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Why Regional Seed Matters

Petra is thrilled to be surrounded by gold medal tomatoes, tome verde tomatillos and black beauty eggplant: all are adapting well to the Finger Lakes!

Image: Petra is thrilled to be surrounded by gold medal tomatoes, tome verde tomatillos and black beauty eggplant: all are adapting well to the Finger Lakes! - June 13th, 2013

Each seed tells the story of its entire life history, millions of years in the making.  A few seeds, in a single generation, may travel the globe.  Most will stay within their watershed and most likely, their microclimate.  In this way, seeds become profoundly adapted to place.


Maine passes second GMO label law in the U.S.

People work on a GMO protest sign.

Image: People work on a GMO protest sign. - June 13th, 2013 - Margaret Badore

Yesterday, Maine's state senate easily passed a bill that may one day mandate the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms. The law passed 35-0, but before labels are required, five consecutive states must also pass labeling laws.

For Maine, that means the GMO labeling will only go into effect if New Hampshire, the only state with which it shares a border, passes a similar law.


Peak Phosphorus

A dead agricultural field.

Image: A dead agricultural field. - April 20th, 2010 - James Elser and Stuart White

From Kansas to China's Sichuan province, farmers treat their fields with phosphorus-rich fertilizer to increase the yield of their crops. What happens next, however, receives relatively little attention. Large amounts of this resource are lost from farm fields, through soil erosion and runoff, and down swirling toilets, through our urine and feces. Although seemingly mundane, this process cannot continue indefinitely.


Locust Plague Ravages Madagascar


A swarm of the Red Locusts passes through the Madagascar town of Sakaraha, on April 27, 2013 (AFP, Bilal Tarabey) Experts estimate there are currently 100 swarms across Madagascar, made up of about 500 billion ravenous locusts

submitted by Luis Kun

Agence-France Press (AFP) - by Gaelle Borgia - May 9, 2013

ANTANANARIVO — For three quarters of an hour a giant swarm of locusts streams across the sky above southwest Madagascar.

Along National Route Seven, normally an artery for tourists enjoying breathtaking views of the island's vast open spaces, a 15 kilometre long (nine mile) swarm clouds the sky.

Travellers today see little more than a natural disaster in progress -- a plague of locusts which has already destroyed half of the Indian Ocean island's crops.


Bee Deaths: EU to Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Honeybees are vital for pollinating crops - a job that would be very costly without them - April 29, 2013

The European Commission will restrict the use of pesticides linked to bee deaths by researchers, despite a split among EU states on the issue.

There is great concern across Europe about the collapse of bee populations.

Neonicotinoid chemicals in pesticides are believed to harm bees and the European Commission says they should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators.

But many farmers and crop experts argue that there is insufficient data.


Millions Face Starvation as World Warms, Say Scientists


Corn in the hands of a farmworker in South Africa. Photograph: Greatstock Photographic Library/Alamy - by John Vidal - April 13, 2013

Millions of people could become destitute in Africa and Asia as staple foods more than double in price by 2050 as a result of extreme temperatures, floods and droughts that will transform the way the world farms.

As food experts gather at two major conferences to discuss how to feed the nine billion people expected to be alive in 2050, leading scientists have told the Observer that food insecurity risks turning parts of Africa into permanent disaster areas. Rising temperatures will also have a drastic effect on access to basic foodstuffs, with potentially dire consequences for the poor.


US National Climate Assessment

Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity

Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity

by Lester R. Brown

With food scarcity driven by falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. “In this era of tightening world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage. Food is the new oil,” Lester R. Brown writes.

What will the geopolitics of food look like in a new era dominated by scarcity and food nationalism? Brown outlines the political implications of land acquisitions by grain-importing countries in Africa and elsewhere as well as the world’s shrinking buffers against poor harvests. With wisdom accumulated over decades of tracking agricultural issues, Brown exposes the increasingly volatile food situation the world is facing.


Chapter 1. Food: The Weak Link

US Rice Imports Contain Harmful Levels of Lead


The researchers found the highest levels of lead in rice from China and Taiwan

submitted by Lloyd Helferty - by Jason Palmer - April 10, 2013

Analysis of commercially available rice imported into the US has revealed it contains levels of lead far higher than regulations suggest are safe.

Some samples exceeded the "provisional total tolerable intake" (PTTI) set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by a factor of 120.

The report at the American Chemical Society Meeting adds to the already well-known issue of arsenic in rice.


Journal of Environmental Science and Health (Part B)

UN - World Food Programme - Hunger Map

                                           (TO ENLARGE MAP - CLICK ON MAP IMAGE BELOW)


The map shows the prevalence of undernourishment in the total population as of 2010 - 2012. The indicator is an estimate of the percentage of the population having access to an amount of energy from food insufficient to maintain a healthy life.


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