News-in-Transition

31 July 2017

 -.If you’re anything like me, America’s obsession with ornamental lawns seems nothing short of folly at best, sheer polluting waste at worst. Many are unaware that lawns are one of the largest sources of pollution in the US, with 40 million acres under cultivation, they absorb three million tons of chemical fertilizers and 30,000 tons of pesticides, and use 800 million gallons of gasoline for mowing each year.

And for what? A green patch that serves very little purpose, yet creates staggering pollution. Meanwhile, we have a severe need for more localized food systems and access to affordable produce in neighborhoods throughout the US.

We can complain and fume about this state of affairs — or we can do something about it. Recognizing there had to be a better way, the idea of Fleet Farming was born.

Read more...

27 June 2017

 - Winter, spring, summer or fall – you don’t need to garden at all! Because IKEA has really gone and done it now. Heck, you don’t even need any soil to create your own produce. Or a yard.

Right on the heels of releasing free urban garden plans that can feed a community, IKEA released a series of dream cultivators with the self-sufficient individual of any skillset in mind.

The hydroponic gardens come with everything needed – seeds, plugs for seedlings, sprouting plates, shelving and one can even get water and LED lights for the perfect hydroponic’ing – is that a word yet?

Read more...

13 June 2017

 - As the cost of living rises and wages stay the same, millions struggle to afford nutritious food. Wealth inequality, systemic oppression and lack of access to fresh produce are key factors in this problem. Poor communities are often flooded with fast-food restaurants. For working people with low wages, a $5.20 meal from McDonald’s is very tempting when there is a McDonald’s on every corner. Communities that are most vulnerable to food-related death and disease are inundated with fast-food restaurants.

This is no coincidence—fast-food companies are 60 percent more likely to advertise to children in predominantly black neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods.

“The fast-food industry disproportionately targets people of color,” explains Leah Penniman, program director and co-executive director of Soul Fire Farm. On the flip side, farmers’ markets are significantly more likely to take place in predominately white neighborhoods. A white community is three times more likely to have healthy food and grocery stores than black communities.

Read more...

7 April 2017

 - Recently, with the work of scientists, activists, responsible politicians and institutions around the globe, organic and sustainable agriculture started to be studied and promoted as an option for large-scale production and was also embraced by individuals who started growing their own food by adapting to modern living conditions. An argument against organic agriculture is lower productivity, but the positive aspects for the consumers are regarded as far more important.

The Rodale Institute in the USA carried out a 30-year long study to compare organic and conventional farming which concludes that: “Our current chemical-based agricultural system is already showing its weaknesses – depleted soil, poisoned water, negative impact on human and environmental health, and dysfunctional rural communities.”

The study shows that, if correctly performed, organic agriculture uses 45% less energy and produces 40% less greenhouse gases than conventional methods, since it also keeps the soils fertile for a much longer period of time. Ancient approaches such as crop diversity and rotation, attracting natural pest eliminators are combined with latest technologies that facilitate the use of alternate sources of energy, including wind and solar power.

Read more...

6 April 2017

 - One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.

When I embarked on a six-month trip to visit farms around the world to research my forthcoming book, “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” the innovative farmers I met showed me that regenerative farming practices can restore the world’s agricultural soils. In both the developed and developing worlds, these farmers rapidly rebuilt the fertility of their degraded soil, which then allowed them to maintain high yields using far less fertilizer and fewer pesticides.

Their experiences, and the results that I saw on their farms in North and South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ghana and Costa Rica, offer compelling evidence that the key to sustaining highly productive agriculture lies in rebuilding healthy, fertile soil.

Read more...

9 March 2017

Image result for organic produce - According to a new report by the United Nations (UN), continuing to adhere to the global industrial farming model of agriculture is guaranteed to bring about catastrophic consequences, and that organic farming is in fact the best way to feed an ever-growing world.

It is a myth. Using more pesticides is nothing to do with getting rid of hunger. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), we are able to feed 9 billion people today. Production is definitely increasing, but the problem is poverty, inequality and distribution. ~ Hilal Elver, UN special rapporteur on the right to food.

Pollution and food experts at the UN are highly critical of global corporations which manufacture pesticides while actively seeking to change the model of farming in favor of dependency on corporations for the success of crops.

Read more...

22 November 2016

organic-farming-goa-696x457 - Under the scheme, 50% assistance will be given on cost of organic inputs limited to INR 10,000 per hectare, with the maximum of up to two hectares or INR 20,000 per beneficiary for all categories of farmers.

In September 2014, the Indian Government launched Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (National Agriculture Development Program) to promote use of organic farming and reduce dependence on chemical inputs. In January 2015, Sikkim — which produces 800,000 tons of organic produce, accounting for nearly 65% of all of India’s 1.24 million tons — was declared the country’s first 100% organic state free of harmful pesticides, chemical fertilizers and toxic GMOs.

A few months later, Rajasthan, a western Indian state, launched multiple plans to divert several thousand hectares of land for farming of organic varieties of pulses in order to tackle the twin issues of protein malnutrition and unsustainable chemical fertilizer-based farming.

Read more...

7 November 2016

skyfarm1 - By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion people. Already, 795 million people go to bed hungry each evening. Catching up to – and alleviating – the problem of world hunger won’t be easy, but the task might be realized sooner if innovative tree-shaped vertical farms are invested in and constructed in the future.

According to Fast CoExist, the Urban Skyfarm is a giant skyscraper that was designed to mimic the look of a tree. Conceptualized by Aprilli Design Studio, the trunk is an indoor hydroponics farm for greens. Where leaves would be, lightweight decks are constructed to grow plenty of fruits and vegetables. At the top of the structure exist solar panels and wind turbines; these renewable energy structures will generate enough energy to power the entire operation!

In addition to growing 24 acres worth of fruits and vegetables, the Urban Skyfarm will also capture rainwater and filter it through a constructed wetland before returning it to a nearby stream. It really is one of the freshest designs we’ve so far seen!

Read more...

30 August 2016

 - The surge in organic and non-GMO sales is a heartening reminder that the power of the purse can make a difference. Farmers markets, where people congregate to buy real, nutritious food and meet the farmer who produces that food, have grown all over the country.

But the availability of real, local food is limited in urban areas, where communities often experience “food deserts” where the only things available are the unhealthiest processed substances of the Big Food industry.

Kimbal Musk – brother of the innovating entrepreneur Elon Musk – and his colleague Tobias Peggs are looking to change that by bringing real food production into the heart of urban areas.

This fall they are launching Square Roots, an “urban farming accelerator” centered on the use of modular shipping containers to grow the equivalent of two acres of food year-round. It’s not just a box, though, but an initiative to join the energy of youth with healthy, sustainable solutions to food production.

Read more...

22 October 2015

 - There can be no more certain way to decimate life on Earth than through the act of setting in reverse the natural expansiveness of nature. Yet that is exactly what has been happening for the past two centuries, through the relentless through the relentless eradication of farm and forest biodiversity in a fixated, tunnel vision pursuit of specialisation and profit.

Witness the fresh food market: so reduced has the range of edible vegetables available to the modern shopper become, that just seven varieties now constitute approximately 90% of green foods sold in post industrial Northern European and North American supermarket chains. Whereas, less than one hundred years ago, highly localised food growing offered a far wider range of fruits and vegetables; in spite of supermarkets boasting global food sourcing policies that are supposed to offer almost limitless choice.

Read more...

11 October 2015

 - Hay bale gardening: Effortless food production with no weeds, no fertilizer & less watering.

Hay bale gardening is probably the most fun you’ll have growing your own food and herbs, requiring almost no work or maintenance.

After a search online to find the simplest and easiest “no work” gardening method, I stumbled upon straw bale gardening. The concept is simple: You plant directly into bales of straw, and as the season progresses, the straw is broken down into virgin soil that nourishes the plants from inside the bale.  One amazing benefit of this method of gardening is that the bales provide a raised bed, which keeps predators away and makes picking your vegetal treasures at the end of the season easy on the back.

Read more...

29 August 2015

 - You have probably heard that we have 93% fewer food crops available today than 100 yeas ago. That a great portion of our food diversity has gone extinct and disappeared. It seems logical when you look at the infographic above based on a 1983 survey of the National Seed Storage Laboratory undertaken by the Plant Genetic Resources Project of the Rural Advancement Fund , and it has been spread and quoted widely.

It isn’t hard to believe considering this since we are experiencing an extinction rate of approximately 1000x the normal background rate and have seen an average loss of 52% in over 10,300 cohorts measured since 1970. But, a more detailed examination of the facts leads us to see that the diversity of human food crops, unlike general biodiversity, has not shrunk significantly overall.

Read more...

21 July 2015

hague6185.wordpress.com - While the majority of citizens in developed nations rely on transported produce and packaged goods to satiate their grumbling stomachs, the people of Russia feed themselves. They have little need for large-scale agriculture, as their agricultural economy is small scale, predominantly organic, and in the capable hands of their nation’s people.

In a thought-provoking article shared by Natural Homes, it was reported that in 2011, 51% of Russia’s food was grown either by dacha communities (40%), or by peasant farmers (11%). The remaining 49% of production was left to large agricultural enterprises.

When one digs deeper into the numbers reported by Russian Statistics Service, however, some very impressive details are discovered. In 2011, dacha gardens produced over 80% of the country’s fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables consumed, almost 80% of the potatoes purchased, and nearly 50% of the nation’s milk supply – much of it consumed raw. 

Read more...

Calendar of Events

Our next three group distant healing events:

21 December 2017 - Solstice

20 March 2018 - Equinox

21 June - Solstice

Boycott Israeli Goods