April 2017
- Recently, with the work of scientists, activists, responsible politicians and institutions around the globe, organic and sustainable agriculture started to be studied and promoted as an option for large-scale production and was also embraced by individuals who started growing their own food by adapting to modern living conditions. An argument against organic agriculture is lower productivity, but the positive aspects for the consumers are regarded as far more important.
The Rodale Institute in the USA carried out a 30-year long study to compare organic and conventional farming which concludes that: “Our current chemical-based agricultural system is already showing its weaknesses – depleted soil, poisoned water, negative impact on human and environmental health, and dysfunctional rural communities.”
The study shows that, if correctly performed, organic agriculture uses 45% less energy and produces 40% less greenhouse gases than conventional methods, since it also keeps the soils fertile for a much longer period of time. Ancient approaches such as crop diversity and rotation, attracting natural pest eliminators are combined with latest technologies that facilitate the use of alternate sources of energy, including wind and solar power.
6 April 2017
- One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.
When I embarked on a six-month trip to visit farms around the world to research my forthcoming book, “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” the innovative farmers I met showed me that regenerative farming practices can restore the world’s agricultural soils. In both the developed and developing worlds, these farmers rapidly rebuilt the fertility of their degraded soil, which then allowed them to maintain high yields using far less fertilizer and fewer pesticides.
Their experiences, and the results that I saw on their farms in North and South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ghana and Costa Rica, offer compelling evidence that the key to sustaining highly productive agriculture lies in rebuilding healthy, fertile soil.
9 March 2017
- According to a new report by the United Nations (UN), continuing to adhere to the global industrial farming model of agriculture is guaranteed to bring about catastrophic consequences, and that organic farming is in fact the best way to feed an ever-growing world.
It is a myth. Using more pesticides is nothing to do with getting rid of hunger. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), we are able to feed 9 billion people today. Production is definitely increasing, but the problem is poverty, inequality and distribution. ~ Hilal Elver, UN special rapporteur on the right to food.
Pollution and food experts at the UN are highly critical of global corporations which manufacture pesticides while actively seeking to change the model of farming in favor of dependency on corporations for the success of crops.
22 November 2016
- Under the scheme, 50% assistance will be given on cost of organic inputs limited to INR 10,000 per hectare, with the maximum of up to two hectares or INR 20,000 per beneficiary for all categories of farmers.
In September 2014, the Indian Government launched Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (National Agriculture Development Program) to promote use of organic farming and reduce dependence on chemical inputs. In January 2015, Sikkim — which produces 800,000 tons of organic produce, accounting for nearly 65% of all of India’s 1.24 million tons — was declared the country’s first 100% organic state free of harmful pesticides, chemical fertilizers and toxic GMOs.
A few months later, Rajasthan, a western Indian state, launched multiple plans to divert several thousand hectares of land for farming of organic varieties of pulses in order to tackle the twin issues of protein malnutrition and unsustainable chemical fertilizer-based farming.
7 November 2016
- By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion people. Already, 795 million people go to bed hungry each evening. Catching up to – and alleviating – the problem of world hunger won’t be easy, but the task might be realized sooner if innovative tree-shaped vertical farms are invested in and constructed in the future.
According to Fast CoExist, the Urban Skyfarm is a giant skyscraper that was designed to mimic the look of a tree. Conceptualized by Aprilli Design Studio, the trunk is an indoor hydroponics farm for greens. Where leaves would be, lightweight decks are constructed to grow plenty of fruits and vegetables. At the top of the structure exist solar panels and wind turbines; these renewable energy structures will generate enough energy to power the entire operation!
In addition to growing 24 acres worth of fruits and vegetables, the Urban Skyfarm will also capture rainwater and filter it through a constructed wetland before returning it to a nearby stream. It really is one of the freshest designs we’ve so far seen!
30 August 2016
- The surge in organic and non-GMO sales is a heartening reminder that the power of the purse can make a difference. Farmers markets, where people congregate to buy real, nutritious food and meet the farmer who produces that food, have grown all over the country.
But the availability of real, local food is limited in urban areas, where communities often experience “food deserts” where the only things available are the unhealthiest processed substances of the Big Food industry.
Kimbal Musk – brother of the innovating entrepreneur Elon Musk – and his colleague Tobias Peggs are looking to change that by bringing real food production into the heart of urban areas.
This fall they are launching Square Roots, an “urban farming accelerator” centered on the use of modular shipping containers to grow the equivalent of two acres of food year-round. It’s not just a box, though, but an initiative to join the energy of youth with healthy, sustainable solutions to food production.
22 October 2015
- There can be no more certain way to decimate life on Earth than through the act of setting in reverse the natural expansiveness of nature. Yet that is exactly what has been happening for the past two centuries, through the relentless through the relentless eradication of farm and forest biodiversity in a fixated, tunnel vision pursuit of specialisation and profit.
Witness the fresh food market: so reduced has the range of edible vegetables available to the modern shopper become, that just seven varieties now constitute approximately 90% of green foods sold in post industrial Northern European and North American supermarket chains. Whereas, less than one hundred years ago, highly localised food growing offered a far wider range of fruits and vegetables; in spite of supermarkets boasting global food sourcing policies that are supposed to offer almost limitless choice.
11 October 2015
- Hay bale gardening: Effortless food production with no weeds, no fertilizer & less watering.
Hay bale gardening is probably the most fun you’ll have growing your own food and herbs, requiring almost no work or maintenance.
After a search online to find the simplest and easiest “no work” gardening method, I stumbled upon straw bale gardening. The concept is simple: You plant directly into bales of straw, and as the season progresses, the straw is broken down into virgin soil that nourishes the plants from inside the bale. One amazing benefit of this method of gardening is that the bales provide a raised bed, which keeps predators away and makes picking your vegetal treasures at the end of the season easy on the back.
29 August 2015
- You have probably heard that we have 93% fewer food crops available today than 100 yeas ago. That a great portion of our food diversity has gone extinct and disappeared. It seems logical when you look at the infographic above based on a 1983 survey of the National Seed Storage Laboratory undertaken by the Plant Genetic Resources Project of the Rural Advancement Fund , and it has been spread and quoted widely.
It isn’t hard to believe considering this since we are experiencing an extinction rate of approximately 1000x the normal background rate and have seen an average loss of 52% in over 10,300 cohorts measured since 1970. But, a more detailed examination of the facts leads us to see that the diversity of human food crops, unlike general biodiversity, has not shrunk significantly overall.
21 July 2015
- While the majority of citizens in developed nations rely on transported produce and packaged goods to satiate their grumbling stomachs, the people of Russia feed themselves. They have little need for large-scale agriculture, as their agricultural economy is small scale, predominantly organic, and in the capable hands of their nation’s people.
In a thought-provoking article shared by Natural Homes, it was reported that in 2011, 51% of Russia’s food was grown either by dacha communities (40%), or by peasant farmers (11%). The remaining 49% of production was left to large agricultural enterprises.
When one digs deeper into the numbers reported by Russian Statistics Service, however, some very impressive details are discovered. In 2011, dacha gardens produced over 80% of the country’s fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables consumed, almost 80% of the potatoes purchased, and nearly 50% of the nation’s milk supply – much of it consumed raw.
19 March 2015
- Why would you go for seven per cent when you can get 50 to 100 per cent increases in yield without having to use genetically modified seeds?
The South Australian Agriculture Minister has just reported "amazing" results after trialing a new soil program. Minister Leon Bignell describes using technology that works with the soil and other organic matter. This type of innovation, that he calls an "evolution in science" abounds over genetic engineering, he said.
11 February 2015
- If Cathedrals are meant to stand as symbols of man’s aspiration to a higher spiritual consciousness, then hypermarkets are surely monuments to society’s lowest level of material greed. While the farmers and factory workers who toil to provide the products that line their plastic shelves receive the absolute minimum economic reward for their labour, the hypermarkets boast huge profits and evermore grandiose expansion plans. So distorted is the scale and motivation of this form of trading – and so destructive to both human and environmental welfare – that any caring individual should find it abhorrent to carry on worshipping at this golden calf.
In a world where everything is subordinate to the Free Market, the superstores are indeed the gods. Their emissaries specifically include the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank, The International Monetary Fund, the United States Food and Drug Administration and virtually all Western governments, as well as the dominant agrichemical, genetically modified seed and food conglomerates. It is a club that knows no end in its ambitions to dominate and control global resources and international trade. A club that stands squarely behind the clinical cloning of farm animals and the genetic engineering, patenting and declared ‘ownership’ of our common genetic resource base.
15 October 2014
- Widespread interest in urban agriculture is forcing local authorities to re-examine rules that prohibit farming in cities.
Urban farming is considered critical to eliminating food deserts in American cities and making produce more accessible to the 14.3 percent of households that were food insecure last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The USDA defines food deserts as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.” An estimated 23.5 million people in the United States, mostly belonging to low-income families, live in food deserts. Considering 81 percent of Americans are urbanites, growing food in urban areas seems like common sense.
Some cities such as Portland, Cleveland, and San Francisco, have successfully implemented policies, amended ordinances, or offered tax breaks to encourage urban farming, while others are figuring out whether they can accommodate this practice.