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“LIFE IN SYNTROPY” – INSPIRING SHORT FILM ABOUT ERNST GOTSCH’S REMARKABLE BRAZILIAN AGRO-FORESTRY FARMING SYSTEM.

“Life in Syntropy” is a beautiful and powerful film (15:29) and very much worth watching.
Ernst is a farmer and researcher who has devoted his life to creating a form of food production he calls ‘Successional Agro-Forestry.’ He began this pioneering work in his native Switzerland, then Costa Rica, and now for the last three decades in the southern Bahia region of Brazil. Ernst incorporates forest dynamics into a unique form of regenerative agriculture. The resilience and health of his soil – not to mention the bountious crops of food – under this system is truly remarkable. Jim

“‘At the time of harvest, the soil will be better than it was when we started.”

http://agendagotsch.com/

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OUR BEAUTIFUL HUCKLEBERRY GOLD IDENTIFIED AS ONE OF THE TOP-SIX LOW-GLYCEMIC POTATOES.

We have really enjoyed Huckleberry Gold because of its GREAT TASTE, smooth-melting texture and strong yield. Now Montana researchers have identified this brand new variety – out of hundreds tested – as having an especially low-glycemic index.
We’ve been growing Huckleberry Gold as “Certified Seed” for several years in our Organic Wood Prairie Experimental Trials. We have them available – RIGHT NOW – as both Organic “Certified Seed” (https://www.woodprairie.com/product/1124/75) to plant in your garden or field; and as Organic “Tablestock,” eating-potatoes (https://www.woodprairie.com/prod…/1119/organic-maine-potatoes) you may immediately prepare in your kitchen. Jim & Megan

“Researchers in the Sands’ Research Lab at MSU’s Plant Science Department have found low glycemic index potatoes that do not cause the rapid spike in blood sugar that comes with eating starchy foods. Sugar spikes can be dangerous for diabetics who lack the insulin to handle it and have been linked to cancer, heart disease and other conditions.

“Although potatoes provide valuable carbohydrates and vitamins with minimal fat, most varieties have a high glycemic index, which means they are rapidly digested and boost blood sugar dangerously fast. MSU currently has six varieties that have a lower glycemic index than Russet Burbank or Yukon Gold potatoes, which are rated high on the glycemic index.

“The potatoes are not genetically modified. Rather, researchers analyzed existing varieties and used traditional breeding methods to select for desirable traits…

“Huckleberry Gold, released by the Tri-State Potato Commission, is a nutritious variety that produces round to oval tubers more resistant to growth cracks, secondary growth and hollow heart than Yukon Gold and with high antioxidant concentrations and good resistance to common scab and Verticillium wilt

“’It’s a beautiful potato with purple skin and yellow flesh,’ Pilgeram said.”

http://www.theprairiestar.com/news/crop/researchers-find-spuds-that-could-foil-type-diabetes/article_0141603c-d1e5-11e5-ac59-dfc4149983a5.html

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MAINSTREAM MEDIA BROADCASTING TENETS OF ORGANIC FARMING FAR AND WIDE.

Further documentation of the revolutionary effect organic farming is having across all of agriculture and society.
In step with strong, growing interest in food and the environment, articles like this one from the NY Times, which promotes organic-centric soil-building cover crops, are no longer merely delegated to the pages of ag publications like the Farm Journal. Forward-thinking, organic-based, good-farming content – as reflected by our recent series of Agrarian Elder Primers – is increasingly finding its way into general interest broadsheet publications as varied as Harpers, LA Times and Elle. Jim

“Before cultivation, Indiana was blanketed in prairie grasses and forest, and the carbon content of the soil was as high as 10 percent in places. Today, after decades of tillage, which moves carbon from the soil into the atmosphere, and monocropping, the level on many farms is below 2 percent, Mr. Fisher said. Cover crops restore organic matter back into the soil, at a rate of about 1 percent every five years.

“‘As we put carbon back into the soil, it gives us a bigger tank to store water naturally,’ Mr. DeSutter said. ‘This is one way we build resilience into the system.'”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/business/cover-crops-a-farming-revolution-with-deep-roots-in-the-past.html?_r=1

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AMERICAN SOUTHWEST MEETING SOBERING MEGA-DROUGHT CLIMATE MODELS.

Mega-drought in this major food growing region should be a wake up call to everyone, most especially misguided political leaders all too quick to accept campaign contributions from powerful forces committed to the unsustainable status quo.
This valuable article reports on new studies which indicate we are on track for jaw-dropping drought extremes. Jim

“The new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) concludes that ‘The weather patterns that typically bring moisture to the southwestern United States are becoming more rare, an indication that the region is sliding into the drier climate state predicted by global models’…

“… the coming multidecadal megadroughts will be much worse than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s — ‘worse than anything seen during the last 2000 years,’ as explained in a major 2014 study, ‘Assessing the risk of persistent drought using climate model simulations and paleoclimate data.’ They will be the kind of megadroughts that in the past destroyed entire civilizations…

“Bottom line: The U.S. Southwest isn’t passively drifting into a drier state — humans are actively pushing it into a drier state.”

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/08/3746706/southwest-enters-drier-climate-state/

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MAINE’S PIVOTAL ROLE: STAGGERING COLLECTION OF 200,000 HISTORICAL NURSERY & SEED TRADE CATALOGS ONLINE.

Calling all seed buffs. Soon – once the electronic digitization process is complete – this MASSIVE collection of catalogs and broadsheets going back to 1771 will be available to the world FREE online at ‘Archive.com.
This remarkable Seed & Nursery Catalog collection was started over 100-years-ago by Maine botanist Percy LeRoy Ricker who enjoyed a long and dedicated career at USDA. PPH’s Mary Pols explains primal Maine connections in this fascinating article. Jim

“These catalogs, many of them beautifully illustrated, are more than just charming – they represent agricultural history. Their pages are littered with lost varieties and clues to how and what we grew in earlier centuries. They’ve always been available to the public, but until being digitized, that meant a trip to the fifth floor of the National Agricultural Library’s building in Beltsville, Maryland, where the originals are stored in an environment carefully controlled to high archival standards.

“Now anyone with Internet access can see them. But if it weren’t for a Mainer born in Brunswick in 1878, this collection might not exist at all.”

http://www.pressherald.com/2016/01/17/find-a-treasure-trove-of-old-maine-seed-catalogs-online/

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NSPIRATIONAL STORY ABOUT AGRARIAN ELDER AMIGO BOB AND HIS LIFE’S WORK RESCUING EXCEPTIONAL FRUITS AND NUTS FROM THE GOLD-RUSH-ERA.

Imagine the thrill of discovering healthy, insect-and-disease-free fruit and nut trees, long-forgotten and growing untended for 100 years, and laden with perfect, delicious and distinctive fruits. Turn this passion of saving exceptional trees into a 45-year endeavor and you have the lifework of 12th-generation-Californian Amigo Bob Cantisano in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
I’ll be seeing Amigo next week in Big Sur at the second Agrarian Elders Gathering (http://www.nytimes.com/…/business/the-elders-of-organic-far…). We’ll be sure and keep you posted. Jim

 

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/01/17/amigo-bob-cantisano-heritage-tree-explorer

“’It is absolutely just the most hearty tree,’ he says, looking at the tree like it’s a friend. ‘It’s thrown huge crops every year in the drought. It doesn’t get diseases, it doesn’t get insects. Nobody prunes it, nobody waters it, nobody fertilizes it, and it is just prolific as heck. I’ve picked over 500 pounds of pears off of it.’

“Cantisano says these resilient heirloom trees have lessons for growers in California today, where highly tended crops face drought, pests and disease.

“‘If we can figure out how to take those characteristics and meld them into modern agriculture, we’re going to have a more sustainable agriculture,’ he says.”

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CRACK IN THE ARMOR: CAMPBELL SOUP BREAKS RANKS AND COMES OUT IN SUPPORT OF GMO LABELING.

The big question has always been: Why does Industrial Food continue to carry water for Biotech? What exactly does Big Food get in return? Evidently, Monsanto has somehow mezmerized Big Food into thinking their interests are the same. However, the fact is a Big Food company’s primary concern is maintaining/increasing market share. Doing that comes from being responsive to the interests of customers. It sounds like Campbells has figured out ITS FUTURE IS NOT INTERTWIND WITH INDUSTRIAL AG. Monsanto must now be trembling. Jim

“Campbell Soup says it now supports mandatory national labeling for products containing genetically modified ingredients, and that it will stop backing efforts opposing such disclosures.

“The change of heart by the maker of Pepperidge Farm cookies, Prego sauces and Spaghetti-Os marks a break from industry groups that have sought to make labeling voluntary…

“The change in position by Campbell comes amid dimming prospects for industry-backed legislation that would prevent states from requiring GMO labeling.

“Last month, the industry made an aggressive push to add the federal legislation to a massive year-end spending bill in December, but failed to win enough support. That may have been its best bet before Vermont’s law is enacted, although lawmakers say they will keep trying in the coming months.”

http://www.pressherald.com/2016/01/08/campbell-soup-now-supports-federal-gmo-labeling/

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SIGN OF THE TIMES: ORGANIC GARDEN CONTROL PRODUCTS HAVE CAUGHT UP TO SYNTHETIC PESTICIDES IN GARDEN RETAIL STORES.

This is significant. This report is from Industry trade magazine “Greenhouse Grower,” a Meister publication.
For decades, Meister’s bread has been buttered by Industrial Ag pushing their synthetic inputs with high-spend rag ads. Meister has been EXTREMELY ACCOMODATING and has historically displayed a blatant and clumsy chemical-centric editorial slant.
Therefore, for Meister to now actually report on organic overtaking toxic synthetic inputs represents a major milestone.
Organic is on fire. And now, even Meister Publishing must acknowledge this reality. Jim

“Anyone who has followed the growth of organic products for the garden knows that the products popularity were established early in some regions, while others were slow to adopt them…

“The Northeast, one of the early adopters of organic products, reports a much different experience than the Midwest’s. Those reporting increased sales are almost 10 percentage points above the Midwest.”

http://www.greenhousegrower.com/retailing/organic-controls-sales-have-caught-up-with-traditional-pesticides-garden-retailers-report/

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NEW LONG-TERM STUDY: EXPOSURE OF CHILDREN TO PESTICIDES HURTS THEIR LUNGS.

There is a better way and that better way is called Organic Farming. Jim

“The long-term study of 279 children from farmworker families is the first to suggest that even being one step removed from pesticides can bring harm to children’s lungs. Previous studies examined effects on adults who spray the chemicals or work in fields where the pesticides are applied…

“The researchers found a significant correlation between lower exhalation rates — roughly equivalent to about 8% less air — and higher levels of organophosphate metabolites. The decrease in lung function was similar to the declines chronicled in a well-known study of prolonged exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke, conducted in 1983.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pesticides-children-lungs-20151202-story.html

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NEW STUDY: ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE NOW HAPPENING AT AN EXTRAORDINARY RATE.

Procrastination of meaningful action is catching up to the planet. Jim

“A new study published in the journal Nature Geosciences and conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute found that the pace of environmental change is occuring faster now than at any other previous time in the Earth’s history.

“‘The rate of change was considerably slower in the past, lead author David Naafs told weather.com.

“Naafs and his research team showed that previous environmental change events that occurred naturally happened potentially a ‘thousand times slower than today.’

http://www.weather.com/science/environment/news/environmental-change-unprecedented?cm_ven=T_SCI_AN_10916_18