Archives for the month of: October, 2014

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AHHhh, the Senses, primary source of Knowledge & ultimate source of Pleasure!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3637900/

 

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The end is nearing of the year of FAMILY FARMING. Not many people, even farmers, know about this declaration by UNESCO /IFAD, and that is unfortunate. The declaration is motivated by earlier studies that show that family and small-scale farming is the most sustainable strategy for future food security, but who cares.

Last winter I attended several meetings and workshops at the European Parliament in Brussels, organized by or related to the agricultural and rural development committee. While the Unesco promotes small-scale farming, the direction of EU (and global) policy appears to go toward upscaling, mechanization and increasing industrialization. Several small farmers spoke at these meetings on how they deal with the general lack of support for small farming, for instance through joining a cooperative. In that way, farmers are able to apply for subsidies for which they otherwise don’t qualify (too small).

Working with farmers I hear the same concerns. The rules and regulations seem to punish instead of encourage small-scale farming. Many farmers I spoke to mention the difficulty of maintaining organic certification for instance. It is too expensive, making the difference between being able to produce enough and going out of business. The rules for certification do not always make sense either. For instance, here in Le Marche, the biodynamic practice of using nettle tea is not on the ‘allowed’ list. Using it will result in high penalties for the farmer. Other methods (not necessarily organic) are allowed.

The International Day of Rural Women, (“Invisible Agriculture”) passed without much fuss.

Support small farmers, support women farmers!

Please watch:

http://www.familyfarmingcampaign.net/en/news/2014/10/invisible-agriculture

And read:

http://enrd.ec.europa.eu/enrd-static/publications-and-media/eu-rural-review/en/eu-rural-review_en.html

 

 

 

 

 

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This may sound innocent, however, a few years ago I was involved in a project in collaboration with the acequia communities in New Mexico. Acequias are at the core of a traditional agricultural, gravity-based water management system. This system requires the commitment of the community, and water, other resources, and (cultural) duties are shared, rooted in the idea of the commons (Bollier). This system has been shown to be more sustainable than industrial farming; the water that flows through the earthen canals also seeps into the ground to replenish groundwater and aquifer.

When individual farmers that are part of this system sell their water rights the system as a whole is affected, when many farmers sell their water rights, it can no longer exist.

SUPPORT SMALL FARMERS

Please visit

http://www.bollier.org/

http://www.lasacequias.org/

http://www.southvalleyacequias.org/

http://www.lasacequias.org/news/water-transfers-water-banking-workshop/

http://voicesoftransition.org/about/trailers

 

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Apparently, the younger generation is less interested in the environment and taking action to save nature. Therefore, Conservation International is broadcasting a set of videos under the title “Nature is Speaking” featuring actors who give voice to oceans, rain forests and other beauties.

Soil is one of my personal favorites and the message in the video is very poetic and touching. However, it doesn’t tell me why exactly the soils are disappearing and why it is important to take action, not only for future generations, but also for our own personal happiness!

It is complex. In previous posts I have written about soil as a non-renewable resource on the human scale. Soils contain nutrients that we, and other organisms, need to survive. Soils are disappearing at rapid rates. Often, it is thought that technological innovation provides solutions to such problems. Indeed, we can create artificial fertilizers and we use it extensively; this is industrial farming, and also small-scale gardening. To create these artificial means, we need energy, and most of what is used right now is non-renewable energy. The use of artificial fertilizers is also not good for the environment, as it disturbs ecological balance and contributes to soil degradation.

Most foods that are on the world market are produced through industrial farming, even though enough studies have shown that organic and small scale farming are the best way to future food security. It is a difficult problem.

I like the soil message, however, as long as the link between the conditions of the worlds soils, our daily lives, our personal choice for happiness is not clear, the message may not make the intended impact. GET UP and OUT and BE HAPPY! (and eat good food when you can)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dor4XvjA8Wo&index=4&list=PL5WqtuU6JrnXjsGO4WUpJuSVmlDcEgEYb

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New York Times, 300,000 Evacuated as Strong Cyclone Hits Eastern India, Oct 12, 2013

SUPPORT SMALL FARMING & FARMERS!

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http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0107541

 

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