“To be honest, organic coffee could become a dying breed in Costa Rica.” Leland Westie and I stare at each other, neither of us quite sure how to continue the conversation. Westie seems startled by his own frankness. After a long pause, he qualifies his statement with an apologetic smile: “I mean, I hope it will … Continue reading Organic Coffee in Costa Rica: A Battle of David vs. Goliath?
Yesterday, as I stepped out of the DG AGRI building, head full of terminology and legislation non-sense, this bag caught my eye… what would that be about? In fact, a little stand had set up shop in the park adjacent to the European Commission’s main agriculture and rural development building and challenged all the bureaucrats … Continue reading Campesiños in the City
On Wednesday, as anticipated, the House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill after a 2 year impasse with 251 to 166 votes. The Democratic leadership of the Senate has already endorsed it, making it likely that it will pass the Senate floor as well in the coming week and be on President Obama’s desk soon. Media and lobby group reactions, as well as politicians’ own levels of satisfaction, were an extremely mixed bag. One frequently cited commentary came from Rep. Tim Walz (a Democrat from Minnesota):
“Of course it’s not perfect. If you want perfect, you’ll get that in heaven. This place is closer to hell, so this is a pretty good compromise that we have come up with.”
Let’s go through the main features, shall we?
How are your holidays going, everybody? I hope you spent a wonderful Christmas season and are still in the delicious between-Christmas-and-New-Year limbo that doesn’t require you to do anything whatsoever but read and sip eggnog and mulled wine and relax. Have you started thinking about your New Year’s resolutions? I often think that resolutions are … Continue reading For A (Climate-) Healthy 2014
Many times, hailing the health benefits of organic foods, for example fruits and vegetables, has been criticized, and with good reason – while there may be less pesticide residues on the produce, the organic production method is mainly healthy for the planet, and there is little reason why an organic apple should have more vitamins than a conventional one. However, this same insight has been toppled for milk, as a new study finds that organic whole-fat milk has much higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids – those also found in seafood and flaxseed for example- and lower levels of omega-6 fatty acids – those normally associated with vegetable oils and fried foods – compared to conventional milk.
This can be explained by the fact that organic cows are required to spend at least part of their lives on pasture and eat grass, high in omega-3, whereas conventional cows are mainly fed with corn that is richer in omega-6 – and apparently, this difference will be directly visible in the milk they give.
… in the truest sense of the word. This Ensia article is about a married couple whose relationship is all about sustainable agriculture – one of them is a plant geneticist and the other a farmer that leads UC Davis’ student organic farm. Now they have written a book together on how their individual disciplines … Continue reading When Genetic Engineering Marries Organic Farming…
Have you ever looked at mud stuck in your shoes or splashed on the back of your car and cursed it for making your belongings dirty? Watch this movie and I assure you it will change your mindset about this most valuable resource that sustains all life on Earth.
“We prefer to work with nature. And you can taste that.”
That’s the motto of Swiss organic farmers, and the reason they are hosting a cow marathon as of May 27th. Its purpose: to show that cows from organic farms in Switzerland get to walk around in nature a ton. Thus, 10 contenders will be given GPS systems and the winning cow will be the one that first reaches the marathon distance of 42.195 km. You can bet on your favorite cow and win a 3 day vacation on an organic farm if you are right, so head on over if you are in the area!
In a way it’s almost funny – all this time a lot of the food policy community’s attention is drawn to seed laws in the US, dissecting Supreme Court cases and hidden Congressional amendments, while at the same time the European Commission is drafting what seems to be at least equally harsh legislation with a much smaller public outcry. Or maybe I have just been oblivious?
Either way, come May 6th, the European Commission is going to vote on a draft directive that bodes poorly for seed diversity, and there seems little the public can do other than petition their EU Commissioners vote against it. The Arche Noah petition has 170,000 signatures so far.