Archives for 2009

On this blog, I will no longer be attempting to explain the difference between genetic engineering and molecular breeding. Instead I will simply refer those interested to Paul Voosen’s fine article on the subject published in Scientific American and the New York Times today.

The Gene Trade Goes Global

If you are a poor farmer in China, do you care if Monsanto dominates the seed industry in the US?

Food, Farming and Fruitcake

For most people, a fruitcake is an over-sweetened store-bought concoction, dry and dreadful, something to be thrown away as soon as the gift-giving friend has stepped off the front porch or quickly recycled to an unsuspecting colleague. But this is not how I feel about my mother’s fruitcake, a dense mixture of dried fruits and…

Green 2.0

One of the pleasures of reading Stewart Brand’s new book, “Whole Earth Discipline”, is that when it comes to managing the Earth’s ecosystem, he is unconstrained by conventional wisdom. In a break with many old-school environmentalists, Brand argues that the established Green agenda is outdated, too negative, too tradition bound, too specialized, too politically one-sided…

Guest blog by Mateo Burtch. Dear Ms. Doctor Ronald– I recently had the opportunity to read Simplicity Today, the magazine of the University of Reed alumni association, and its article on you (or someone who looks like you and has the same name as you and is apparently you). I found it to be fascinating…

Africa’s Organic Peasantry

An article in the Harvard International Review by Paul Collier paints a stark view of African peasantry. Collier presents a convincing argument that for African agriculture to become more productive, it needs modern agricultural technologies and new modes of organization

An appropriate technology, as asserted by the economist Schumacher in his book Small is Beautiful, should promote values such as health, beauty, and permanence. Low cost and low maintenance requirements are also of prime importance in Schumacher’s definition. Considering both Schumacher’s observations and the goals for ecological farming: • Produce abundant, safe and nutritious food…

Guest blogger Rob Hebert is a second-year student at Georgetown Law. Before moving to DC, he lived in Brooklyn, NY, just blocks from a bar that had over twenty-five beers on tap and thirty arcade machines that all played for a quarter. He can draw you a pretty interesting graph relating “Drinks Consumed” to “Last…

I am traveling now far away from home towards a large lake in Zurich. What a perfect time to receive this poem from Jan Visser. Le Lac (written in 1820 by Alphonse de Lamartine) Ainsi, toujours poussés vers de nouveaux rivages, dans la nuit éternelle emportés sans retour, ne pourrons-nous jamais sur l’océan des âges…

The Daily Star of Dhaka reports today that flood-tolerant rice will soon be officially released in Bangladesh. The flood-tolerant rice varieties (called Sub1- rice) can help farmers, many who live on less than $1/day, dramatically increase yield during floods.