“Organic farming and gardening clearly isn’t just the old-timers way any more. It’s the way of a sustainable world. Younger farmers are coming into the fray more so than at any other time in our history except the 1920s, largely in response to our dilapidated and corrupt agricultural system. Continue reading →
Click image to download the full UN report (5.4 Mb)
Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once against sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system.
The cover of the report looks like that of a blockbuster documentary or Hollywood movie, and the dramatic nature of the title cannot be understated: The time is now to switch back to our natural farming roots.
The findings on the report seem to echo those of a December 2010 UN Report in many ways, one that essentially said organic and small-scale farming is the answer for “feeding the world,” not GMOs and monocultures. Continue reading →
Future local organic farmers of America? The 2012 crew at Lindsey Lusher Shute’s New York farm. (Photo: Hearty Roots Community Farm) via TakePart.com
“In the past year, the mainstream media featured more than a few stories critiquing America’s local and organic foods movement. The New York Times and others swallowed the findings of a Stanford study debating the value of organic foods hook, line and sinker; Time and Dr. Oz declared, “Organic food is great, it’s just not very democratic”; and NPR recently reported that growing local food doesn’t pay. Continue reading →
University of Massachussets Organic Wheat trials 2011. Photo via Boston Local Foods Festival
“Eli Rogosa has a long history with rare seeds. Twenty years ago Rogosa went to the Middle East to work with farmers in the ancient lands of the “Fertile Crescent,” the birthplace of wheat. She discovered stunning heirloom varieties of grains and vegetables, unlike anything available in the United States, that grew robustly in the harsh desert climate without irrigation. Curious how this vigor had evolved through the local traditional farming methods, Rogosa embarked on a journey that would lead her to remote traditional farms across Europe and the Middle East. Continue reading →
“The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan drew international attention a few years back for saying gross national happiness should trump gross domestic product when measuring a nation’s progress. If you’re going to prioritize happiness, the Bhutanese thinking goes, you’d better include the environment and spiritual and mental well-being in your calculations. (Not everyone in Bhutan is happy, and many leave as refugees, as Human Rights Watch and others have noted.)
But Bhutan, which has only 700,000 people — most of whom are farmers — has another shot at international fame if it can make good on a recent pledge to become the first country in the world to convert to a 100 percent organic agricultural system. Continue reading →
“Before the clock runs out on this month’s breast cancer and GMO awareness, I’d like to point out some facts that may not be obvious to some consumers.
No doubt you’ve seen the pink ribbons all over food labels in the grocery store or on fast food products like KFC. These labels are easy to spot on packages, cups, cans, boxes, and other containers of many foods and beverages.
But there’s something else to notice too – a majority of these foods bearing the pink ribbon for cancer awareness are full of harmful, toxic ingredients. Don’t believe me? Just pick up one of these food products and have a look. Continue reading →
“We broke the story of Stanford’s ridiculous organic food study the very night of its publication. Now, a month later, the media is catching on to the study’s flaws; New York Times Opinion columnist Mark Bittman apologized for hoping—in vain—that the study would have little impact on the media.
“That was dumb of me,” he says, “and I’m sorry.”
Narrow Definitions and Egregious Oversights
The study suggests that organic animal and plant products are no healthier than conventionally grown varieties. Bittman puts it beautifully: “By providing ‘useful’ and ‘counterintuitive’ information about organic food, [the study authors] played right into the hands of the news hungry while conveniently obscuring important features of organic agriculture.” Continue reading →
“Mitt Romney hasn’t divulged many details about what kind of agriculture policy he’d pursue as president (sound familiar?). But all signs suggest that he’d follow the agribiz party line. As Wayne Barrett showed in a recent Nationpiece (my comment here), Romney has ties to agribusiness giant Monsanto that date to the ’70s, when GMO seeds were an R&D project, not a business model. According to Barrett, Romney, then a young Bain consultant, helped nudge Monsanto on its path away from disgraced industrial chemical concern toward its current status as world-beating agribiz player. Then there’s the agribiz execs and shills the GOP nomineee tapped for his campaign’s Agriculture Advisory Committee.
But guess what? In the privacy of his campaign jet, the beleaugured presidential contender apparently eats organic, reports the Today Show’s Peter Alexander: Continue reading →
“…For Bob, a crucial step came when he switched to organic production eight years ago. A Stanford study has cast doubt on whether organic food is more nutritious, but it affirms that organic food does contain fewer pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bob’s big worry in switching to organic production was whether cows would stay healthy without routine use of antibiotics because pharmaceutical salesmen were always pushing them as essential. Indeed, about 80 percent of antibiotics in the United States go to farm animals — leading to the risk of more antibiotic-resistant microbes, which already cause infections that kill some 100,000 Americans annually.
Bob nervously began to experiment by withholding antibiotics. To his astonishment, the cows didn’t get infections; on the contrary, their health improved. He realized that by inserting antibiotics, he may have been introducing pathogens into the udder. As long as cows are kept clean and are given pasture rather than cooped up in filthy barns, there’s no need to shower them with antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, he says. Continue reading →
“Organic Produce Reduces Exposure to Pesticides, Research Confirms / Stanford Univ. Study Also Finds Organic Meat Has Fewer Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
Washington, D.C. – Consumers can markedly reduce their intake of pesticide residues and their exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria by choosing organic produce and meat, according to researchers at Stanford University who reviewed a massive body of scientific studies on the much-debated issue.
The Stanford team analyzed more than 230 field studies and 17 human studies conducted in the United States and Europe to compare pesticide residues, antibiotic resistance and vitamin and nutrient levels in organic and conventionally produced foods. The study, published Monday (Sept. 3), is available online at the website of The Annals of Internal Medicine.
"Bernard is right; the pathogen is nothing; the terrain is everything."
-- Louis Pasteur's deathbed words
"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all'." (Martin Luther King - Letter from Birmingham Prison, Alabama)