Category — Food Systems
- Predictions for global food supply are quite disturbing. We need to develop pilot projects everywhere, now, using a variety of food growing techniques to evaluate and perfect. This 60 Minutes piece shows 3 types of urban farms- the very productive backyard aquaponics that is catching on rapidly in Australia, massive rooftop gardens in big cities, and indoor growing for a large scale, taking advantage of unused buildings while shielding from extreme weather. – Editor
“We need to see through the eyes of a plant.
They can thrive without sunlight or light as we know it.
Plants don’t need the entire visible spectrum.”
“A vertical farm building
that is 30 stories or more could feed
40,000 to 50,000 people per year.
Entire cities could have buildings designed for food.”
Dickson Despommier, professor at Columbia University a leading expert in the field of vertical farming
Also check out http://www.verticalfarm.com/
My Kinda’ Town, Chicago is
(Chicago) is about to burst onto the global scene as a major player in urban sustainability, encouraged by a rising number of urban agricultural initiatives. Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel has repeatedly endorsed urban agriculture as an integral part of that city’s push for long-term sustainability within the past few months. Bloomberg Weekly News in January of 2013 declared that vertical farming would be a sound small business investment for the the near future.
‘Mega’ Indoor Vertical Farm: Chicago Suburb New Home To Nation’s Largest Such Facility
Farming in abandoned warehouses has become a hot trend in the Midwest – with varying degrees of success – as more entrepreneurs worldwide experiment with indoor growing systems in attempts to grow more food locally. Now FarmedHere LLC in suburban Chicago is attempting to take indoor warehouse farming to the “mega farm” level. But Dickson Despommier, who wrote the book “The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century,” says powering farms is still the biggest hurdle for the industry. “A lot of them will tuck their head under their wings and say, `Wait and see,’” he says, noting that he’s anxious to see large indoor farming models in Japan that use both artificial and natural light. He says entrepreneurs in Germany also are experimenting with flickering lights that use less power but still emit enough light to grow plants. “In another two or three years, this will shake out,” Despommier says. “And we’ll see which systems work, and which don’t.
April 19, 2013 Comments Off
- Look at the same tree marked by blue arrow. The 2004 picture is land that for 30 years was bare and eroding, losing carbon into the atmosphere. The next photo is the same land after intensive grazing following Holistic Management. This TED talk has such hopeful pictures from all over the world. PLEASE watch this 20 minute video. With the latest data on atmospheric carbon, it’s clear that we have to draw carbon out of the air and back into the soil. No machine will do this in any quantity. This technique and the pasture cropping method in the next story will! 350 folks, pay attention! - Editor
Excerpts from TED talk:
The most massive perfect storm is bearing down on us- rising population, land turning to desert, and climate change.
I have for you a simple message that offers more hope than you can imagine. About 2/3 of the world is desertifying. The fate of water and carbon are tied to organic matter. When we damage soils, we send carbon into the atmosphere. We were wrong to believe that livestock caused desertification. Soil and vegetation developed with large numbers of grazing animals and pack-hunting predators. When grazing animals leave dung and urine and mulch/litter on the soil and move on, the soil can heal. We have no option but to use the much vilified livestock to address climate change and desertification. Holistic Management is the planning technique to mimic nature and end desertification.
Projects on 15 million hectares on 5 continents are now safely storing carbon in the soil at a low cost, while turning dry stream beds into moving water, feeding people better, and restoring native landscapes.
For Holistic Management International- http://holisticmanagement.org/
March 8, 2013 Comments Off
- Australian farmers and ranchers are far more willing to try new techniques because their ag system is not so dominated by large, toxic ag American corporations. Read this wonderful, well-written article of one way we can return our food systems to be in balance with nature and stuff carbon back into the ground where it belongs. Always support farming methods that restore the earth, not destroy it! Food dollars count carbon. - Editor
Australian farmer Colin Seis decided to rethink the way he had been practicing agriculture by successfully planting a cereal crop into perennial pasture on his sheep farm during the dormant period using no-till drilling, a method that uses a drill to sow seeds instead of the traditional plow. He calls it pasture cropping and he gains two crops this way from one parcel of land—a cereal crop for food or forage and wool or lamb meat from his pastures—which means its potential for feeding the world in a sustainable manner is significant. The soil organic carbon has increased 203 percent over 10 years. Jones calculates that 171 tons of CO2 per hectare has been sequestered to a depth of half a meter on Winona. This has contributed to a dramatic increase in the water-holding capacity of the soil as well, which, according to Jones has increased by 200 percent in 10 years.
March 8, 2013 Comments Off
For the first time, a U.S. government auditor has added climate change to a list of issues that pose the greatest financial risk to the government and country. It is also warning that Washington is markedly unprepared to deal with the scope of the problem. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns the financial risk to the government posed by the effects of climate change has the possibility to outweigh much of the rest of the list combined.
For the GAO High Risk report- http://gao.gov/assets/660/652133.pdf
February 22, 2013 Comments Off
- While many claim fracking is harmless and essential (including our President?), poisonous contamination of our food is a serious, real, and permanent threat! This article is important to read! Poisoning our food and farmland, and waters to squeak out the last of fossil fuels makes no sense. With rising temperatures and extreme weather, food production’s going down, which means we need MORE sources of food, not less! We must diligently protect our food sources. - Editor
Fracking Our Food Supply
Tonight’s guests have heard about residential drinking wells tainted by fracking fluids in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Colorado. They’ve read about lingering rashes, nosebleeds and respiratory trauma in oil-patch communities, which are mostly rural, undeveloped, and lacking in both political influence and economic prospects (and) the potential for drilling and fracking operations to contaminate our food. Jacki Schilke and her sixty cattle live in North Dakota, a windswept, golden-hued landscape in the heart of the Bakken Shale. Schilke’s neighbors love her black Angus beef, but she’s no longer sharing or eating it— not since fracking began on thirty-two oil and gas wells within three miles of her 160-acre ranch and five of her cows dropped dead. Schilke herself is in poor health. Ambient air testing by a certified environmental consultant detected elevated levels of benzene, methane, chloroform, butane, propane, toluene and xylene—compounds associated with drilling and fracking, and also with cancers, birth defects and organ damage.
ACTION: This is a useful website relating good food to no fracking! Check out Chefs for the Marcellus group and get some parallel activities going in your area. Could be both fun and important! - http://chefsformarcellus.org/
February 14, 2013 Comments Off
- Chemically-based agriculture is also a serious contributor to climate change. Moving towards correctly done organic farming could both yield a major reduction in greenhouse gases as well as sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere. - Editor
After carbon dioxide and methane, nitrous oxide (N2O) is the most potent greenhouse gas, trapping heat and contributing to global warming. It also destroys stratospheric ozone, which protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet rays. Limiting nitrous oxide emissions could be part of a first step toward reducing all greenhouse gases and lessening global warming.
February 1, 2013 Comments Off
- This Drought Monitor keeps re-appearing as one fundamental tool for understanding complex interactions between agriculture, food systems, economics, and climate. Food manufacturers, among others, need to really strengthen efforts to reduce the entire food system’s greenhouse gas emissions, including nitrous oxide, and to put the best brains together to begin major adaptation strategies. Now! - Editor
Munich Re Says World Crop Insurance Costs Top Record on Drought
Global crop insurance claims were the highest ever last year after drought cut yields in the U.S. Claims worldwide were worth about $23 billion in 2012, with $15 billion going to growers in the U.S., said Karl Murr, who heads the agriculture unit at Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurance company. “Drought was by far the single most important cause of losses in 2012,” As of Jan. 21, U.S. farmers had collected about $12.35 billion in insurance claims since the marketing year began, surpassing the $10.84 billion at the same time a year earlier. Nearly half of the U.S. still is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Winter wheat at the end of November was in the worst shape since records began in 1985.
Also see http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/04/02/fertilizer-use-responsible-for-increase-in-nitrous-oxide-in-atmosphere/
February 1, 2013 Comments Off
- The Republicans dawdled with getting relief money to Sandy victims, not wanting to spend government money. Let’s start totaling up the price tag on how much ignoring climate change is costing and will continue to cost. These billions are adding up, and do not include household expenditures like inevitably rising food prices. Losing summer corn and now winter wheat is a big deal! Join the local food movement! Start lobbying- Citizens Climate Lobby makes it easy! - Editor
The government declared much of the central and southern Wheat Belt a natural disaster area due to persistent drought that imperils this year’s winter wheat harvest. USDA listed 597 counties in 14 states as natural disaster areas. They suffered from at least severe to in some instances extraordinary drought for eight weeks in a row to qualify for the designation.
More than half of them, 351 counties, were in the Wheat Belt. Some analysts expect the final payout to reach $20 billion to $25 billion to create the first money-losing year for insurers in a decade.
January 11, 2013 Comments Off
WATER USE TO MERE DRIBBLE: Cut your water use. Water requires huge amounts of energy to get to you and when it leaves you, even more energy’s required for waste water treatment. Plus, the streams need that water, and the aquifers are the future’s safety net. Cisterns are especially important in many climates. Create landscapes that do not need tap water. Resource: http://www.tengallonsaday.org/ and http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/
EAT WITH NATURE: Some calculate that today’s food systems create nearly 1/3 of all emissions. Localize your food; free yourself of packaging, processing, and the toxic array of the chemicals of industrial ag. Help build a local food system. Build urban farming. Focus on vegetables. Eat organically- you’ll have better health! Resource: sign up for emails- http://www.organicconsumers.org/
December 21, 2012 Comments Off
P.S. The Quivira Coalition Conference How to Feed Nine Billion People From the Ground Up was inspiring and mind-boggling, and readers of Climate Today attended. We really cannot restore this planet without restoring pasture lands around the world, and animals are the only tool that can handle such a monumental job. Yes, poor grazing practices destroy land, but good grazing restores life in a living rainbow of forms. Hopefully the talks will be online soon so that we can offer this valuable resource. http://quiviracoalition.org/
December 7, 2012 Comments Off