EXECUTIVE ORDER — ADVANCING THE GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY AGENDA TO ACHIEVE A WORLD SAFE AND SECURE FROM INFECTIOUS DISEASE THREATS...

Dec 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The White House Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release November 04, 2016 EXECUTIVE ORDER – – – – – – – ADVANCING THE GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY AGENDA TO ACHIEVE A WORLD SAFE AND SECURE FROM INFECTIOUS DISEASE THREATS By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Policy. As articulated in the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats and implemented in Presidential Policy Directive 2 (PPD-2), promoting global health security is a core tenet of our national strategy for countering biological threats. No single nation can be prepared if other nations remain unprepared to counter biological threats; therefore, it is the policy of the United States to advance the Global Health Security...

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OVERPOPULATION: WHERE DO WE PUT THE NEXT BILLION HUMANS?...

Dec 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Earth & Energy FUTURISM Getty Images In Brief The dangers and ills of overpopulation can be circumvented through deliberate, intelligent urban planning. With a focus on environmental preservation, and the strategic use of land and resources, the problem may not be so intractable after all. Too Many People? Some people try to brush off overpopulation as a “myth,” saying it’s not a problem because all the humans in the world can fit in an area the size of Texas. “Sure they can, but then where would they pee?” wrote Natural News editor Mike Adams. “The argument that the world isn’t overpopulated merely because they could theoretically all be squeezed into one large land mass is an utterly fallacious argument, and I need to urge my friends in the alternative media to stop making...

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Court Fails to Protect Bees and Beekeepers From Toxic Pesticides...

Dec 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Pesticide-coated seeds remain unregulated by EPA as pollinator populations plummet Center for Food Safety   VIA ALTERNET December 1, 2016 bee keeper with bee colony Photo Credit: Pazargic Liviu/Shutterstock On November 21, a judge in the Northern District of California delivered a crushing blow to the nation’s beekeepers and imperiled honey bees. The judge ruled against the beekeepers and public interest advocates in a lawsuit seeking to protect honey bees and the broader environment from unregulated harms caused by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lax policies for seeds coated with certain insecticides known to cause massive die-offs of honey bees. “It is astounding that a judge, EPA or anyone with any common sense would not regulate this type of toxic pesticide use, especially when the seed-coatings are so broadly applied and there is so much at...

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Why Are the Residents of This Small Village So Happy? They’re Managing Their Farmland as Commons...

Nov 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food Their fundamental premise is that the value of farmland lies in its contribution to food production, lasting ecosystems and human life—not financial gain. By Véronique Rioufol, Sjoerd Wartena / Levellers Press  VIA ALTERNET Senior woman with a basket of harvested vegetables against a hothouse Photo Credit: Alexander Raths/Shutterstock The following essay was published in the book Patterns of Commoning, edited by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich (Levellers Press, 2015) A feeling of joy and achievement runs through the group of ten people gathered in Robert’s kitchen. After three years of planning, they have come to celebrate: Ingrid and Fabien will soon be able to settle down and develop their farming business. The farm is theirs! In this small, pastoral village of the French Pre-Alps, establishing young farmers is an act of will. Everywhere,...

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While the nation was watching the election, the EPA just approved another toxic herbicide for Monsanto...

Nov 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]  by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer  NATURAL NEWS (NaturalNews) As universities across the country hold cry-ins, counseling sessions, and post-election therapy events for narcissistic, cry-baby college students, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has quietly approved Monsanto’s new drift-prone herbicide, which will further poison, emasculate, and weaken the population. The soils are suffering from persistent over farming, bio-solid toxins, and chemical-intense agriculture. Soil and crops are so nutritionally depleted; the effect can be witnessed in the panicky, easily manipulated, fragile-minded behaviors of people. EPA bows to Monsanto again, keeping farmers trapped in the herbicide-dependent agricultural cycle The EPA is run by people who have worked for the biotech industry, who buckle under the pressure of the demands of multinational corporations like Monsanto. The EPA cannot protect anything if they lack the courage to say no...

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THE DESIGN OPPORTUNITIES OF AGRICULTURE...

Nov 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Heidi Petersen   THE DIRT Farmers at Grow Dat Farm / Claire Bangser In New Orleans’ City Park, Grow Dat Youth Farm nurtures young leaders through the important and meaningful work of growing food. Started in 2011 on 4 acres, the program has grown to 7 acres and produces 20,000 pounds of produce a year. It is a successful operation, to be sure. Yet, as Johanna Gilligan, with Grow Dat, said at the ASLA 2016 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, the farm struggles with systemic issues, something a thoughtful landscape architect could help them solve. Agricultural Plots / Grow Dat Youth Farm Landscape architects are “generalists and synthesizers who design in complexity,” said Connie Migliazza, ASLA, WRT San Francisco. The skill set of the landscape architect is perfectly suited to agriculture: they are trained...

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SEEDS OF CORPORATE POWER VS. FARMERS’ RIGHTS...

Oct 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Karen Hansen-Kuhn, Foreign Policy in Focus | Report (Photo: Pascal Frei; Edited: LW / TO) The consolidation of corporate power in agriculture has been in the news a lot lately, first with the proposed ChemChina-Syngenta and Dow-DuPont mergers, and now with Bayer’s proposal to purchase seed giant Monsanto. National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson testified in Congress that the proposed mergers would enable just three corporations to control 80 percent of the USseed supply (and 70 percent of the global pesticide market). The result is that farmers have fewer and fewer choices about the kinds of seeds they want to plant. The concentration of processing and distribution also limits options and further squeezes farmers at a time when prices are tumbling around the globe. This expansion of corporate control is also happening in...

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DECLINE OF BEES FORCED CHINA’S APPLE FARMERS TO POLLINATE BY HAND...

Oct 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Dave Goulson  CHINA DIALOGUE.NET The decline of wild bees in China threatens more than just its apple and pear harvests, says pollination expert Dave Goulson. About 75% of all crops require pollination by bees or other species (Image copyright: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Nepal) In the last 50 years, the global human population has nearly doubled, while the average calories consumed per person has increased by about 30%. To cope with the ever growing demand for food, more land has been brought into agricultural production, mainly by clearing forests, and farming has become much more intensive. Fertilisers, pesticides, and development of new plant varieties have allowed farmers to increase the average yield of food per hectare to increase by 130% in the same period. It is obvious that this pattern cannot...

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Aerial Zika Spraying Enriches Chemical Companies While Endangering Public Health...

Sep 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   HEALTHNUT NEWS September 30th, 2016 By Dr. Joseph Mercola Guest writer for Wake Up World As you may recall, the Zika virus made big headlines back in January and February when the Brazilian government blamed Zika-carrying mosquitoes for an uptick in reports of microcephaly, [1],[2] a condition in which babies are born with unusually small heads. Like many other nations, the U.S. overreacted to the news by increasing states’ mosquito eradication efforts. [3] Some early models estimated that 200 million Americans, about 60 percent of the U.S. population, would become infected with Zika this summer [4] — estimates that were clearly vastly overblown. Sounds just like President Bush who 11 years ago claimed that over 200 million would not only get infected with Bird Flu but would actually die from it. They must have figured most people...

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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COULD FEED THE WORLD’S GROWING POPULATION AND PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT...

Sep 28, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     African farmers using cattle to thresh wheat in Eritrea, a region vulnerable to climate change. (David Stanley via Flickr) LONDON—More than half of all the world’s maize crops and around a third of all wheat and rice will be grown in regions vulnerable to climate change in the next 50 to 100 years, according to new research. At the same time, the world’s population will grow to 9 billion, and global food production will need to rise by from 60% to 110% by 2050 to keep up with demand. Such changes will inevitably hit the poorest nations hardest, and will put at hazard the planet’s remaining wilderness areas and the surviving wild plants and animals that keep ecosystems stable. But a...

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‘A Five-Alarm Threat to Our Food Supply’: Experts Describe Bayer-Monsanto Merger...

Sep 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food A scary future for farmers around the world. By Katherine Paul / AlterNet NEW YORK CITY – MAY 23 2015: environmental activists joined a global day out against Monsanto’s GMO programs & demanding that foods be labeled. Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com It’s been about a week since Monsanto and Bayer confirmed their intention to say “I do”—ample time for media, lawmakers, consumer and farmer advocacy groups, and of course the happy couple themselves, to weigh in on the pros and cons. Reactions poured in from all the usual suspects. Groups like the Farmers Union, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth and others didn’t mince words when it came to condemning the deal. (Organic Consumers Association tagged it a “Marriage Made in Hell” back in May, pre-announcement, when the two mega-corporations were still...

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RURAL AMERICA’S NEW CASH CROP – RENEWABLE ENERGY...

Sep 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] A federal program is bringing solar energy and other green technology to farms and small communities. (Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images) TAKE PART John R. Platt covers the environment, technology, philanthropy, and more for Scientific American, Conservation, Lion, and other publications. Bio A winery with a solar array in rural Oregon. A greenhouse in Montana tapping geothermal energy. A farm in Kansas that deployed an energy-efficient irrigation system. These are just a few of the more than 15,000 small businesses and family farms around the country that have received a clean-energy boost from an unexpected source: the United States Department of Agriculture. The funding to make these projects a reality comes in part from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, which offers small businesses and farms—often left on the sidelines when it comes...

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California and EPA Poised to Expand Pollution of Potential Drinking Water Reserves...

Sep 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment A little-known program under federal environment law is being used to permit oil and gas companies to inject waste into the state’s aquifers, even as the thirst for groundwater grows. By Abraham Lustgarten / ProPublica   VIA ALTERNET Oil field in California’s Central Valley. Photo Credit: IRC/Shutterstock As the western United States struggles with chronic water shortages and a changing climate, scientists are warning that if vast underground stores of fresh water that California and other states rely on are not carefully conserved, they too may soon run dry. Heeding this warning, California passed new laws in late 2014 that for the first time require the state to account for its groundwater resources and measure how much water is being used. Yet California’s natural resources agency, with the oversight and consent of the...

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10 States Report Crop Damage From Illegal Dicamba Use on Monsanto’s GMO Seeds...

Sep 3, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Lorraine Chow   ECOWATCH.COM To the horror of farmers across America’s farm belt, hundreds of thousands of crop acres have been adversely impacted by the apparent misuse of the drift-prone herbicide dicamba on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend soybean and cotton plants. A soybean plant affected by dicamba drift from a nearby field, roadside or other area where the herbicide was applied. PurdueAccording to a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance advisory, the EPA and state agencies have received an “unusually high” number of reports of crop damage that appear related to the illegal spraying of dicamba. The EPA has collected similar reports of crop damage from 10 states: Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Missouri appears to have suffered the most. According to the Southeast Missourian, the...

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‘Like it’s been nuked’: Millions of bees dead after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes...

Sep 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Ben Guarino   THE WASHINGTON POST On Sunday morning, the South Carolina honey bees began to die in massive numbers. Death came suddenly to Dorchester County, S.C. Stressed insects tried to flee their nests, only to surrender in little clumps at hive entrances. The dead worker bees littering the farms suggested that colony collapse disorder was not the culprit — in that odd phenomenon, workers vanish as though raptured, leaving a living queen and young bees behind. Instead, the dead heaps signaled the killer was less mysterious, but no less devastating. The pattern matched acute pesticide poisoning. By one estimate, at a single apiary — Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply, in Summerville — 46 hives died on the spot, totaling about 2.5 million bees. Walking through the farm, one Summerville woman wrote on...

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How farms can heal forests — or even make them...

Aug 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] ISDSI By Grist staff This article is published in partnership with: Aspiration Let’s admit it, guys: Trees are pretty awesome. They’re nature’s air conditioners, they’re hella pretty to look at, and they’re really efficient carbon sinks. And, it turns out, when they come together to form a forest, trees gain the superpower of living pretty much forever. (The Amazon forest — what’s left of it, that is — has been breathing for about 55 million years, and it’s not even the most ancient on the planet.) The forest ecosystem — bugs, soil, logs dead or alive, roots, shrubs, creepers, vines, trees, and all — is one hell of a long-term polyamorous relationship. So here’s an idea: What if everything in that long-living ecosystem were edible? What if the entire forest were an agricultural...

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Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Linked to Lower IQs in New Study...

Aug 3, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Expectant mothers living near agricultural lands where organophosphate pesticides were used gave birth to children with lower IQ. Beyond Pesticides   farmer spraying pesticide in the rice field Photo Credit: Narong Jongsirikul/Shutterstock A new study finds lower IQ (intelligence quotient) in children born to mothers who during their pregnancy were living in close proximity to chemical-intensive agricultural lands where organophosphate pesticides were used. This study adds to the body of scientific literature that links prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides with lower IQ’s in children. Organophosphate pesticides, a relatively older generation of highly neurotoxic pesticides still widely used on farms in California, have been associated with a broad range of diseases in both children and adults.  This latest study supports health and environmental advocates’ call to eliminate these toxic pesticides in agriculture and move toward safer, sustainable, and organic management...

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HIGHWAYS CAN HELP POLLINATORS RETURN TO HEALTH...

Jul 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Compost-spreading tactics to encourage native plants that both control erosion and attract pollinators / Caltrans In the face of rapidly-declining honeybee populations, farms across the country are under threat. In California, officials are now pioneering new methods to boost the health of the honeybees and butterflies, according to a recent Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. To reiterate the importance of these efforts, Congressman Jeff Denham, who is also an almond farmer, said at the briefing: “making sure we have healthy pollinators is critical to a state like California.” There to discuss these pioneering methods was Keith Robinson, ASLA, principal of the landscape architecture program at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The purview of Robinson and the 240 landscape architects he leads is roadsides. Their primary job is to control erosion. But Robinson...

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The One Thing Hillary Cares About Most—When It Comes to Food...

Jul 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The Democratic Party platform doesn’t say much about food or farming, except on one major issue. Tom Philpott  MOTHER JONES Hillary Clinton enjoys some coffee while campaigning in an Iowa diner last year. Barbara Kinney/Hillary for America/Flickr If Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wins in November, what kind of food and farm policy can we expect from her? Like most presidential campaign seasons, the current one has been lighter than a soufflé in terms of debate around food issues. Here’s what we know so far. (1) The 2016 Democratic Party platform is mostly short on food policy details. Farm programs get all of two paragraphs, under the rubric of “Investing in Rural America.” The section nods to “promoting environmentally sustainable agricultural practices” and “expanding local food markets and regional food systems,” a likely reference...

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6 Human Activities That Pose The Biggest Threat To The World’s Drinking Water...

Jul 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling THINK PROGRES CREDIT: Shutterstock   Clean, drinkable water is more than a precious resource — it’s crucial to human life. Unfortunately, population growth and pollution are threatening to seriously undermine the availability of clean drinking water in many of the world’s major cities. According to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, water treatment costs have risen by 50 percent in a third of large cities around the world. That means that getting clean, pure drinking water to people has become an increasingly difficult task, requiring cities not only to pay for expensive treatments, but pay for the construction of treatment plants to dole out said expensive treatments. All told, the study estimated that the total cost of degradation to our drinking water —...

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The Developing World is Awash in Pesticides. Does It Have to Be?...

Jul 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Herbicides, insecticides and fungicides threaten the environment and human health in many parts of the world. But research is pointing to a better approach. By Aleszu Bajak BILL MOYERS & CO. Pesticides help developing countries produce more food — but also take a toll on human health and the environment. (Photo by Thomas Cristofoletti/USAID/Flickr cc 2.0) This post originally appeared at Ensia. In today’s globalized world, it is not inconceivable that one might drink coffee from Colombia in the morning, munch cashews from Vietnam for lunch and gobble grains from Ethiopia for dinner. That we can enjoy these products is thanks, in large part, to expanded pesticide use across the developing world. Every year, some 3.5 billion kilograms (7.7 billion pounds) of pesticides — a catch-all term for the herbicides, insecticides and...

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COURT RULES ORGANIC FARMERS CAN SUE CONVENTIONAL GMO FARMERS WHOSE PESTICIDES ‘TRESPASS’ AND CONTAMINATE THEIR FIELDS...

Jun 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Court rules organic farmers can sue conventional, GMO farmers whose pesticides ‘trespass’ and contaminate their fields Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops — and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them — are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine. Minnesota’s Star Tribune has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property. Oluf and Debra Johnson’s 1,500-acre organic farm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMO farms since the couple started it in the 1990s. A local pesticide cooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been...

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JUST FIVE COMMON FOODS PRODUCE MORE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS THAN NEARLY ALL COUNTRIES...

Jun 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   by Natasha Geiling GRIST CREDIT: AP Photo/J.D. Pooley, File Think about the last time you ate something that included wheat, soy, corn, rice, or palm oil. As some of the most common commodity crops in the world, it’s likely that your last meal contained at least one of these ingredients, even if you weren’t aware of it. Palm oil can hide in things like sandwich bread or pizza dough, while soy can find its way into everything from cereal to canned soups. That means that, knowingly or not, your last meal probably helped contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution that is driving global climate change. According to a new report from Oxfam America, the production of these five commodity crops emits more greenhouse gases annually than each of the world’s countries, save...

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RACE IS ON TO FEED A WARMING WORLD...

Jun 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Millions throughout Africa depend on maize, but new crop varieties can barely keep pace with the warming climate. (Kate Holt / AusAID via Wikimedia Commons) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—It can take up to 30 years to improve a crop variety, test it and persuade farmers to adopt it. That means the speed of climate change in Africa could make a new variety of maize useless even before the first harvest, according to new research. But two separate studies that address the challenge of food security in a rapidly warming world suggest that the answers may lie not just in future weather but in today’s soils. One says that better soil data can be used to predict...

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Why Conserving Crops’ Wild Cousins May Be Critical for Human Survival...

Jun 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food As global food requirements grow with a skyrocketing human population, genes from wild relatives of common crops could play a big role. By Kristen Satre Meyer / Ensia  VIA ALTERNET Portrait of a young woman at work in greenhouse,in uniform and clipboard in her hand . Greenhouse produce. Food production. Tomato growing in greenhouse. Photo Credit: Vlad Teodor/Shutterstock Wild cousins aren’t always appreciated at family gatherings. But when it comes to crops, the opposite is often true: Plant breeding has historically relied on genes from plants growing in the wild as a source of diversity that can be introduced into crop plants to produce new crop varieties that are more resilient, nutritious and productive than those currently cultivated. As human populations increase and shift away from traditional diets, demand for food is...

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4 Things You Can Do to Help Out Threatened Honey Bees...

Jun 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Protecting pollinator health is an issue of global importance, but individuals can make a difference. By Danielle Nierenberg, Lani Furbank / Food Tank   VIA ALTERNET bee on flower Photo Credit: DoeLay/Flickr CC According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately 80 percent of all flowering plant species reproduce with the help of pollinator animals like bees, butterflies, birds, and more. This accounts for at least one third of the world’s food crops, including tomatoes, pepper, strawberries, coffee, apples, carrots, almonds, cocoa, and thousands of others. Without pollinators, most plants could not produce fruits and seeds, and agricultural biodiversity would suffer–according to FAO, bees, bats, birds, and other pollinators, increase global food production by 87 percent. Unfortunately, the world is seeing a decline in pollinator populations. From land-use change and pesticide use...

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A NEW KIND OF URBAN FARM IN DETROIT...

Jun 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT   Jared Green Penrose market garden / Jared Green In the Penrose neighborhood of Detroit, two landscape architects, partners in business and life, are testing out a new model: the market garden. While Detroit has acres of non-profit-run farms growing fresh fruit and vegetables that are then donated to communities, Ken Weikal, ASLA, and Beth Hagenbuch, ASLA, who run GrowTown, want to show the residents of this poor community in Detroit and elsewhere that anyone can apply an intensive, efficient farming method to one-third of an acre, grow high-value produce in all four seasons, and make $50,000 – $70,000 a year. But their market farm model is really just one component of a more ambitious plan they are leading in the community, with support from the Kresge Foundation, non-profits, affordable housing developers...

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FEDS FINALLY ADDRESS THE RISKS OF WIDELY USED AG CHEMICAL – ATRAZINE...

Jun 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   A new government report on the weed killer atrazine highlights risks to wildlife that researchers have been pointing to for years. (Photo: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters) Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.   A 500-some-page draft assessment on an agricultural chemical from a federal agency is generally not the stuff of intrigue and redemption. But just such a document could upend the American corn industry, generate strict new regulations for a chemical company in the midst of being acquired by a Chinese firm for $43 billion, and clear the name of a researcher who nearly had his reputation destroyed. The document published Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency reads, “This risk assessment concludes that aquatic plant communities are impacted in many areas where atrazine use is heaviest, and there is potential chronic risk to...

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Honey Bees Are in Decline, but There’s Another, Unsung Bee Who Could Save the Planet’s Food Supply...

Jun 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food Gentle, good-natured and hardworking, mason bees are more efficient pollinators than honey bees—and can help orchard growers and everyday gardeners get more from their plants. By Dave Hunter, Jill Lightner / Mountaineer Books  VIA ALTERNET Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis) Photo Credit: Jaco Visser/Shutterstock The following is an excerpt from the new book Mason Bee Revolutionby Dave Hunter & Jill Lightner (Mountaineers Books, 2016): Why Keep Gentle Bees? When people hear “beekeeping,” the image they picture is almost always of honey bee keepers in white, helmeted spacesuits fretting over their hives for hours at a time and purchasing fairly heavy-duty equipment just to get started. But the options for home beekeeping are far more interesting than that image evokes, and many are much, much simpler. Social vs. Solitary There are thousands of species...

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