agriculture

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Category archives for agriculture

Who Picked Those Veggies?

Hat tip to reader Abbie who pointed me to this video. When we talk about local and organic, one of the central things that often gets lost is this – who does the work? And how are they paid? And how do you change this so that they get paid fairly – because right now…

Putting Me in My Place

The first thing you need to know about my farm is that it is huge. I mean enormous – by world standards. The vast majority of the world’s farms – more than 80%, are very small farms, of less than 2 hectares (about 5 acres), and they produce the majority of the world’s staple crops…

Wheat Stem Rust in the Economist

Longtime readers of ye olde blogge will remember that we talked a lot about wheat stem rust and other wheat diseases in the last few years, since Ug99 began to devastate Kenyan wheat production, and then again as it appeared in Yemen and Iran, but I don’t think I’ve posted anything about the track of…

Garden Calendar When the dogstar is aglow plant petunias in the snow. When the snow begins to melt Wrap your hollyhocks in felt. When the felt begins to bloom pick the apples off your broom. When the broom begins to wear weed the turnips in your chair. When the chair begins to rock prune the…

“No Till” is a confusing term. For most people who know nothing about agriculture, the word “till” isn’t particularly revealing – it sounds like there’s no cash register. Given that level of knowledge, when you are reassured that no tillage means less erosion, you aren’t going to crticize. Those with home gardens often know something…

A newly produced UN Report rightly points out, among other things, that the western model of meat and dairy production simply won’t work on a planet of 9 billion people. The report, which quantifies the basic unsustainability of affluent societies and the challenges facing us in satisfying needs we’ve spent a century creating and can’t…

From the wonderful Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog (a favorite of mine) over at Research Blogging, is a fascinating summary of paper that describes the ways that most modern seed varieties, selected to be used under commercial conditions, don’t do as well under organic conditions, because we haven’t selected for the qualities that would enable success: To…

Note: This is a repeat from ye olde blogge, brought about by the barn cleaning we’re engaged in. From December to March or the beginning of April, we simply don’t clean out the barn. This sounds as if it might be gross, but it really isn’t – we keep layering on bedding, and sufficient carbon…

Last Sunday’s New York Times had an article about the shortage of slaughterhouses for those raising non-industrial and local meat. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of slaughterhouses nationwide declined to 809 in 2008 from 1,211 in 1992, while the number of small farmers has increased by 108,000 in the past…

You Must Read This!

I have an enormous amount of respect for Stuart Staniford, who I think is one of the best minds working on our collective ecological crisis. That said, we’ve had some serious debates, because I’ve tended to think that our situation, particularly our longer term food situation, is more serious than Staniford has – but those…