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California is turning farms into carbon-sucking factories

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 by

In a grand experiment, California switched on a fleet of high-tech greenhouse gas removal machines last month. Funded by the state’s cap-and-trade program, they’re designed to reverse climate change by sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. These wonderfully complex machines are more high-tech than anything humans have designed. They’re called plants. Seriously, though: Plants breathe in […]

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Mesquite in Mexico: The Renaissance of an Ancestral Staple Crop in a Time of Climate Change

Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2018 by

Probably no other plant has played such a vital role in the ecologies, and among the human populations of the arid and semiarid regions of Mexico and the US, as the multifunctional mesquite tree. This extremely resilient and adaptable tree has a rich ethnobotanical history and holds great potential to become a major staple […]

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Healthy Soil: Good for the Farmer, Good for the Planet

Posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 by

Many people believe that if you just focus on soil health, everything else will follow. This principal is prominently featured in a recent New York Times Magazine article, “Can Dirt Save the Earth?,” which examines the practicality of regenerative agriculture.Moises Velasquez-Manoof begins his lengthy piece with John Wick and his wife, Peggy Rathmann, two decades after they […]

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Wrangler puts its corporate weight behind soil health

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 by

In his excellent book Growing a Revolution, David R. Montgomery suggests that for far too long we’ve been arguing over organic versus conventional agriculture. Instead, he says, we really should have been focused on soil health. You see, there are big organic farms that are losing soil hand over fist. And there are conventional farms […]

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Can Dirt Save the Earth?

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2018 by

When John Wick and his wife, Peggy Rathmann, bought their ranch in Marin County, Calif., in 1998, it was mostly because they needed more space. Rathmann is an acclaimed children’s book author — “Officer Buckle and Gloria” won a Caldecott Medal in 1996 — and their apartment in San Francisco had become cluttered with her […]

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Scientists harvest the first ever Antarctic vegetables

Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2018 by

Fresh, local produce might have seemed like an impossibility in Antarctica — until now. The experimental greenhouse EDEN-ISS at Alfred Wegener Institute‘s Neumayer-Station III recently harvested their first crops: 18 cucumbers, 70 radishes, and nearly eight pounds of lettuce. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) described this achievement as the “first harvested Antarctic salad.” The EDEN-ISS indoor farm serves two purposes: first, to provide fresh produce for the Neumayer-Station […]

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Turning desert to fertile farmland on the Loess Plateau

Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2018 by

Around 3,000 years ago, farmers settled on the fertile Loess Plateau in western China, a region about the size of France. By the 7th century, the rich soils were feeding about one quarter of the Chinese population. But intense pressure on the land eroded the soil. By the 20th century, desertification had condemned the remaining […]

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“Transforming The Food System Is Key”

Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 by

Two scholars, from Haiti and Brazil, discuss the global solidarity that forms between states who have faced similar oppressions. Food sovereignty is a necessary part of resistance movements in the Global South, they say, because it gets to the heart of Western imperialism and occupation. Thanks to the Vera List Center. This interview was filmed […]

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Millions of Chinese farmers reap benefits of huge crop experiment

Posted on Friday, March 16th, 2018 by

Rice farmers in China increased their crop yields when they adopted new evidence-based farming practices.Credit: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/REX/Shutterstock A landmark project to make agriculture more sustainable in China has significantly cut fertilizer use while boosting crop yields on millions of small farms across the country, researchers report in Nature1. As part of a decade-long study, scientists […]

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Farmer-scientists driving social change

Posted on Friday, March 16th, 2018 by

On a brilliant day in July, twenty-some years ago, I stood ankle-deep in the cool mud of a fragrant rice field in central Thailand, listening to the farmers around me discuss the bugs on the plants (were these “satru puut” or “satru thammachat”? pests or natural enemies?), and whether or not the Nitrogen-fixing aquatic Azolla they had […]

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