A major victory for the world’s bee populations has been achieved in Europe, where a majority of European Union (EU) member states voted recently to ban the use of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides across the entire continent for at least two years. In an overwhelming vote of 15 to 8, these member states decided that, Continue reading
Just a few months after a now-famous Italian study found that Monsanto’s NK603 genetically-modified (GM) corn causes serious organ damage and tumors in mammals, a report issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has uncovered that most GMOs in commercial use today contain a hidden viral gene that appears to be unsafe for human consumption. Continue reading
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are everywhere. Even when we make our best effort to eat organically, a GMO will slip through here and there — we eat out or cheat with a few conventional corn chips. Usually the body can handle a few mishaps every once in a while, but shocking information about the Bt-toxin found in genetically engineered crops has scientists (and consumers) worried. This toxin has the potential to turn our intestinal system into a literal ‘pesticide factory’ Continue reading
Russia has now officially banned all imports of genetically modified corn, citing concerns from a recent study by French researchers showing rats grew massive cancer tumors when fed a lifetime of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.
Russia’s consumer protection group, Rospotrebnadzor, said it was halting all imports of GM corn while Continue reading
A Denver, Co., public school has set the bar high for reconnecting the next generation of children with the food they eat. ABC 7 News in Denver reports that Denver Green School (DGS), an urban “innovation” school, has brought new life to an unused, one-acre athletic field by turning it into an organic garden — and the garden has been such a success in just eight months that the school is able to serve fresh produce from it to students in the cafeteria.
“We have harvested over 3,000 pounds of produce from this ground,” said Megan Caley, the programs and outreach coordinator for Sprout City Farms (SCF), which partnered with DGS to create the garden. “Lots of salad greens and root vegetables, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers.”
The goal of SCF Continue reading
These days, more and more people have decided to start a vegetable garden. Not only is the produce guaranteed to be a lot cheaper than that purchased at the store, but it is also a lot healthier and almost certainly guaranteed to be organic.
Starting your own vegetable garden need not be expensive in the least. For those with limited or no yard space, containers can be used as planters. Ordinary strips of scrap wood can be nailed or lashed together to make a `tepee` design, which works well for runner plants such as beans, some cucumbers, peas and some tomatoes. Used pallet wood can be used to make raised garden beds or containers.
It is important to note that Continue reading
Petrochemicals cause cancer. They are also hormone disruptors, capable of contributing to hormone imbalances and premature puberty in children. We are all exposed to these chemicals every day, but we can also limit our exposure by taking simple measures in our daily lives. Some products, like air pollutants, are not in our control. However, there are many household items including the foods we eat and the fumes we breathe that may include hidden petrochemicals.
Children are especially susceptible to these carcinogens. It is estimated that children have at least three times the risk factor of adults for the development of cancer from these chemicals. Children’s relatively undeveloped livers are less effective in the metabolism of toxic chemicals. And small children Continue reading
About four million tons of bananas are imported into the EU each year. A fungal disease is now threatening banana plantations, and plant breeders have not yet succeeded in developing resistant cultivars. Many hope that genetic engineering can offer a solution. At this point, such projects are still only in the greenhouse.
Monocultures offer the perfect conditions for the spreading of pests and diseases. In this respect, bananas are no different from any other crop.
Back in the 50s, the most common banana variety, Gros Michel, was completely wiped-out by what was known as Panama disease. This disease was caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum, also called fusarium wilt. Gros Michel was replaced by a resistant southern Chinese variety called Cavendish. Continue reading
Alternative food sources in a world of shrinking resources are those that offer a diverse profile in terms of availability, nutrition and other important uses. Some food plants grow well in marginal soil, offer high nutrition, and have medicinal uses that could make them high priority in years to come. Easy propagation, tolerance of diverse growing conditions, multiple uses of its products, and beneficial nutrition would be earmarks of life-saving food crops. Another food source already utilized in other countries is insects. An online search for nutritious foods yields results such as broccoli, kale, avocadoes, bee pollen and others equally well-known. While these all-stars undoubtedly have a place in the pantheon of nutritious foods, a few other candidates could nose them out.
Moringa oleifera, also known as horseradish or drumstick tree, is a miracle tree grown throughout the tropics that can nevertheless withstand frost and frozen soil. It propagates easily from stumps, seeds, direct sowing, cuttings or natural regeneration. It is drought-resistant and fast-growing. Continue reading
Growing your own organic fruits and vegetables guarantees the freshest, best-tasting nutrient-rich food. Tending your organic garden also offers a very personal and spiritual experience.
One of the best ways to stay healthy year-round is to eat in the season thereof. This simply means that when certain foods are in season, you eat as much of them as you can and preserve the excess by canning, dehydrating and freezing.
Have you ever noticed that you crave seasonal fruits and vegetables? That is because our bodies need the nutrients we get from the different foods that are grown in those seasons.
If you don’t grow a garden, you can shop Continue reading
As people are turning away from chemical ingredients in everything from cleaning products to beauty products, they are also turning to chemical-free foods by growing food in their own backyards.
In order to keep your homegrown produce as free from harmful chemicals as possible while keeping crop-destroying pests to a minimum use natural pest control methods. If prevention doesn’t get the job done, try some home remedies first. As a last resort, you can turn to organic pesticide–just make sure all the ingredients are listed and they are all things you are not afraid to put on your food.
Preventing pest problems before they start is the best way get ahead of the problem (http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_…). You can do this by following some commonsense guidelines, such as pulling out any weak or already infected plants, building healthy soil to nurture strong plant growth, disinfecting tools after working on infected plants and minimizing breeding grounds for pests by getting rid of non-essential areas of the garden that might serve as a habitat. It is also useful to interplant and Continue reading
It’s bad enough that the U.S. honeybee population has dropped precipitously in the past few years, threatening the existence of all pollinated crops (that’s one-third of American agriculture). Now an epidemic may be hitting the country’s bats–and it has the potential to further threaten agriculture.
Bats are the unsung heroes of organic farming, consuming massive amounts of pests on a daily basis. The little brown bat, Montana’s most common bat species, gobbles up 1,200 insects per hour and in one 2006 study, bats in South-Central Texas were shown to have an annual pest control value of over $740,000 (29% of the value of the area’s cotton crop). For organic farms, this is key, since pest control is hard enough with chemicals. Continue reading
If a national research group has its way, U.S. farmers will soon add a new crop to their fields — hazelnuts.
The U.S. currently produces only about five percent of the world’s hazelnuts.
Traditionally known as a European crop used to make sweets and healthy cooking oils, hazelnuts may have even bigger potential as a bio-fuel and feed for livestock, researchers say. And hazelnuts are environmentally friendly to grow according to researchers at the Arbor Day Foundation, a tree conservation organization.
The U.S. currently produces only about five percent of the world’s hazelnuts — and almost all of that comes from Oregon, an area of the U.S. with a climate ideal for tree growth. But a consortium of the Arbor Day Foundation and three universities — the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Oregon State University and Rutgers University — thinks the U.S. can do better.
To increase the hazelnut’s presence in American fields, researchers first have to develop a hybrid that will grow well in a variety of climates across the country.
The group, which has been conducting research for more than a decade, received a $1.3 million grant last fall from the U.S. Department of Agriculture — it’s largest to date — to help make hazelnuts a commercially viable crop. The research had previously been funded by smaller grants or by the institutions themselves.
Scott Josiah, state forester and director of the Nebraska Forrest Service says both the economic and environmental potential of hazelnuts were likely motivating factors behind the USDA’s decision to award the grant.
“They are looking for crops that show potential,” said Josiah. “Hazelnuts will grow where other crops won’t — such as on sloped terrain.”
The versatility of the hazelnut is what makes it so appealing as a new crop, researchers say. It’s used in candies and as a food supplement. As a cooking oil, it has a similar composition to olive oil with a high content of Omega-9 and Omega-6.