Categories for Potatoes in History
February 10, 2016 3:42 pm
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'...
January 26, 2016 8:29 pm
"... 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."
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
January 19, 2016 9:36 pm
"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."
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
January 14, 2016 9:22 pm
“'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."
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
January 14, 2016 9:05 pm
"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."
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
January 12, 2016 8:02 pm
"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."
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."
January 11, 2016 4:45 pm
"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.
January 1, 2016 5:17 pm
"Naafs and his research team showed that previous environmental change events that occurred naturally happened potentially a 'thousand times slower than today.'
This insight from well-respected John Roulac of Nutiva and GMO Inside. John's concerns focus on the absence of agriculture in summit discussions and the follow-through soil-carbon-no-show as a component of necessary solutions. John strongly argues the kid glove treatment dealt to "industrial, degenerative farming practices" is no simple innocent act of omission. Fortunately, there are indications Industrial Ag's orchestrated shenanigans will not be the last word. Jim
December 30, 2015 3:59 pm
"So it’s vital for the public to identify the latest corporate shenanigans using deception and black hat PR to deceive public officials for financial gain.
"These would be the giants of the industrial agriculture industry, including Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, McDonald’s and the entire synthetic fertilizer industry—the corporations that have undercounted and misrepresented America’s agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions...
"It’s plain to see why Monsanto and friends, via their high-level political appointees, influenced the U.S. and United Nations delegates at COP21. They eliminated agriculture and soils from the COP21 agenda and thus the final agreement—despite overwhelming evidence that soil sequestration (carbon farming) is the number one solution to stop the rise of CO2.
“'I am stunned,' said Andre Leu, president of IFOAM Organics International, the world’s leading organic farmers and producers association, based in Bonn, Germany. 'This is a game changer, because soil carbon is now central to how the world manages climate change. After all the years of advocating for this at UN Climate Change meetings and being the lone voice in the wilderness, it has taken off so quickly and now is global, with numerous countries and key institutions supporting it. However this is true of all tipping points.'"
Chalk up another victory to citizens determined to seek food free of GE content.
Meanwhile, Industrial Ag remains in denial and imagines what it does should be exempt from consumer review. Rather than believe their own propaganda, they should study conclusive peer-reviewed research - such as that from Dr. Judy Carmen - which has documented health problems from consumption of GE crops Jim http://gmojudycarman.org/new-study-shows-that-animals-are-…/
December 24, 2015 1:55 pm
"'This is really just a matter of listening to and being responsive to what consumers want us to put into their products,' he said.
"Minnesota is the top sugar beet producer in the nation, followed by Idaho and North Dakota, and industry officials would not disclose how much of their sugar is sold to candy companies. About 55 percent of domestic U.S. sugar is produced from sugar beets, and nearly 100 percent of the beet seeds are genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup."
Interesting and valuable Democracy Now glimpse from last June into Cuba's radical launch into organic farming following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. Cuba has a lot of experience under their belt which will be a helpful teacher to the rest of us. Jim
"'...there is a criticism about organic agriculture, which is not able to feed the world. And we think it’s the opposite. We can take advantage of the knowledge already accumulated for hundreds of years of farmers and the knowledge from science. We manage the system in a way that doesn’t need the use of pesticides'...
"... part of what happened in Cuba was that in the mid-’80s Cuba had a highly mechanized and industrialized agriculture system. They had more tractors per capita than any country in Latin America, and they were investing a lot of money into national food production. But nonetheless, they were still importing 57 percent of the calories eaten on the island from the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc countries. So, when the Soviet Union fell apart, Cuba lost those imports immediately, within a two-, three-year period, along with a 34, 35 percent contraction of their GDP. It launched Cuba into a major economic crisis, and that was a food and agriculture crisis, as well, in a central way, because of the loss of the direct food imports and also the loss of the many other imports into the agriculture sector upon which national food production had become dependent—again, pesticides, fertilizers, petroleum, tractor spare parts, spare parts for other kind of agriculture machinery. So, they were faced with the daunting task of needing to greatly increase food production with a fraction of the resources available.
"Immediately, city residents—in particular, Havana has two million of the 11 million people on the island, live in Havana, largest city in the Caribbean—Havana residents started going out and growing food on empty lots that were close to their homes, using any seeds they could find, with any tools that were available, and literally on any space that was near their homes, including some in their homes—patios, balconies, rooftops."