‘The Guardian’ reports on new research which CONFIRMS our ability to make a wholesale switch to organic farming, provide human beings with healthy diets and put the kibosh on persistent synthetic pesticides and at the same time RADICALLY REDUCE greenhouse gas emissions.
Yes, it’s true. Real Organic Farming CAN save the planet. We have NO reason to settle for the unhealthy toxic menu coerced by self-serving Industrial Ag monopolies.
“Europe would still be able to feed its growing population even if it switched entirely to environmentally friendly approaches such as organic farming, according to a new report from a thinktank.
“A week after research revealed a steep decline in global insect populations that has been linked to the use of pesticides, the study from European thinktank IDDRI claims such chemicals can be phased out and greenhouse gas emissions radically reduced in Europe through agroecological farming, while still producing enough nutritious food for an increasing population.
“Agroecology takes into account natural ecosystems and uses local knowledge to plant crops that increase the sustainability of the farming system as a whole. The IDDRI study, entitled ‘Ten Years for Agroecology,’ used modelling to examine the reduction in yields that would result from a transition to such an approach.
“Reductions, the authors argue, could be mitigated by eliminating food-feed competition – reorienting diets towards plant-based proteins and pasture-fed livestock, and away from grain-fed white meat. More than half the EU’s cereals and oilseed crops are fed to animals. The study models a future in which European meat production has been cut by 40%, with the greatest reductions in grain-fed pork and poultry.”
Over extraction from aquifers is akin to mining for water. The practice violates sustainability standards because extraction rates are magnitudes greater than nature’s replenishment rates and that pattern emphatically can’t last forever.
A new report takes aim at the nationally-significant farm production in California’s productive San Joaquin Valley and concludes MASSIVE CUTBACKS in irrigated acreage will be necessary to protect the aquifer.
Necessary remedies will deliver an enormous impact on California agriculture – and therefore our nation’s food supply. Jim
“But in recent years, as water availability has become less of a sure thing, growers have increasingly relied on groundwater, or water pumped from underground aquifers, to keep their farms alive. During a historic drought that lasted through 2016, Valley farmers drilled over 5,000 wells, going thousands of feet deep to reach thousand-year-old aquifers before their neighbors did—a kind of groundwater arms race…
“Overdrafted aquifers cause all kinds of problems, like water contamination, high energy costs, and in some cases, no drinking water in rural communities. When enough water is sucked out, that can create an actual drop in elevation, known as land subsidence. Heavily drained areas sink by tens of feet and, as a result, water infrastructure cracks and leaks…
“But conservation and new water supplies would cover only about a quarter of the imbalance. To make up the rest, farmers would have to cut pumping by 2.5 million acre-feet per year, effectively turning off 16 percent of the amount of water they’re using today. That shortage would drive up the price of water, and the only way to cope with that, says Hanak, the Institute’s water policy director, would be to fallow no less than 535,000 farmland acres by 2040.”
Two days ago, on the same Saturday that Alaska’s classic Iditarod race also heard the starting gun, the Can-Am dog sled races began in chilly Fort Kent, at Maine’s northern tip.
The signature race runs 250-miles deep into the North Maine Woods.
Don’t miss the excellent photos which accompany the article! Caleb, Jim & Megan
“Despite the temperature hovering at minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit, fans lined both sides of the street, which was packed with plenty of snow overnight to create the runway for the races…
“The staging area near the starting gate was filled with more dogs than people as mushers prepared their gear and hooked up their dogs before the races…
“’At the first checkpoint it’s important that we put down straw and lay them down, and give them a rest,’ she said. The mushers also get a chance to warm up and get something to eat at each of the four checkpoints on the 250-mile trail. The course heads southeast from Fort Kent to Portage, then west into the North Woods before turning north again in the wilderness up through Allagash and back to Fort Kent.”
Happening at Dartmouth College. Talks will be videotaped and then will posted on the Real Organic Project website over the course of the next year. Last minute change, Eliot Coleman is unable to attend and sends his regrets. Hope to see you there. Jim
On a bitter cold day – the last day of January – three baby bear cubs were abandoned by their mother who had been scared off by the noise from nearby logging machines.
A Maine Game Warden rescued the endangered cubs and with the help of Maine Wildlife Biologists grafted them onto two hibernating radio-collared mama bears in the vacinity.
BDN reporter John Holyoke on Wednesday snowshed into the woods with biologists to check up on two of the bear cubs. Lucky for us he dragged along a video photographer. Jim
“Longtime wildlife biologist Randy Cross didn’t know exactly what he and his team would find in the snow-covered bear den they visited on Wednesday morning.
“He didn’t know exactly how many cubs the mother bear, named Funk, would be nursing. He didn’t know if he’d be able to recognize the cub that members of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s bear monitoring project tucked into the den a month ago, after its mother ran off and it nearly froze to death.”
Circa 1893. Walter Mansur with a three-week-old baby Caribou calf. Jim
CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) Foundation has released its beautiful and informative “Roadmap to an Organic California Benefits Report” (http://www.ccof.org/…/CCOF-RoadmaptoOrganic-Report-Final-Hi…).
The Report is extraordinarily laid out and contains striking photography and graphics. The Report addresses the broad spectrum of gains which are accruing from the transformation to regenerative organic farming including Economic, Environmental and Social benefits.
Please consider this Report MUST READ. Caleb, Jim & Megan
“A rigorous body of research now demonstrates that organic agriculture provides evidence-based solutions to California’s pressing economic, environmental, and social challenges. This report synthesizes the documented impacts of organic food and agriculture that were pre-viously spread across government data, peer-reviewed studies, and other scientific literature. It finds that the organic sector contributes the following benefits to California and beyond…
“Creates opportunities for California farmers and food manufacturers because growth in organic food sales outpaces all other food sales in the United States…
“Stimulates local economies through local food sales.
“Reduces poverty rates and raises median household incomes.
“Mitigates climate change through practices that sequester carbon, lower energy usage, and reduce emissions…”
Today’s post, complimentary to yesterday’s article about the swift demise off starlet gourmet-food-delivery businesses, begs the question, ‘What the heck is going on now?’
This time around, the BIG DEAL breakdown is about two of Industrial Ag’s YUGE show-horse high-flying fresh vegetable operations.
Danone’s mega mega ‘Earthbound Farms’ and Campbell’s ‘Bolthouse Farms’ (https://nypost.com/…/campbell-struggling-to-find-bolthouse…/) – among the BIGGEST vegetable operations in the entire world, are in BIG trouble, unable to make money in today’s predatory economy.
Despite EVERY conceivable conventional-wisdom benefit from EVERY consolidation-generated economy-of-scale, these monstrous giants CAN NOT TURN A PROFIT and are striking out seducing the pool of leary buyers.
Are fire sales ahead? Will Industrial Ag retrenchments deflate the painful price-depressing pressure now plaguing family farms? JIm
“France-based yogurt seller Danone has been trying since June to sell Earthbound Farms, a 47,000-acre organic vegetable and lettuce farm in California, according to a source.
“Earthbound went from generating $70 million in Ebitda a few years ago to having negative Ebitda now, the source said. ‘It is losing money and getting little interest,’ a source close to the JPMorgan-run auction said.
WhiteWave Foods in 2013 paid $600 million for Earthbound, and then Danone in 2017 bought WhiteWave for $12.5 billion.”
After the multi-car pile-up of high end ‘artisinal’ food delivery schemes, our thought inescapably turns to yet another darling of love-struck concrete-jungle Wall Street venture capitalists: energy-hog Hydroponic factory farms plopped down on pricey urban real estate.
Amidst the price depressions of the current painful farm crisis in rural America, do highfalutin, plastic-centric, expensive-to-run artificial production systems like Corporate Hydro face tough sledding and similar financial knockdowns? Caleb, Jim & Megan
“Investors avidly embraced the business concept: gleaming industrial kitchens in cities nationwide where chefs created thousands of gourmet meals to be whisked directly to customers’ doors…
“That was the vision for San Francisco’s Munchery, which abruptly closed last week after raising — and apparently eating up — more than $125 million in venture capital. Munchery, once thought to be worth as much as $300 million, was the latest and biggest on-demand food company to fail. Another industry titan, San Francisco’s Sprig, closed in May 2017 after burning through some $57 million. Other failed tech companies that tried to both prepare and deliver food include Maple, Spoonrocket, Bento and Pronto…
“Did Munchery ever eke out any kind of per-meal profit? The chef laughed.
“‘The numbers just weren’t there; there wasn’t enough margin to make it work,’ he said. “To be honest, it was a house of cards.'”