Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sep26

Norway Invests $23.7 Million to Ensure Crop Diversity in a Changing Climate

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By Sophie Wenzlau

Earlier this week, the government of Norway pledged US$23.7 million to conserve and sustainably manage some of the world’s most important food crops, citing the critical need for crop diversity at a time when populations are soaring and climate change is threatening staples like rice and maize, according to the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT).

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault harbors nearly three-quarters of a million seed samples from around the world. (Photo Credit: GCDT)

“In just 10 years we will have a billion more people at the global dinner table, but during that same time we could see climate change diminish rice production by 10 percent with a one-degree increase in temperature,” said Marie Haga, executive director of the GCDT. “Our best hedge against disaster is to make sure we have a wide array of food crops at our disposal to keep harvests healthy in the bread baskets of the world.”

Crop diversity, which is conserved in farmers’ fields and genebanks around the world, has dwindled as farmers have steadily cultivated a narrower range of crop varieties and as genebanks have suffered from insufficient funding. Meanwhile, a recent study of the 29 most important food crops revealed severe threats to over half of their wild relatives—species that can hold valuable traits for plant breeders.

Worldwide, agriculture depends on a relatively small number of crops; only about 150 are used on a significant scale. Individual crops, such as the 20,000 varieties of wheat, have different traits for drought or heat tolerance, nutritional quality, disease resistance, and other characteristics. Today, much of the world’s crop diversity is neither safely conserved nor readily available to scientists and farmers who rely on it to safeguard agricultural productivity, according to the GCDT. Limited crop diversity could prove dangerous in the context of climate change, as extreme and unpredictable weather events place unprecedented pressures on our ability to grow the food we need. Diversity is being lost, according to the GCDT, and with it the biological basis of our food supply.

(more…)

Mar22

World Water Day Infographic: Why Plumbers are Heroes

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Check out this information-packed graphic about water scarcity, the dangers of unsafe water, and country-specific water usage. The infographic was created by the training firm ableskills on the occasion of World Water Day.

Many everyday foods require huge amounts of water for production. (Image credit: ableskills.co.uk)

Dec23

Climate-Friendly Agriculture and Renewable Energy: Working Hand-in-Hand toward Climate Mitigation

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Check out this op-ed published on RenewableEnergyWorld.com by Worldwatch staff researchers Laura Reynolds and Sophie Wenzlau. The article discusses the relationship between renewable energy and climate-friendly agriculture.

To read the entire article, click here.

Nov26

Meet the Nourishing the Planet Team: Alyssa Casey

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We have a whole new crop of interns with the Nourishing the Planet team this fall. Today, meet Alyssa Casey.

Alyssa Casey

Alyssa is currently a graduate student at George Washington University studying Philosophy and Social Policy. She plans to focus on agriculture and health policy, especially as it relates to international development.

Alyssa received her undergraduate degree in graphic design from Saint Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. During her time at St. Norbert she became very involved in The Zambia Project, a campus-based organization that fundraises for Zambia Open Community Schools and promotes awareness about issues of education and development in Zambia, Africa.

She participated in two service trips to Zambia delivering school supplies and meeting with school leaders and community members to discuss successes and needs.

Recently, Alyssa spent four months living and working in a rural Zambian village with Same World Same Chance, a non-profit organization working to establish a high school, health clinic, and organic farm in Kibombomene, Zambia. During her time in the village she painted educational murals, helped with the planting of the farm and orchard, taught English to school children, and worked on community fundraisers.

Alyssa loves traveling and besides Zambia has spent time in Italy and Ireland. Her experiences in Zambia and around the world have shaped her passion for human rights and issues of nutrition, food security, and social justice. She is excited to work with Nourishing the Planet, bringing awareness to, and promoting solutions for, a healthier and more sustainable world!

Oct23

Watch Live! Danielle Nierenberg Speaks about Food Day and Myth Busting with the Huffington Post

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Join Nourishing the Planet project director Danielle Nierenberg and the Small Planet Institute’s Anna Lappé for a discussion about agricultural subsidies, animal rights, and the environment on the Huffington Post this afternoon at 4:30 pm EST! Click here to watch the live stream.

 

 

Oct23

U.S Food Day: 25 Innovations in 25 U.S. States

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Tomorrow is U.S. Food Day, a yearly nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Watch our short, fun video about Food Day by clicking here!

In honor of Food Day 2012, we’d like to showcase 50 state-by-state programs, projects, individuals, and organizations that are innovating to make the nation’s food and agricultural system more sustainable. This week, we bring you the first 25, from Alabama to Missouri. Keep an eye out for the second 25 next week, where we will highlight innovations taking place from Montana to Wyoming!

 1. Alabama. The Jones Valley Urban Farm in Birmingham, Alabama has been in operation since 2007. Occupying 3.5 acres of once vacant space in downtown Birmingham, Jones Valley Urban Farm grows organic produce and flowers and offers hands-on education to the community about farming and nutritious foods.

 

2. Alaska. The Fish to Schools program, created by the Sitka Conservation Society, is a school feeding initiative dedicated to serving local and nutritious seafood to students in Sitka, Alaska. As the ninth largest seafood port in the United States, Sitka’s economy and community is strongly interconnected with seafood. Through the Fish to Schools program, Sitka youth gain knowledge about local seafood resources by integrating seafood into their diets and by attending educational seminars on marine life and the process of harvesting seafood.

3. Arizona. The Sunizona Family Farms in Wilcox, Arizona started growing cucumbers in 1996. Today, not only do they sell nearly 95 percent of their organic produce, ranging from tomatoes, to kale to beets, to chard, locally, they also use growing methods which rely strictly on plant-based products. No animal inputs are used in any part of the farming process, they make their own fertilizers out of vegetable components, and even use waste pecan shells to create wood pellets, which they use to heat their greenhouse.

 

4. Arkansas. The City of North Little Rock, Arkansas has been given $1.5 million to encourage healthy nutrition and lifestyles in low-income neighborhoods. The mission is to make the City of North Little Rock a Fit 2 Live community that is committed to healthy eating and active living by creating an environment that recognizes and encourages citizens to adopt healthy life choices. (more…)

Oct22

Celebrate U.S. Food Day!

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By Rachael Styer

Celebrate! October 24 is U.S. Food Day. Events will be taking place around the United States to celebrate and promote food that is healthy, sustainable, affordable and fair. Think of it like a birthday party for food!

For more information or to find an event near you, visit www.foodday.org. You can even host your own event, such as teaching a cooking class, organizing a potluck with your friends or just making dinner for yourself or your family using fresh, healthy ingredients. However you celebrate, we wish you a happy Food Day full of flavor and fun! …And be sure to tweet about our video!

Rachael Styer is a Food and Agriculture Research Intern with Nourishing the Planet.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.

Oct21

In Case You Missed It: This Week in Review

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This week, the World Food Prize Foundation hosted its 2012 Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa. Nourishing the Planet Director Danielle Nierenberg spoke at “DialogueNEXT” about the innovative nature of agriculture. Click here to watch her presentation.

Photo Credit: Bernard Pollack

In celebration of this year’s World Food Prize Laureate, Dr. Daniel Hillel, and his work in micro-irrigation in the Middle East, Danielle Nierenberg and Research Associate Sophie Wenzlau published an article in the Des Moines Register this week about the importance of conserving water in agriculture. At a time when 75 percent of Iowa continues to experience “extreme” and “exceptional” drought, the World Food Prize’s recognition of the vital need for water conservation in agriculture is extraordinarily relevant. Read the full article here.

On World Food Day on October 16, we put together a list of 21 policies enacted by governments around the world that are changing the food system for the better. We also highlight the role that agricultural cooperatives can play in the fight against hunger and poverty. Agricultural cooperatives help farmers access and share information, get fair prices for their goods, and participate in local decision making. Read more about cooperatives here.

In a guest post, Dr. William Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), profiles five ways that biodiversity can help fight world hunger. The 11th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is happening this week in Hyderabad, India; Dr. Dar argues that we need to be aware of the values of biodiversity, and act to conserve and use it sustainably. Read the full post here.

And in our Indigenous vegetable of the week post, we highlight pewa, a nutrient-dense fruit that provides more protein than an avocado. For centuries, Indigenous groups have used pewa in jellies, compotes, flours and edible oils. Read more about pewa’s uses and high nutritional value here.

Further highlights from the past week:

Check out this article published on FoodNavigator.com, in which Nourishing the Planet Director Danielle Nierenberg speaks about the importance of fostering global food security. And take a minute to follow and like the Food MythBusters as they debunk the myth that industrial agriculture is the only way to feed the world. Watch the teaser for their film on industrial agriculture vs. sustainable farming, coming out on Food Day, October 24.

Now it’s your turn: What were your favorite posts from the week? What do you hope we’ll write about next week? Let us know in the comments!

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.

Oct17

Food MythBusters Dish Out the Truth on Industrial Agriculture

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(Photo Credit: Food Mythbusters)

Take a minute to follow and like the Food MythBusters as they debunk the myth that industrial agriculture is the only way to feed the world. While you’re there, watch the teaser for their film on industrial agriculture vs. sustainable farming, coming out on Food Day, October 24.

Together, we can challenge Big Agriculture’s marketing dollars with our collective grassroots truth-telling might!

Follow the Food MythBusters on Twitter, like them on Facebook, and watch their teaser trailer!

Oct14

In Case You Missed It: This Week in Review

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This week, we highlight a number of ongoing campaigns to make the food system more sustainable: the Food Day Campaign is educating consumers about the health consequences of soda consumption, California citizens are gearing up to vote on GM food labeling requirements under proposition 37, and Oxfam America’s GROW campaign urges consumers to take small steps toward food justice and equity.

Photo credit: Bernard Pollack

Want to get involved? Ask the Trader Joe’s grocery chain to support labeling of GM foods this election, and sign up to host a World Food Day dinner on October 16th to spread awareness of global food and agricultural issues!

Next week, Nourishing the Planet director Danielle Nierenberg will be participating in the DialogueNext workshop at the World Food Prize’s 2012 Borlaug Dialogue. This youth-engaging session will include a variety of rapid-fire talks, case studies, and conversations that focus on engaging young people in the future of agricultural development. Stay tuned for a full report of the workshop.

We also examine the latest global research portfolio of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the world’s largest publicly funded global agricultural research partnership. At the Fourth Agriculture and Rural Development Day gathering, CGIAR unveiled a new global research portfolio worth US$5 billion over five years. Read more about the research program here.

Further highlights from the past week:

Our indigenous livestock of the week is the yak. Originating in the “roof of the world,” the yak is an important animal, providing a host of nutritional and practical benefits to the people of the Tibetan plateau. It can withstand freezing temperatures and sparse vegetation, and is a major source of meat, milk, fiber, and hide. Read more about the hardy but endangered animal here.

This week’s Saturday Series interview is with Gigi Pomerantz, the executive director of Youthaiti. Youthaiti is a nonprofit promoting ecological sanitation in Haiti. “As a nurse practitioner, my focus has always been on prevention,” said Pomerantz. “Sanitation is prevention at its most basic level.” To read the full interview, click here.

We continued to receive some exciting news coverage this week. Danielle Nierenberg was interviewed in an article for The Epoch Times about Bhutan’s plans to transition its national food production to 100 percent organic by 2020. Read the full article here.

Now it’s your turn: What were your favorite posts from the week? What do you hope we’ll write about next week? Let us know in the comments!

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.