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Food & agriculture - March 15

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Idaho’s Bounty: Linking regional farmers and buyers

Tony Evans, Idaho Mountain Express
Spurred by concerns about "peak oil," dissatisfaction with industrialized farming methods, and a growing demand for local produce, about 40 organic farmers and ranchers, entrepreneurs and community leaders met in Hagerman in late February to establish the "Idaho's Bounty" food cooperative. The co-op organizers plan to link regional growers and food producers from the Magic Valley and Hagerman with Internet-based food shoppers in the Wood River Valley.

Building on recent interest in farmers' markets and community-supported agriculture programs, the Idaho's Bounty meeting was called to present the results of a survey conducted by Ketchum-based AmeriCorps volunteer Laura Theis. The survey, which reached 1,200 homes in the Wood River Valley, was designed to measure support for a "re-localized" food economy based on regional cooperation between food growers and food consumers.
(14 March 2007)


An Experiment in Back Yard Sustainability

Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment via GPM
Tour Scott McGuire's White Sage Gardens in the back yard of his rental home -- a demonstration site for suburban sustainability. He ponders, "How might a household produce and preserve a significant portion of its own food supply?" Composting, a water-conserving greenhouse, and seed-saving are all facets of this beautiful work in progress. Episode 51.

Janaia Donaldson hosts Peak Moment, a television series emphasizing positive responses to energy decline and climate change through local community action.
(14 March 2007)


You Can't Eat Gasoline
Big Food's Lie About Feeding the World

Bob St Peter
Since the beginning of the Green Revolution five decades ago, the standard line from industry and government has been: "We need industrial agriculture to feed the world." The producers of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers; the designers and patent owners of hybrid and genetically-engineered seeds; the farm machinery suppliers; the shipping conglomerates that control the flow of food; and the governmental and non-governmental food policy makers have all been in agreement about their great beneficence.

Sure they make billions of dollars and control the food supply, but don't worry, it's for our own good. In fact, they're doing us a favour. Without high-tech advancements in food production, aka "progress", food would cost too much and poor people throughout the world would remain hungry because, their logic apparently concludes, they can't very well feed themselves. ..

The longest running study comparing organic and non-organic ("conventional") farming systems, the Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial, found yields to be comparable. Not only were yields similar with the organic methods, and in some cases higher, the reduction in fossil fuel use and pollution and the increased soil health made organically-managed systems the clear winner. Perhaps the most important finding was that "In the drought years, 1988 to 1998, corn yields in the legume-based system were 22 percent higher than yields in the conventional system." In a world experiencing water shortages and drought, this is good to know. ..

Bob St.Peter is the executive director of The Good Life Center at Forest Farm in Harborside, Maine, the last home of pioneering homesteaders Helen and Scott Nearing.
(9 Mar 2007)


Fast food sector bows to ministry’s ad demands

Annie Freeda Cruez, New Straits Times Malaysia
PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has worked out a deal with the fast food industry that includes major concessions aimed at creating a generation of healthier Malaysians.

The major players in the industry have agreed to give the ministry the last word on fast food advertisements. They also concurred with the ministry that such advertisements should not be aired during children shows.

In a new development, fast food outlets will carry announcements on the calorie count of each food item besides stating the average number of calories a person should take a day. ..

The ministry’s initiative is a follow-up to a report that Malaysia had the most number of overweight people in the Asean region. In fact, the number of fat people here exceeds that in many developed countries, including Germany and France. ..
(13 Mar 2007)

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