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Food & agriculture - Dec 21

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletinhomepage

Cuba's local growers
Sara Irwin, Reuters
In the wake of three devastating hurricanes, urban farming provides needed produce to supplement food shortages.

Urban farming took hold in Cuba back in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union.
(16 December 2008)
Short video on Cuba's agricultural revolution, which is not much covered in the media. Also at Scientific America. -BA

Restoring the pee-h balance
Paul Chapman, Reuters
The ancient use of cow urine in medical treatments is growing from a stream to a flood in parts of India.

The treatment is increasingly being used in mainstream medicine to help treat a range of conditions after scientists in the Indian city of Bangalore said cow urine was useful in the treatment of diabetes.

Experts also say tests suggest it helps to boost the effects of some antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs.
(15 December 2008)
Lest you smile, consider that urine has been valued throughtout human history for many purposes. In particular, it is a great source of nutrients for gardening and farming. See Liquid Gold for a light-hearted look at the subject. -BA /i>

From Cubicle Nerd to Cucumber Vendor: Learning Small Scale Farming in Mid-life

Jim Dunlap, The Oil Drum
This is a guest post from Jim Dunlap (Wyoming) about his experience as a new farmer in Virginia and is part of our Wed pm/Sat pm TOD: Campfire series, where we will post articles more related to personal, local and social responses to our resource and environmental predicaments.
-Jason Bradford (TOD editor)

Like many posters on The Oil Drum (TOD) I find the subject of how we are going to feed ourselves in our future world of constrained energy supplies and climate change fascinating and complex. Partly by design and partly by happenstance I am living a version of the kind of life some believe will become not only the norm but required of large numbers of people in our future world. This post is an attempt to describe some of my experiences growing food on an 11 acre farm during 2008. Earlier TOD discussions, involving such posters as Jason Bradford, Wisdom from Pakistan and others on carrying capacity, minimum food requirements, production possibilities and other aspects of small scale agriculture, led me to think that a description of the effort and results of one farmer, at the small end of the farming spectrum, would be interesting information for many on TOD and might generate meaningful discussion. So here goes.
(20 December 2008)

Fertilizer prices could be bottoming

Weekly Fertilizer Review
While nearby prices for fertilizers continue to show weakness due to plunging demand and oversupply, forward bids are starting to creep higher for January and February delivery on international markets, the first hint that the complex may be trying to bottom...

..Manufacturers announced more cutbacks in production this week, as they move quickly to slash output. Now, the question is whether they will be able to supply all the product farmers need in a relatively short amount of time this spring. The industry is already buzzing about the potential for a logjam, compounded by squeezed farmer margins that may force producers to make last-minute planting decisions...
(19 December 2008)
Pointed out by Bob Shaw (totoneila) at The Oil Drum.

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