agriculture

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Category archives for agriculture

From Agrilife, apparently we’re going to spend 3 million bucks to confirm the obvious – if you only breed for one thing, maximum milk production, you will be casting a lot of other critical traits to the winds: “Fertility is a critical component of efficient dairy production,” Pinedo said. “Failure to attain and maintain a…

Good review of the progress made by Vermont’s Farm to Plate Initiative (a model I’m watching closely).  One of the most challenging areas for local food expansion is moving into schools and hospitals – and yet, this is also where it is most needed.  I’m also pleased to see the expanded program in VT law…

SRI Rice Production Getting Its Due

It is nice to see SRI Rice Production, a really important advance in sustainable, small scale grain production getting its due here in this Independent Science News article.  Most fascinating, it covers ways in which the SRI model is being adapted to other grains and crops, and its potential utility. The world record yield for…

Does Buying Local Matter?

A reader asked me to comment on this video critiquing Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s challenge to Ontario consumers to spend ten more dollars a week on local, Ontario produced food.  My first comment is that people who speak like affectless zombies probably should stick to the written word, rather than making videos, but that’s more of…

Not Quite 100 Million, but It Is a Start

A few years back Stuart Staniford, (who is one of the most brilliant people I know) and I had a lively debate about the future of small scale agriculture over at The Oil Drum. Stuart argued that agriculture would continue to get bigger and more industrialized, because its fossil fuel dependency really wasn’t that great.…

Yet Another Wave of Global Unrest?

From Simon Black at Business Insider: The researchers’ analysis went a step further, though; they modeled the relationship between food prices and social unrest to reach a simple conclusion– whenever the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)’s global food price index climbs above 210, conditions ripen for social unrest. Read more: http://www.sovereignman.com/expat/two-no-brainer-ways-to-play-rising-food-prices-8900/#ixzz27moSPcTK We’re currently at 213.  Read the whole thing,…

50 Years After Silent Spring

It is the nature of popular books to inspire people to wildly overstate their importance.  The most stunning example is Abraham Lincoln’s statement upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 “So you’re the little lady who wrote the book that started this great war.”   While _Uncle Tom’s Cabin_ was an incredibly important book, one that…

There has been a fair amount of hoohah about a Stanford Study that suggests that organic foods are no more nutritious than conventional foods.  This shouldn’t be a shock, but many health claims have been waved about over the years that say otherwise.  The Atlantic’s Brian Fung rightly points out that only over the last…

Regional Food Analysis

My absolute favorite kinds of presentations to give (even though they are by far the most work) are the one’s I’ve been doing increasingly often, giving analyses of regional food security. I focus on both present and prospective food issues in a lower energy, less economically stable and warmer future. in them I set out…

The End of Maple?

We’re very tiny maple producers, and only on a home scale. I boil the syrup down on the back of our woodstove, and collect the syrup from old plastic buckets. Our operation is stone-age compared to our more serious neighbors. We don’t have much of a sugar bush – most of our land was open…