The 21st century has seen rapid urbanisation and the global population is now expected to grow to more than 8.3 billion by 2050. Currently, 800m hectares – 38% of the earth’s land surface – is farmed and we’ll soon need to give over another 100m hectares if we continue to use current agricultural methods. That’s not additional fertile land that actually exists though, so some are investigating the potential of vertical farming.
The Skyfarm design uses a hydroponic system for growing crops, instead of soil. The higher, external leaf sections would be used for fruit trees and larger scale vegetables that need more exposure to air and sunlight, while lower, internal growing areas would be available for items such as herbs.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (Maine-D) has a lot to say about local alternative farming, small farms, farmers markets and restaurants serving local produce. She has a lot to say and a lot to do with its resurgence. She believes the answer to current top-heavy industrialized problems lies in reviving local agriculture.
With no national standards, raw milk producers have taken to an independent certification standard, similar to the Non-GMO project for verification. This is a way for raw dairy farms to have openness, testing and transparency – consumers know exactly what they are getting.
At higher temperatures of pasteurization, not only are bacteria killed, but so are enzymes required for digestion, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Asthma, allergies and inflammatory bowel disease are among the resulting health risks.
A new report suggests that families near agricultural fields being sprayed get their children out of town. The study also found that pregnant women after the first trimester had an increased risk of their infant becoming autistic with the exposure closer to the due date being the most harmful to the fetus.
If their plan works, Oregon will be the first state to successfully map GMO fields, putting preventative measures into place to protect organic crops.
Agriculture trade groups have developed programs, including training and financial incentives, aimed at attracting young people. The National Young Farmers Coalition through member surveys has found that the bulk of new operators are going the organic route.
Pesticides can get onto organic produce through contamination of water or soil through pesticide spray drift from neighboring farms, and through contact with non-organic produce after harvest. Larger residue measurements suggest an organic producer deliberately used a pesticide that is not allowed.
World-renowned permaculture teacher Geoff Lawton’s techniques, if used widely enough, can literally save the planet from itself. In a video introducing his techniques, Lawton says he’s taught more than 6,000 people in more than 30 countries “permaculture design science.” His techniques, he says, allows people “to provide for all their needs in a way that’s beneficial to the environment and so that they can survive in a really abundant and meaningful way.”
Almost 80% of Americans say sustainability is a priority when purchasing food – so why hasn’t eating local reshaped landscapes nor driven lasting change?