Agriculture

New Bioeconomy Market Grows From Biodegradable Paper

Across the globe, there is a bioeconomy beginning to mature. For example, approximately 15 million hectares of agricultural land are covered every year with horticultural plastics. Every year, in labor intensive and expensive efforts, all of these plastic covers must be removed after the growing season is over. The land must be cleaned, plowed and …

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Agriculture where plants can’t grow: Israel’s Arava valley

Israel’s central Arava desert, where saline soils and dry climates are the norm, a thriving community creates up to 60% of Israel’s exported agricultural products. Recently, I visited the Arava valley to see the miracle of agriculture in the desert up close and personal. According to our tour host Michal Marmary: “By any standard, farming …

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Agricultural Innovation Prize Asks Students to Reinvent Food and Ag Ecosystems

In order to help encourage the development of cutting-edge technology for agricultural and food ecosystems, the Agricultural Innovation Prize is looking for ideas that can transform our global food systems into ones focused on resilience and sufficiency. To that end, the competition is offering cash prizes and support to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students across …

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True Costs in the Agriculture and Food Industry

by Heidi Darling Up until about 1960, the largest contributor of CO2 to the atmosphere wasn’t the burning of fossil fuels. It was plowing agriculture fields, which destroyed the rich dark (carbon) filled soil. Even today, agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than the transportation or industrial sector! 2% of global sea level rise is caused …

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The Economic Argument Against GMOs: a Top Ten List

Ask an economist to give an opinion about any controversial subject in society, and they’ll turn to the data and start digging for answers. While I’ve covered the economics of GMOs in the past, Dr. Vandana Shiva, on a recent visit by the visionary sustainability guru to my home state of Hawaii, opened my eyes to …

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Introducing the Biodiversity Offset standard

One of those projects I’ve kept an increasingly excited eye on is the Business and Biodiversity Offset Program (BBOP .. an acronym which always makes me want to dance!). This month is something of a BBOP milestone as they’ve published their very first standard.  This takes the initial 10 principles around which BBOP is based …

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Peace Corps and Sustainability: Today and The Next 50 Years

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), I am honored and anxious to celebrate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the executive order that created the Peace Corps.  March 1, 2011 will mark over 10 years since I served as a water & sanitation volunteer in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa and will be a celebration …

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A Meeting of the Minds: Sustainable Agricultural Summit Begins

Today kicks off the American Business Conference’s 4th part of a global series of Sustainable Agricultural Summits. And what better city for this summit to take place, but San Francisco. California is home to 81,500 farms and ranches and tallied revenues of $36.2 billion last year alone. That figure represents 11.2% of the nation’s total. …

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Hospitals Use Purchase Power to Increase Antibiotic-Free Proteins in the Marketplace

Fletcher Allen staff member, Anne Rowell, sets out pizzas under a display of Wednesday’s special: a cheese steak sandwich, made with beef raised locally without the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics. The roll and cheese are also Vermont products and the side of pasta salad is home made. Annually, Fletcher Allen uses about 40,000 pounds of …

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The High Price of Rubber & the Devastation of Southeast Asia

Slash-and-burn agriculture may be bad for the environment, but in southeast Asia, the cure may be worse than the disease. Endorsed by multiple governments, at both the local and national levels, as well as numerous business interests, everyone from individual farmers to massive corporations has been replacing the traditional slash-and-burn, more technically known as swidden, …

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