Organic farming explodes 13%… Biggest growth since 2008

Image: Organic farming explodes 13%… Biggest growth since 2008
Source: NaturalNews.com
Rhonda Johansson
March 12, 2017

Good news for all local farmers! The latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey reveals that there are now 24,650 certified organic operations in the U.S. This is a 13 percent increase from 2016 and the highest growth rate we’ve seen since 2008. The number of local, organic farms has been steadily increasing — albeit haphazardly — since 2002. However, it is only this year where a steady and distinctive rise is seen. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition wrote on their website that “organic agriculture is one of the fastest growing sectors…for farmers across the country, strong demand for organic food translates into new and growing market opportunities.”

USDA organic certification provides farms or processing facilities the right and access to sell, label, and represent their products as organic in the United States. It is of particular importance for farms across rural America, where local industries contribute much to the area’s economic growth. As consumer demand for organic products grows, so too do sales. The USDA reported that there was approximately $43 billion in U.S. sales of organic products in 2015. Local farmers have said that being certified as organic by the USDA allows them to receive premium prices for their products.

The USDA ends their report quite succinctly; offering no justification as to why the rise is suddenly so sharp or relevant. Regardless, the growth is being lauded by many health advocates who believe in integrating into a cleaner, greener, and more organic lifestyle. The perils of pesticide-laden food, toxic tap water, and similar environmental concerns make it more necessary for people to be diligent about what they eat, what they do, and most importantly, how they live. Opting for organic food is an advantageous choice not only for your own personal health, but for the planet as well. There are several other reasons to choose organic foods, as listed on Prevention.com:

  1. Free from chemicals – Perhaps the most important consideration, eating organically-grown food is an assurance that you are not inadvertently consuming chemical poisons. In the article, it states that around 600 active chemicals are registered for use in America, roughly translating to around 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person each year. Moreover, the National Academy of Sciences claims that 90 percent of chemicals applied on food have not been tested for long-term effects. The FDA only tests one percent of food for pesticide residue.
  2. Free from “watered-down” bogus nutrition – Organically-grown food contains more essential vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients compared to their commercially-grown siblings. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded that organic food crops are grown in soil that is better-managed and less laden with chemicals. Consequently, the produce is significantly more nutrient-dense.
  3. Free from risk – More than 90 percent of the pesticides we consume are from meat and dairy products. The EPA says that because animals are further up the food chain, chemicals accumulate in their tissues. Hormones, antibiotics, and drugs are directly passed into these food sources as well. U.S. farmers use sex or growth hormones to aid in the development of their livestock. However, these artificial enhancers cannot be broken down, even at high temperatures. We then eat these products, unknowingly consuming the same toxins.

One other benefit of organic local farming is that it protects the environment. The foundation of all local farming is one of eco-sustenance. Preservation of soil and crop rotation keep farmlands healthy. Moreover, the natural ecosystem, wherein natural flora and animal life is allowed to thrive, is balanced.

While there are no official forecasts on the trend, it is hoped that more local farms going organic will be seen spreading across our nation. Follow more news about organics at Organics.news.

Read More At: NaturalNes.com

Sources include:

AGWeb.com

SustainableAgriculture.net

AMS.USDA.gov

Prevention.com

Arrested For Selling What?!

Source: iHealthTube.com
August 26, 2016

Victoria Bloch tells her own story of her experience volunteering at a farmer’s market and selling products to their community supported agriculture members. You won’t believe how she was treated and why she was taken to jail! She was handcuffed and arrested for selling what? Wait until you hear her story!

What If the Consensus on Small-Scale Toolmaking and Agriculture Is Wrong?

The idea that food is globally incredibly cheap right now doesn’t compute in the mainstream narrative.

Source: OfTwoMinds.com
Charles Hugh Smith
July 14, 2016

In the consensus view, agriculture is only profitable on a mega-farm corporate scale, and tool-making has been offshored because it’s unprofitable to manufacture stuff in the U.S. But what if both of these “obvious” consensus opinions are flat-out wrong? What if small-scale farming and toolmaking are both potentially profitable?

Perhaps we should be asking: what if the highest future profits will belong to small-scale agriculture and manufacturing, not Wall Street or Silicon Valley? This idea is so far out of the mainstream that it is widely considered “impossible:” nothing could be more profitable than politically sacrosanct “too big to fail” Wall Street banks or quasi-monopoly tech giants.

As for agriculture–nothing could be more profitable than large-scale corporate production, all watched over by machines of loving grace (as per Richard Brautigan and Adam Curtis).

All of these presumed “truths” may be melting into air if small-scale machine tools and software technologies enable highly efficient and productive small-scale agriculture:

Drew Sample and I discuss these nascent but potentially revolutionary trends in a new podcast, Small Scale Farming, Small Scale Manufacturing (1:08 hrs).

Critics will quickly point out that large-scale production of grains such as corn and wheat and crops such as soy beans cannot be profitably grown in small plots. While that’s currently a financial reality, that does not imply it’s a permanent truth: large-scale agriculture consumes vast quantities of fossil fuels (currently cheap, but maybe not cheap forever) and huge quantities of minerals such as potash that are non-renewable.

Should essential non-renewables skyrocket in price, large-scale agriculture becomes a lot more costly to operate.

There’s also the question of sustainability. Typical large-scale practices such as tilling cause soil loss that cannot be “fixed” with conventional methods. Then there’s the decline of water tables as aquifers are drained by conventional agricultural practices.

In typical Wall Street fashion, the perspective on what’s sustainable currently extends about one quarter (three months). Few observers ask what will be sustainable in 20 years.

Continue Reading At: OfTwoMinds.com

Dissecting The Royal Society’s Genetically Modified Food Whitewash

Source: The Corbett Report
James Corbett
July 9, 2016

SHOW NOTES AND MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=19146

Dr. Robert Verkerk is the Executive and Scientific Director of the Alliance for Natural Health. Today we discuss his recent article, “UK Royal Society whitewash on GM crops,” which breaks down the Royal Society’s recent report on the safety of genetically modified foods. From false assurances of consensus to exclusion of key issues like glyphosates and superweeds, we show how the latest report is a whitewash and discuss why the Royal Society is promoting the biotech industry.

Anthony Wile: Colombia Grants First Cannabis Processing License, Country Poised For Greatness

cannabis-plant
Source: TheDailyBell.com
Anthony Wile
June 28, 2016

In the long-running global war on drugs, arguably no country in the world has suffered more than Colombia, where I have been doing business and living part-time for over 15 years. Violence, poverty, fear, destruction of families and communities, political upheaval, economic chaos – the black market has wreaked havoc throughout this beautiful land.

But today, the courageous and forward-looking leadership of Colombia has taken another giant step on its path to turning a drug that was previously so damaging into a force for global good. The Ministry of Heath has granted the nation’s first license for the production and manufacturing of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. This first license was awarded to PharmaCielo Ltd., a Canadian corporation with operational headquarters in Colombia. As long-time Daily Bell readers and those following my work at The Wile Group know, I am a director of the PharmaCielo Foundation and a private investor in PharmaCielo Ltd.

For a number of significant reasons, it makes perfect sense for Colombia to embrace the burgeoning medical cannabis industry now, during its infancy, when the regulatory structure that will eventually frame the entire global market is just being developed. Colombia is in position to create the standard for high-quality, low-cost, standardized medicinal cannabis cultivated using environmentally net positive practices, processed using pharmaceutical-grade techniques, and shipped internationally safely and securely.

First, Colombia is an ideal place to naturally cultivate and process cannabis in an environmentally net positive manner. Temperatures are ideal for open-air greenhouse production, rainfall is plentiful and regular, allowing growing facilities to use their own natural water reserves rather than drain localized water tables, and, being located at the equator, the daily 12 hours light/12 hours dark cycle – exactly the light requirement cannabis needs to properly flower – is consistent, year-round. The diverse microclimates within Colombia also facilitate cultivating a wide variety of strains, each of which thrives best in slightly different growing environments.

Second, a tremendous amount of support exists within Colombia to facilitate the rapid development of a cannabis industry, from the world-class university system, agricultural/research organizations and leading engineering firms. The University of Antioquia is renowned for its third-party testing lab services that help companies extend their R&D capabilities and its impressive work to identify and investigate the nation’s diverse flora, Universidad EAFIT has an exchange partnership with Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering and Universidad de La Salle has an innovative sustainable agriculture program for young farmers in rural Colombia, to mention just three examples.

Colombia’s agricultural success is supported by research organizations such as Corpoica, the Colombian Corporation for Farming Research, a quasi-private public agricultural research and technology organization. The nation’s massive cut-flower industry ascribes to the high environmental and social standards of the Florverde Sustainable Flowers certification as well as those set forth by the association of flower producers, Asocolflores. Finally, international trade security is guided by BASC, the World Business Alliance for Secure Commerce, which facilitates trade through internationally recognized standards and procedures.

The engineering expertise needed to develop cannabis processing facilities, required because Colombian law only allows export of cannabis oil extracts, is readily available from internationally recognized firms like Indisa S.A. This strong, broad infrastructure is part of the reason companies like Kimberly Clarke, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Citibank and have relocated or expanded into Colombia. It’s not surprising Colombia has long been an area of interest to big pharmaceutical companies for research and clinical trials, conducting initial investigations and investigating initial indications for new products.

Already the world’s second largest exporter of cut flowers, Colombia has a work force of 94,000-plus with extensive experience in the industry as well as the infrastructure and relationships in place for global exportation through major channel distributors – in many cases, the same ones who will most likely be distributing medical cannabis in markets worldwide – both of which can be smoothly transitioned to include medical cannabis as well. With coasts on two oceans, Colombian ports facilitate lower-cost sea shipping throughout the world. Air freight, already highly efficient due to the massive volume of cut flowers being exported, allows for direct, expedient shipments of goods to Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Continue Reading At: TheDailyBell.com

Environmental Group Establishes Training Centers To Educate Farmers About Organic Growing Techniques

Organic farming
Source: NaturalNews.com
Sarah Landers
June 16, 2016

One of the most damaging impacts humans are having on the environment is caused by Big Agri food production. According to The Star, the Pesticide Action network Asia and the Pacific (known as Panap) is starting a “multiversity” with the goal of showing farmers how to produce food without relying upon pesticides.

Pesticides are widely used across Africa and according to The Guardian, their use is also on the rise in Asia. This use of hazardous chemicals is causing severe damage to both the environment and health of local communities – potentially costing sub-Saharan Africa $90 billion by 2020 in pesticide-related illnesses.

Named the “International People’s Agroecology Mulitversity,” this fantastic movement comprises 10 field-learning sites in Asia and one in Africa which offer farmers the opportunity to see how it’s done.

Cutting pesticide use can boost yields

According to The Conversation, cutting pesticide use has actually worked to boost yields in Asia and Africa. Recent research has shown that farmers in Asia and Africa have been able to cut the use of pesticides whilst boosting crop yields, reducing costs and delivering healthier profits.

Each kilogram of pesticide used in agriculture causes between $4 – $19 of external economic costs on the environment, wildlife and human health. Any reduction in their use saves farmers money. And all it takes is a different approach to farming practices.

All pests have natural predators and parasites that farmers can use along with their farm management to minimize or even replace synthetic pesticides, according to The Conversation. This is known as integrated pest management, an approach that is focused on manipulating the crop ecosystem rather than simply wiping out pests.

These natural farming strategies can actually increase crop yields while reducing the need for pesticides – and there are other sustainable approaches to agriculture that mean the farmer gets more and the environment wins. These include a focus on soil, water, tree or livestock management.

The International People’s Agroecology Multiversity

Panap executive director V. R. Sarojeni has explained that the sites are training centers or “campuses” made up of farms, NGOs, institutions and universities that offer on-site learning and collaboration on ecological farming methods, innovations and techniques, as reported by The Star.

According to Sarojeni, “last year, researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia found several types of pesticide in all of Cameron Highlands’ river and tap water… We understand the economic risks farmers take if they don’t use pesticides, but the rampant use of such chemicals cannot go on.”

Sarojeni went on to explain that as well as harming species that are not pests, the long-term low-level exposure to such poisons in the food chain has been proven to cause people to suffer from reduced immunity, problems with organ functionality and interrupted hormone production.

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com

Monsanto Profits Drop 25% AGAIN as Farmers, Individuals go Organic

Your Voice Is Being Heard

Monsanto profits fall
Source: NaturalSociety.com
Mike Barret
April 7, 2016

Biotech giant Monsanto reported multiple profit-plummets in 2015 relating to sales for both its genetically modified crop creations and its best-selling herbicide, Roundup. Once again, Monsanto has reported declining profits for the fiscal second-quarter earnings – by 25%.

For Monsanto’s 2nd quarter, total sales for Monsanto dropped 13%; with one of Monsanto’s top-sellers, corn seeds, falling 11%. The biotech giant cites an “unfavorable agricultural market” for its losses, pointing out that:

  • Pressures in overseas markets is increasing
  • Farmers are reporting less income due to less-than-ideal harvests
  • The strength of the U.S. dollar made products more expensive

But the company makes little or no mention of the other key factors affecting its bottom line.

  • Organic food demand is exploding like crazy – and the figures show no sign of it slowing any time soon.
  • The world is seeing how toxic pesticides and herbicides really are.
  • Record farmers are switching to non-GMO crops.

While the company is admittedly still seeing profits in the billions, the continuous decline paints a bleak picture for the agricultural giant. It means that the massive grassroots movement against Big Biotech giants such as Monsanto is working, and that our collective voice is being more than heard.

With awareness growing on the potential dangers of GMOs and the very real negative impact pesticides and herbicides have on human health and the environment, why wouldn’t anyone go against such an unsustainable, harmful business?

Earlier this year, Monsanto announced that sales in the company’s agricultural productivity segment, which includes its best-selling Roundup herbicide, fell 34% to $820 million for the quarter ending November 30. Monsanto also revealed that it plans to cut more of their work force – a total of 3600 jobs, which accounts for 16% of its global employee base. The biotech giant will also record $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion in ‘restructuring’ costs.

Continue Reading At: NaturalSociety.com

Merge-Santo – New Threat To Food Sovereignty

[Editor’s Note]

This is a rather disturbing trend that if successful will pose great risk to the global food supply, people’s health, and ultimately food freedoms most are already highly lacking.
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“If the marriages of DuPont-Dow and Syngenta–Chem China go through and Monsanto merges with Bayer’s Agricultural division, the three will control more than 65% of global pesticide sales and almost 61% of commercial seed sales. If Monsanto and BASF strike a deal instead, the Titanic Three will still have almost 61% of pesticides and more than 57% of seeds”  [Bold Emphasis Added]

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2016
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Merge-Santo: New Threat to Food Sovereignty
Source: GreenMedInfo
GMI Reporter
March 25, 2016

Briefing Note
23 March 2016

ETC Group

Now, world agriculture has three mega-mergers in play: Merge-Santo – New Threat to Food Sovereignty.  If we act, we can stop the Big Six from becoming the Titanic Three.

As ETC first warned in May[i] last year and again in February[ii] this year, the pressure of two mergers among the Big Six Gene Giants would make a third merger inevitable. In the last few days the business media have reported that Monsanto is in separate talks with Bayer and BASF – the two German giants among agricultural input companies. While anti-competition regulators are fussing about the hook up of DuPont with Dow and of Syngenta with Chem China, Monsanto urgently needs to make a match. They hope that if regulators let the other two deals go through, they won’t be able to deny Monsanto a chance to even the score.

If the companies get their way, the first links in the industrial food chain (seeds, pesticides) will be in the hands of just three companies. If the marriages of DuPont-Dow and Syngenta–Chem China go through and Monsanto merges with Bayer’s Agricultural division, the three will control more than 65% of global pesticide sales and almost 61% of commercial seed sales. If Monsanto and BASF strike a deal instead, the Titanic Three will still have almost 61% of pesticides and more than 57% of seeds (see chart below).

Either way, a fourth move will be inevitable. Whichever company is left at the altar (Bayer or BASF) will have to buy or sell since it won’t have the clout to take on the Three. Either could prove irresistible for Deere & Co. or one of the other huge farm machinery companies that are in the best position to ultimately dominate all on-farm related agricultural inputs from seeds and pesticides to fertilizers, machinery, data and insurance.

So What?

Some industry watchers wonder if this latest spate of mergers will really make a difference to an industry which is already tightly-concentrated and where the six Gene Giants that have dominated seed and pesticide markets for the last decade already have so many joint ventures and cross-licensing arrangements that they have a de facto monopoly.

From another perspective, peasant organizations and agroecologists neither buy corporate seeds nor want their pesticides. According to recent estimates[iii], at least 90% of the seeds that peasant farmers plant every year come from their own bins or are bartered with neighbours in local markets. Since these are the peasants that actually feed 70% of the world’s people, the machinations of multinationals could be considered of no matter.

Causes for Concern:

Commercial seeds may only make up 10% of peasants’ seed supply but the corporations have virtually all of the “face time” with policymakers. Trade, farm subsidies, labour laws, patents, land use, phytosanitary regulations, infrastructure spending and marketing policies are skewed to the interests of the biggest agribusinesses and the 100 million farms they claim as clients. The 570 million peasant families[iv] that really feed the world bear the burden of these skewed policies – not just as a direct attack – but as collateral damage. The more concentrated the lobbying power of industrial agriculture, the more destruction to the Peasant Food Web and agroecological food systems.

The threat is not only concentration but also integration. When pesticide companies began buying seed companies in the 1970s, the companies first denied it was happening and, later, argued that the synergies were beneficial. Four decades later, allowing seeds and chemicals to combine has done an enormous damage to plant breeding. The agrochemical giants concentrate overwhelmingly on a handful of commodity crops (corn, soybean, cotton, etc.) engineered primarily to tolerate proprietary chemicals. The result has been a decline in the quality of plant breeding for conventional varieties and an increase in the use of crop chemicals. The impacts are especially devastating for farmers who want to get off the pesticide treadmill – they can’t get good seed and can’t escape their neighbour’s drifting pesticides.

Policymakers – who refused to acknowledge the negative impacts of the seed/chemical complex –  will now confront the next level of integration. The world’s seed and pesticide businesses are small potatoes compared to the fertilizer and farm machinery industries. The farm machinery behemoth, Deere & Co., all by itself, has sales equivalent to about two thirds the sales of the entire seed industry.  For the big three tractor companies that share 49% of the world market, taking over the big three seed/pesticide companies (with even greater concentration) seems a nice fit.
If national anti-competition regulators allow the three seed and pesticide mega-mergers to go ahead, the slippery slope into machinery or fertilizer combinations will be hard to arrest.

Winning Grounds: 

The mergers already on the table will not be decided in Washington or Brussels and victory won’t go to the highest-paid lawyers. It’s all about national politics and shareholder profits.

Continue Reading At: GreenMedInfo.com

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Make $100,000 per Acre with Beyond Sustainable No Till Farming a Year

John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ shares with you the No Till Farming 102 Workshop that took place at the 2016 Eco Farm Conference where Paul Kaiser is able to make $100,000 gross per acre per year on on his farm.

In this episode, you will learn the benefits of using No Till Farming which includes significantly higher income per acre than other types of farming, regenerating the soil, capturing more carbon in the soil, creating year round jobs, producing high quality food, encouraging local flora and fauna.

First, John will share how he uses no-till farming techniques in his no-till garden at home.

Next, Paul, will share important information on why every farm should start doing no-till farming, its benefits and how the US government even promotes no-till farming as the best way to farm to conserve and restore the farm land in the USA. You will discover why Soil Organic Matter continues to decrease in the USA and why current agriculture systems are destroying the soil. You will learn about studies that support this information. You will discover why tilling is so bad for your soil, and you should never do it. You will discover the best soil management strategies to restore and build the soil to levels even BETTER than they were before we starting farming the land. You will also discover how to start a no-till farming field, as well as how to maintain it.

Next, John will share the most important slides from the No Till Farming Workship. You will discover some of the most important of a no-till farming operation, including how 3 people can replant and turn over 3 garden beds in 1 hour. You will also discover why transplants are used instead of starting seeds and why it is so important to start from transplants. Next, you will learn the tools that are used to do no-till farming. You will learn the best materials to build a long lasting, no-snag garden benches. You will discover the seed starting mixture and about different types of compost that is used in this notill farming system. You will discover the importance of diversity of growing different types of plants, natives, pollinator crops, hedgerows, and more in a no-till farming system. You will also learn how no till farming is MORE profitable than conventional and even standard organic agriculture.

Finally you will discover how notill farming done in a proper manor is the parmount of environmental sustainability, can help to sequester carbon in the soil, provide economic prosperity, as well as be social just and responsible. In the end, you will learn that No Till Farming is one of the best farming techniques that can help to solve the food crisis, economic crisis and soil crisis that is the word is currently experiencing today.