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TWO NEW STUDIES INDICATE A VERY TOUGH MODERN LIFE FOR BEES.

First this bad bee news: “A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.”
Then there’s the new research published by the Royal Society
(http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/cont…/…/1828/20160414) which confirms that because of rising atmospheric CO2 levels, the pollen protein concentration of bee-critical Fall-food source Canada Goldenrod has experienced a steep decline compared with an 1842 baseline.
The Goldenrod decline is also consistent with well-documented declines in the nutritional content of important agricultural food crops, also attributable to rising CO2 levels.
What we do on land we control – plus where we spend our food dollars – therefore has significant impact not only on bees but also on ourselves as a species. Jim

http://www.growingproduce.com/vegetables/honeybees-collect-urban-pesticides-via-non-crop-plants/

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EXCELLENT EXPLANATION OF WHY SEED IS NOT JUST CRITICAL TO AGRICULTURE BUT IS CENTRAL TO MANY OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES OF OUR TIMES.

As the world’s seed industry strives for ever greater control of seed resources, we stray further and further away from the resilient open-source seed systems which have served mankind well for millennia.
Where do our solutions lie?
It is no coincidence that the steady and alarming industry machinations AWAY from public ownership of genetic seed resources – theft from the Commons – is undermining mankind’s ability to not only live good and full lives but also our ability to survive. Jim

“Five of the global issues most frequently debated today are the decline of biodiversity in general and of agrobiodiversity in particular, climate change, hunger and malnutrition, poverty and water. Seed is central to all five issues. The way in which seed is produced has been arguably their major cause. But it can also be the solution to all these issues.

“During the millennia before modern plant breeding began, farmers were moving around with seeds and livestock, and because neither were uniform, they could gradually adapt to different climates, soils and uses. Whenever farmers settled, they continued to improve crops and livestock. In the case of crops, the way they did it can still be seen today in a number of countries and consists of selecting the best plants, which give the seed to be used for the following season. This process was highly location-specific in the sense that each farmer did it independently from other farmers and for his/her conditions of soil, climate and uses. The enormous diversity of what we call ancient, old, heirloom varieties originated through this process.
“The transition to modern plant breeding was accompanied by a change from selection for specific adaptation to selection for wide adaptation: this became the dominant breeding philosophy and was the basic breeding principle adopted by the Green Revolution.

“…Combining seed saving with evolution and returning control of seed production to the hands of farmers, it can produce better and more diversified varieties. These can help millions of farmers to reduce their dependence on external inputs and their vulnerability to disease, insects and climate change and ultimately contribute to food security and food safety for all.”

https://www.independentsciencenews.org/un-sustainable-farming/the-centrality-of-seed-building-agricultural-resilience-through-plant-breeding/

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Potato Texture Explained

EXCELLENT DISCUSSION OF WHAT MAKES A POTATO A POTATO. Cooks and the curious will enjoy this clear explanation about the wide gamut of behaviors exhibited by potatoes in the cooking process dependent on the character of the starch that constitute them. We guarantee you will learn something new – we did!
This new BBC article compliments Megan’s concise classic “Potato Texture Cooking Guide” composed year’s ago (https://www.woodprairie.com/kitchen) in an effort to explain the same potato phenomenon. After reading these two pieces you will come away understanding and never look at a potato in the same way again. Jim & Megan

“Baked, mashed, boiled, fried – in a general sense, it’s hard to do potatoes wrong. There’s something about the fluffiness of a well-baked potato, the crunch of a nice chip, the creaminess of mash (the best recipe I know: keep adding butter until it stops being absorbed) that warms the heart, as well as the taste buds.

“But if you’ve ever chosen the wrong potato for the job, chances are you know it. It may not be the kind of thing explained to you in school, but anyone who’s tried to fry red potatoes or make salad with russets knows, not all spuds are created equal. Some of them – to put this mildly, as my smoke detector did not – are not meant for frying.”

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160222-the-secret-transformative-powers-in-a-potato

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Food Navigator USA “Eric Ripert: Consumers need to increase budgets for fresh, sustainable, non-GMO foods.” Food vs. Luxuries

“…Ripert said if people want to eat fresh foods and foods made with sustainable ingredients, they need to increase their food budgets – and prioritize spending on food over luxuries…According to the USDA, Americans spend less on food than any other country – just 9.4% of disposable income in 2010. Although food prices have been rising, this is down from 11.4% in 1990 and 13.2% in 1980.” This 60 year federal policy of ‘cheap food’ at retail and back-end subsidies to Big Ag is a big part of the problem pushing family farmers off the land. Jim

Food Navigator USA “Eric Ripert: Consumers need to increase budgets for fresh, sustainable, non-GMO foods.” Food vs. Luxuries

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Via Campesina “Opposition to biotech giant Monsanto growing worldwide, new report shows” Resistance Hurting GMO Introductions

“This report demonstrates that the increasingly vocal objections from social movements and civil society organizations are having an impact on the introduction of GM crops…” The power of the people. Good news for a Sunday. Jim & Megan

Via Campesina “Opposition to biotech giant Monsanto growing worldwide, new report shows” Resistance Hurting GMO Introductions

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Natural Society “Explosive: Monsanto ‘Knowingly Poisoned Workers’ Causing Devastating Birth Defects.” Argentinean Farmers Sue.

“…the tobacco companies were ‘motivated by a desire for unwarranted economic gain and profit,’ with zero regard for the farmers and their infant children – many of which are now suffering from severe birth defects from Monsanto’s products.”.

Natural Society “Explosive: Monsanto ‘Knowingly Poisoned Workers’ Causing Devastating Birth Defects.” Argentinean Farmers Sue.

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Food and Drink Digital “Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont for GMO Labeling Bill” Connection with OSGATA v. Monsanto

“The agency in particular cited a study, financed by the 2,4-D manufacturers and conducted by Dow, in which the chemical was put into the feed of rats. The study did not show reproductive problems in the rats or problems in their offspring that might be expected if 2,4-D were disrupting hormone activity, the E.P.A. said.” Jim

Food and Drink Digital “Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont for GMO Labeling Bill” Connection with OSGATA v. Monsanto

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Bangor Daily News “Maine farmer leads organic growers’ continued fight against Monsanto” Maine’s Largest Newspaper.

Maine’s largest newspaper, the Bangor Daily News with Jen Lynds’ article on the Appeal filed Wednesday in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto. “‘We want to believe that the system will work for us,’ Gerritsen said Thursday….Gerritsen maintained that growers have a right not to be invaded by something that would be catastrophic to their businesses and families. He also said that virtually all of the 83 farmers represented in the initial suit are joining the appeal.” Jim & Megan

Bangor Daily News “Maine farmer leads organic growers’ continued fight against Monsanto” Maine’s Largest Newspaper.