Pages tagged agriculture:

Spoiled: Organic and Local Is So 2008 | Mother Jones

If we wanted to rid the world of synthetic fertilizer use—and assuming dietary habits remain constant—the extra land we'd need for cover crops or forage (to feed the animals to make the manure) would more than double, possibly triple, the current area of farmland, according to Vaclav Smil, an environmental scientist at the University of Manitoba. Such an expansion, Smil notes, "would require complete elimination of all tropical rainforests, conversion of a large part of tropical and subtropical grasslands to cropland, and the return of a substantial share of the labor force to field farming—making this clearly only a theoretical notion."
by Paul Roberts (at Mother Jones) — the gist seems to be: re-evaluate your assumptions about what sustainable agriculture means (hint: it involves more than just carbon footprints and whether/not the farm is organic; see also: labor conditions, see also: man-hours of labor) and maybe be prepared to consider a few harsh realities about cost/benefit before you buy another heirloom tomato for $4
Spoiled: Organic and Local Is So 2008
Our industrial food system is rotten to the core. Heirloom arugula won't save us. Here's what will.
The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-intellectuals — The American, A Magazine of Ideas
"Michael Pollan, in an 8,000-word essay in the New York Times Magazine, took the expected swipes at animal agriculture. But his truly radical prescriptions had to do with raising of crops. Pollan, who seemed to be aware of the nitrogen problem in his book The Omnivore's Dilemma, left nuance behind, as well as the laws of chemistry, in his recommendations. ... n his book, Pollan quotes geographer Vaclav Smil to the effect that 40 percent of the people alive today would not be alive without the ability to artificially synthesize nitrogen. But in his directive on food policy, Pollan damns agriculture's dependence on fossil fuels, and urges the president to encourage agriculture to move away from expensive and declining supplies of natural gas toward the unlimited sunshine that supported life, and agriculture, as recently as the 1940s."
"On the desk in front of me are a dozen books, all hugely critical of present-day farming.... To the farmer on the ground, though, a farmer blessed with free choice and hard won experience, the moral choices aren’t quite so easy. Biotech crops actually cut the use of chemicals, and increase food safety. Are people who refuse to use them my moral superiors? Herbicides cut the need for tillage, which decreases soil erosion by millions of tons. The biggest environmental harm I have done as a farmer is the topsoil (and nutrients) I used to send down the Missouri River to the Gulf of Mexico before we began to practice no-till farming, made possible only by the use of herbicides. The combination of herbicides and genetically modified seed has made my farm more sustainable, not less, and actually reduces the pollution I send down the river."
Food Web, Meet Interweb: The Networked Future of Farms | Wired Science |
Silicon Valley thinks the internet can transform anything from car sales to anonymous sex, but the way Americans grow and buy food is rooted in ancient,
'FarmsReach wants to make ordering from local, small farms as easy and reliable as ordering from Sysco. Farmers with smartphones would snap quick photos of their produce, then upload their products into their “virtual stalls.” Restaurants could cruise through the vegetables online and pick what they wanted. It’s a classic farmer’s market with a high-tech twist. And by bringing producers and customers closer together, the internet could cause purchasers to change who they buy their food from. Already, increasing numbers of restaurants and produce buyers demand to know more about the food they are purchasing.'
"With a suite of mobile apps for use in restaurants and on farms, FarmsReach wants to create an online food marketplace that would directly connect farms with restaurants. “The food supply industry is ripe for ‘disintermediation’ because of the internet,” said Alistair Croll, a startup consultant working with FarmsReach. In other words, middlemen beware: Food could undergo a transition like the one that swept through classified ads, air travel and dozens of other industries. If that happens, it could begin to transform the food system, and that would be welcome news for food activists. The problems of the food system have been well-chronicled over the last few years: environmental degradation, occasional food-borne disease outbreaks and millions of overweight Americans."
Serve your country food - Greenhorns
@thecorkboard [from]
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Food needs 'fundamental rethink'
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Food crops, agriculture and biodiversity cannot be separated from one another A sustainable global food system in the 21st Century needs to be built on a series of "new fundamentals", according to a leading food expert.
Global food production will need to double just to meet demand. "We have the knowledge and the technology to do this, as things stand, but the perfect storm of climate change, environmental degradation and water and oil scarcity, threatens our ability to succeed." ...We are going to have to get biodiversity into gardens and fields, and then eat it. "We have to do this rather than saying that biodiversity is what is on the edge of the field or just outside my garden.
food rethink by bbc
Back to the Land - And the Pursuit of Happiness Blog -
A pictorial essay about food in America.