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Food & agriculture - Dec 4

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Todmorden's Good life: Introducing Britain's greenest town

Joanna Moorhead, The Independent
It's an ordinary small town in England, but its residents claim they've discovered the secret that could save the planet. And with world leaders preparing to gather in Copenhagen in just over a week's time to debate how to do just that, the people of Todmorden in the Pennines this week issued an invitation: come to our town and see what we've done.

In under two years, Todmorden has transformed the way it produces its food and the way residents think about the environment. Compared with 18 months ago, a third more townspeople now grow their own veg; almost seven in 10 now buy local produce regularly, and 15 times as many people are keeping chickens.

The town centre is dotted with "help yourself" vegetable gardens; the market groans with local meat and vegetables, and at all eight of the town's schools the pupils eat locally produced meat and vegetables every lunchtime.

"It's a complete turnaround," said Pam Warhurst, a former leader of Calderdale Council, board member of Natural England and the person who masterminded the project – called Incredible Edible – and motivated her friends and neighbours to join in. "Our aim is to make our town entirely self-sufficient in food production by 2018 – and if we can carry on at the same rate as we've done over the past 18 months since we had our first meeting and set this initiative up, we're going to make it."

And the scheme's leaders are now hoping to export their idea: two weeks ago the town held a conference on how to make Incredible Edible-style initiatives work elsewhere, and more than 200 people from across Britain attended.

...SJ Clegg, 42

Smallholder

"Three years ago I gave up my job as a designer in London and moved to a converted barn above Todmorden to run a smallholding. So I was already here and keeping my own pigs, sheep, chicken and goats, but Incredible Edible has given a huge boost to what I do because it's made people in the town so much more aware of issues around locally produced food. The eggs I sell, for example, aren't watery like a lot of supermarket eggs: they've got big, orange yolks. And, perhaps most surprising of all, they're cheaper."...
(29 Nov 2009)


Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: food and agriculture

multiple authors, The Lancet
Summary

Agricultural food production and agriculturally-related change in land use substantially contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. Four-fifths of agricultural emissions arise from the livestock sector. Although livestock products are a source of some essential nutrients, they provide large amounts of saturated fat, which is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We considered potential strategies for the agricultural sector to meet the target recommended by the UK Committee on Climate Change to reduce UK emissions from the concentrations recorded in 1990 by 80% by 2050, which would require a 50% reduction by 2030. With use of the UK as a case study, we identified that a combination of agricultural technological improvements and a 30% reduction in livestock production would be needed to meet this target; in the absence of good emissions data from Brazil, we assumed for illustrative purposes that the required reductions would be the same for our second case study in São Paulo city. We then used these data to model the potential benefits of reduced consumption of livestock products on the burden of ischaemic heart disease: disease burden would decrease by about 15% in the UK (equivalent to 2850 disability-adjusted life-years [DALYs] per million population in 1 year) and 16% in São Paulo city (equivalent to 2180 DALYs per million population in 1 year). Although likely to yield benefits to health, such a strategy will probably encounter cultural, political, and commercial resistance, and face technical challenges. Coordinated intersectoral action is needed across agricultural, nutritional, public health, and climate change communities worldwide to provide affordable, healthy, low-emission diets for all societies.
(25 Nov 2009)
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Farming with Far Fewer Fossil Fuels at Tillers International
(video)
Tillers International
Tillers International is a nonprofit learning center located in Scotts, Michigan. Learn how you can help Tillers International preserve these important paths to sustainability by visiting us on the web at: tillersinternational.org
(17 June 2008)
EB contributor Brandon Marshal asked that we repost this video from last year again to help highlight their important sustainable agriculture work. -KS

Thanks to kalpa for the following article.-KS


Americans Toss Out 40 Percent of All Food

Robert Roy Britt, livescience.com
U.S. residents are wasting food like never before.

While many Americans feast on turkey and all the fixings today, a new study finds food waste per person has shot up 50 percent since 1974. Some 1,400 calories worth of food is discarded per person each day, which adds up to 150 trillion calories a year.

The study finds that about 40 percent of all the food produced in the United States is tossed out.

Meanwhile, while some have plenty of food to spare, a recent report by the Department of Agriculture finds the number of U.S. homes lacking "food security," meaning their eating habits were disrupted for lack of money, rose from 4.7 million in 2007 to 6.7 million last year.

About 1 billion people worldwide don't have enough to eat, according to the World Food Program...
(26 Nov 2009)
I call your attention to the last paragraph:
'Addressing the oversupply of food in the United States "could help curb to the obesity epidemic as well as reduce food waste, which would have profound consequences for the environment and natural resources," the scientists write. "For example, food waste is now estimated to account for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and more than 300 million barrels of oil per year representing about 4 percent of the total U.S. oil consumption."' -KS

Editorial Notes: Photo credit: Incredible Edible blog

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