In Case You Missed it: This Week in Review

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This week, The Rockefeller Foundation announced that it is seeking entrants for its 2012 Innovation Challenges. The Challenges encourage applicants to share ideas and innovations about how to solve some of our most pressing social and environmental problems, including hunger and poverty. Click here to find out more information.

Photo credit: Bernard Pollack

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy released new fact sheets on the 2012 United States Farm Bill. The fact sheets analyze how the Bill affects issues such as climate change, food aid, and locally grown food. In this post we highlighted First Peoples Worldwide’s recent study that discusses the need for new strategies necessary to improve funding for indigenous communities. And in this Citywatch post, food policy analyst Wayne Roberts discusses a recent report released by KPMG that ranks the food industry as the worst environmental actor in the world.

Highlight from this past week:

Health concerns over tobacco use have hurt tobacco farmers—the number of farms growing tobacco in the United States dropped from 512,000 in 1954 to 56,977 in 2002. But the poisonous quality of tobacco could help farmers enter the pesticide market. While the potential for tobacco to be used as an organic pesticide has always existed—farmers and gardeners have been using homemade tobacco pesticide for years—it has never been commercially viable. That could be changing, however, as consumers demand organic vegetables and fruits and producers look for alternative forms of pesticide in order to meet that demand.

In this week’s Nourishing the Planet TV episode, we discuss how the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) is working to teach farmers in Zambia low-cost and sustainable agricultural practices. KATC offers a variety of short courses, lasting from three days to two weeks, which allow participants to gain experience in agroforestry, conservation tillage, and organic pest management.

And in this interview, University of Georgia’s Director of Environmental Sciences’ Susan Varlamoff discusses urban agricultural initiatives in Atlanta. According to Varlamoff, “Urban agriculture has picked up speed in the last five years due in part to the recession. Public and private partnerships are working to improve access to fresh food by establishing farms and community gardens, and stationery and mobile food markets in underserved areas. Through these initiatives we are seeing the potential that urban agriculture has to transform the city, neighborhood by neighborhood.”

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. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

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