Biodynamics is a down-to-earth approach to growing and producing wine – and many other foods — that hews to organic methods and replicates nature’s biodiversity by using cover crops, buffer zones, farm animals and farm-generated composts. While it harkens back to the old ways, it may just be the future, as commercial methods using heavy pesticide applications outstay their welcome.
Recent tests show Atrazine at levels above the safe threshold at dozens of testing sites, including some in Texas. This pesticide, known for feminizing male frogs, has been found to affect human fertility and raise the risk of breast and prostate cancer. A frog expert in Berkeley wants Atrazine banned.
Did you know there are now more than 8,000 active farmers’ markets operating in the U.S.? Connect with one near you using this state-by-state list, which also links to programs for growers and cottage food makers.
So you’re on to the fact that you need to buy “humanely raised” or grass-fed meat to assure that the farm animals on the menu had a better life. But what about the wildlife pushed around to make way for farms? No, there’s not an app for that. But there is a certification that helps conserve wildlife.
Frogs have been disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate, slammed by the loss of habitat and fouled by pesticides in the waters where they live and breathe. Those upset about the frog die-off should pay special attention this summer as the EPA opens a review of the pesticide atrazine.
Genetically modified foods are everywhere, having crept into processed foods as key components, such as corn oil, corn flour, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, soy isolate, invert sugar and on down the food label. How can a consumer cope? Until GE foods are labeled, shoppers have to ferret out the non-GMO foods and ingredients.
European researchers studying the effects of seven common agricultural pesticides on frogs report that exposing the amphibians directly to the chemicals resulted in rates of mortality from 40 to 100 percent.
s we start 2013, many people will be thinking about plans and promises to improve their diet and health. But we think a broader collection of farmers, policy-makers, and eaters need new, bigger resolutions for fixing the food system – real changes with long-term impacts in fields, boardrooms, and on plates all over the world. These are resolutions that the world can’t afford to break with nearly one billion still hungry and more than one billion suffering from the effects of being overweight and obese. We have the tools—let’s use them in 2013!
We may have reached “peak farmland” on earth, meaning we have enough cultivated land to support our bulging human population, according to a report released this week.
Even as the planet reaches a population of 10 billion people by around 2060, it will still have adequate farmland — and be able to return a sizable chunk of arable land back to nature — thanks to more efficient agriculture, stabilizing populations and changing food tastes, say the three authors of “Peak Farmland and the Prospects for Sparing Nature,” being published in Population and Development Review (PDR) in 2013
Drought continues to savage the U.S., claiming crops, threatening livestock and spurring wildfires, and it is intensifying. The U.S. Drought Monitor reveals a deepening drought in the midsection of the country, which is predicted to continue as above-average hot temperatures fail to abate.
‘Tis the season of farmers’ markets. Last week I moseyed on down to the Southampton (NY) farmers market and picked up some tasty, locally produced cheese that melted in my mouth with a delicious tang. But that local dairy farmer and others like him could become an endangered species if we continue on our current carbon-spewing energy path. Cows don’t produce much in very hot weather and scientists say that “heat stress and other factors could cause a decline in milk production of up to 20 percent or higher” in the Northeast under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. That’s a big deal: dairy is the largest agricultural sector in the region, producing some $3.6 billion dollars annually.
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
For years we’ve been told that pesticides and herbicides are necessary for big agricultural operations because they increase yields.
But what if it weren’t true?
Recent research on potatoes showed that low levels of herbicides, which did not result in obvious damage to the plants above ground, negatively affected their underground growth, reducing yields.