Monday, October 13, 2014

Debunking "superweeds"

This report brief got my attention:

http://wssa.net/wp-content/uploads/WSSA-Fact-Sheet-on-Superweeds_16-Sep-2014.pdf

Weed scientists report that the problem of herbicide resistance in weeds is primarily due to an evolved resistance due to repeated application of one class of herbicide. Using an approach integrating a variety of methods of weed control - many physical, not just chemical - could lessen this effect.

While genes from genetically engineered canola, wheat and sunflower can enter wild relatives, and do sometimes, GM corn, soy and cotton don't have any wild relatives in the US and Canada, so gene flow is negligible.

 

Monday, September 29, 2014

I can hardly wait!

Most of us gardeners know that all the brassicas we grow are at least kissing cousins.  Now two of them, with a little human assist, have been doing more than kissing.  And if you haven't had enough kale, you are going to be really excited with the result - it's Kalette, a conventional hybrid of kale and brussels sprouts.  It grows like the sprouts, but looks like little colorful kale.

Johnny's will be the source of seeds for home gardeners in the U.S.  Read their press release here:
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-press-release-kalettes.aspx

Oh - and of course the Kalettes have their own Facebook page - just search for that name.

But I still think "the Kalettes" sounds like a barbershop quartet of nutritionists.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

color coded eating

Goodness.  I've had a two month vacation!

Bountiful Gardens on Facebook alerted me to the Huffington Post article with the link to this infographic you can print out and post on your fridge.

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Phytonutrient_checklist_r2.pdf

I'm going to - though for the next few weeks I will be eating and processing the bounty without a lot of thought about what colors things are.  Red (tomatoes), white (apples), yellow and orange (squash) , green (the last of the green beans).  I wonder if figs count as purple?  Oh well, cocoa and wine do! Who knew?

Friday, July 25, 2014

MESA

An alert from CropMobster just called my attention to this organization:
Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture or MESA
http://www.mesaprogram.org/
They are engaged in crowd funding for some new initiatives in food justice including farmer-to-farmer exchanges and developing an on-line curriculum in global agro-ecology and local food systems.
I'm often suspicious of crowd funding campaigns, but when I saw that Ecology Action and Bountiful Gardens are supporting this one, it was a no brainer.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

We knew this!

...but now the data supports our assumptions - and then some.

The Weizmann Institute of Science recently completed a study revealing that among animal foods, beef has an environmental impact one order of magnitude higher than the other most common animal foods in the U.S. diet (dairy, eggs, poultry and pork).  They looked at land use, irrigation water use, greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen inputs.  Beef production requires 28, 11, 5, and 6 times more than the average of the other four animal foods!

The method they used can now be used to compare environmental impacts of other animal and plant foods. 

Here's an excerpt from the abstract of the peer-reviewed paper in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences):
"Livestock-based food production is an important and pervasive way humans impact the environment. It causes about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is the key land user and source of water pollution by nutrient overabundance. It also competes with biodiversity, and promotes species extinctions....We show that minimizing beef consumption mitigates the environmental costs of diet most effectively."
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/07/17/1402183111.abstract   

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A blog to follow

There are some fascinating byways on this blog:
http://www.ediblegeography.com/

Drought report

Here's a summary of the most recent UC Davis report on the drought.
http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10978

Many of the numbers are small percentages, but if one looks through them the impact of many individuals, workers and farmers, could be heartbreaking.

I'm curious about the fact that prices for grapes, nuts and dairy won't be much impacted.  It will be interesting to see if they rise anyway, with the drought as an excuse.

Most shocking - California has not statewide plan for groundwater management.  Who has been snoozing? cowardly about addressing this?