Category Archives: Organic Farming

How we can eat our landscapes (12 min)

Pam Warhurst: TED Salon, London, Spring 2012

The will to live life differently can start in some of the most unusual places. This is where I come from, Todmorden. It’s a market town in the north of England, 15,000 people, between Leeds and Manchester, fairly normal market town. It used to look like this, and now it’s more like this, with fruit and veg and herbs sprouting up all over the place. We call it propaganda gardening. (Laughter)00:40

Corner row railway, station car park, front of a health center, people’s front gardens, and even in front of the police station. (Laughter)We’ve got edible canal towpaths, and we’ve got sprouting cemeteries. The soil is extremely good. (Laughter)01:02

We’ve even invented a new form of tourism. It’s called vegetable tourism, and believe it or not, people come from all over the world to poke around in our raised beds, even when there’s not much growing. (Laughter) But it starts a conversation. (Laughter)01:19

And, you know, we’re not doing it because we’re bored. (Laughter) We’re doing it because we want to start a revolution.

Watch the Incredible Edible movement TED Talk (12 min)

Bonus: Incredible Edible Todmorden (11 min – 2013 – Youtube)

35,000 Hit Streets of Berlin to Demand Agricultural Revolution

Common Dreams – by  – Jan 20, 2019

“This protest shows that the desire for a different agricultural policy is now undeniable.”

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they’re “fed up” with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals, and rural farmers.

Many held placards reading “Eating is political” at the action in Berlin, which coincided with the so-called “Green Week” agricultural fair.

The protest also featured a procession of 170 farmers driving tractors to the rally at the Brandenburg Gate.

“This protest,” said Green party co-leader Robert Habeck, “shows that the desire for a different agricultural policy is now undeniable.”

As DW reports

Protesters called out by some 100 organizations asserted that alleviation of climate change and species depletion required a reorganization of EU farming policy, including subsidies, currently amounting to €60 billion ($68 billion) annually, including €6.3 billion allocated in Germany.

That flowed mainly to larger companies focused on boosting yields, they said, but instead the funds should be distributed better to avert further farmyard closures and rural village die-offs.

“With over €6 billion that Germany distributes every year as EU farming monies, environmental and animal-appropriate transformation of agriculture must be promoted,” said protest spokesperson Saskia Richartz.

Slow Food Europe captured some of the scenes on social media, and stated in a Twitter thread: “We believe that instead of propping up agro-industries, politicians should support the determination of small-scale farmers to keep climate-friendly farms, which are the future of agriculture.”

SOURCE

 

Organic farming goes for scale in prairies, pushes back on skepticism

OttawaMatters – Sept 2, 2018 (Canadian Press)

Travis Heide was raised on a conventional farm and used to take it personally when his wife, who grew up on an organic farm on Vancouver Island, talked about going pesticide and fertilizer-free.

Travis Heide was raised on a conventional farm and used to take it personally when his wife, who grew up on an organic farm on Vancouver Island, talked about going pesticide and fertilizer-free. Now, his the Saskatchewan-based farmer owns one of the biggest organic farms in Canada.

“Every time she talked about organic, it was like she was attacking the way I was raised.”

High prices for some organic crops helped push him to experiment with the practice in 2015 on farmland he secured through a partnership with property manager Robert Andjelic. Profits on the organic crop ended up helping offset losses on his conventional crop that year.

Heide has since gone all-in on organic and is pushing to see how big such farms can grow with a 16,200 hectare operation, as the industry matures and concerns mount about the impacts of conventional farming. The federal government, for example, recently moved to phase out nicotine-based pesticides that are linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths.

“What we’re not spending in chemical, we’re investing in people and machinery.”

Heide said he stuck with the model because it made sense on a business case, as demand grows for the products and the market matures, and other farmers are taking note.

SOURCE

Organic food – hype or hope? (42 min)

DW Documentary – May 30, 2018  (42 min)

There is growing demand in the western world for organic food. But do consumers always get what it says on the label? How can authenticity be verified?

Is organic food automatically healthier? Consumers are prepared to pay a significant premium for it. There are currently, however, no reliable tests for distinguishing organic from conventionally produced food. Farmers need to invest a great deal of time, energy and money to qualify as a producer of organic food. There is no proof, however, that organic food actually contains fewer contaminants than conventionally farmed products. There is no such thing as pollution-free food, and there are currently no tests available for reliably distinguishing between organic and non-organic food. That opens doors for lucrative labeling fraud, which in turn explains why there are far more organic eggs on the market at Easter than at any other time of the year. The statistics clearly suggest manipulation, but it is hard to obtain evidence due to the differences between the two production processes appearing to have little effect on the quality of the product. Irish dairy farmers, for instance, are not allowed to label their milk “organic” because the pasture land where their herds spend more than 300 days a year are treated with mineral fertilizers. Because cows are themselves bioreactors, however, the milk they yield contains no trace at all of fertilizer. On average, conventional Irish milk contains more omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants than organic milk from Germany. The reason is the fodder; German organic farms may use only concentrates and silage as supplementary feed to increase milk output – which impacts negatively on the quality of the milk. This documentary looks at researchers who are studying potential ways of reliably distinguishing between organic and conventionally produced food. And that is no easy task. Nearly every foodstuff requires a specific test. But one thing is certain: organic farming makes a major contribution to human welfare – by helping to mitigate climate change, protect the groundwater, conserve nature and promote animal welfare.

VIDEO SOURCE

The Great Laws of Nature: Indigenous Organic Agriculture Documentary (22 min)

Muskoday Organic Growers Co-op,

A group of First Nations People in Saskatchewan Canada

Let’s reconnect with our relatives in nature In 2013: the plant beings: A group of First Nations People in Saskatchewan Canada are reclaiming their Indigenous organic and natural agricultural heritage, reconnecting with Nature, learning and observing her natural laws, and getting back on the road to self-reliance. This video is presented here courtesy of Muskoday Organic Growers Co-op.. If you want to purchase a copy of this video please contact the producers through this link: rivard@rivard.tv

NOTE: The Bank ACT prevents loans to First Nations directly to start Coops and businesses.

Video Link

Article:  Indigenous co-ops in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture

Counter Punch – by Brian Wakamo – June 22, 2018

Summer: the season of barbecues, baseball games, and backyard fun. It’s also the time of year when the American farming industry comes into full swing producing the crops we hold near and dear.

The pastoral ideal of golden fields of corn and wheat is what comes to mind for most people, and they’d be on the right track. Corn, soybeans, and wheat are the three biggest crops grown in this country, and — along with cows, pigs, and chicken — make up the bulk of our farming output.

There’s a reason for this: The federal government heavily subsidizes those products. In fact, the bulk of U.S. farming subsidies go to only 4 percent of farms — overwhelmingly large and corporate operations — that grow these few crops.

For the most part, that corn, soy, and wheat doesn’t even go to feed our populace. More of it goes into the production of ethanol — which is also heavily subsidized — and into the mouths of those cows, pigs, and chickens stuffed into feedlots. Those grains purchased by the feedlots are also federally subsidized, allowing producers to buy grains at below market prices.

When we do eat these foods, they’re sold back to us in unhealthy forms, pumped full of high fructose corn syrup and growth hormones. Large corporate farms and feedlots also poison waterways, drain aquifers, and pollute the air.

SOURCE