Posts Tagged ‘State of the World 2011’

Sep20

Feeding Hope: Living Democracy

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This Thursday, join two of the planet’s most tireless advocates for food as a human right, Frances Moore Lappé and Vandana Shiva, as they come together on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Small Planet Fund and 40th anniversary of Diet for a Hot Planet by Frances Moore Lappé.

Image credit: Small Planet Fund

Also in attendance are Small Planet Fund co-founder and State of the World 2011 contributing author, Anna Lappé, Amazon Watch’s Atossa Soltani, and Real Food Challenge’s Anim Steel.

The event is free but pre-registration is strongly recommended. Click here to RSVP.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Aug22

Why GMOs Won’t Feed the World

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Check out this recent article by Diet for a Hot Planet author and State of the World 2011 contributing author, Anna Lappé.

Sustinable farming practices can often bring the same benefits of GMOs, without the environmental costs. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

The article discusses how alternatives to GMO technology, such as “sustainable intensification”, are less expensive and better for the environment. “By definition, sustainable intensification means producing abundant food while reducing agriculture’s negative impacts on the environment. Sustainable farming has many other co-benefits as well, including improving the natural environment by increasing soil carbon content, protecting watersheds and biodiversity, and decreasing the human health risks from exposures to toxic chemicals,” according to Lappé.

Click here to read the full article.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Aug19

Promoting sustainable agriculture

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Nourishing the Planet’s opinion editorial was recently featured in Taiwan’s Taipei Times, one of the major English-language newspapers in the country.

The article discussed how agricultural innovations can help to address some of the country’s emerging environmental problems, such as depleting water resources. Agricultural production accounts for 70 percent of Taiwan’s water usage. But by promoting the use of recycled water, Taiwan is already taking steps to promote the conservation of this vital resource.

Click here to read the article.

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.

Aug17

Cultivating Knowledge and Crops: Women Are Key to Sustainable Agricultural Development

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Women account for 75 percent of the agricultural producers in sub-Saharan Africa, but the majority of women farmers are living on only $1.25 per day, according to researchers from the Worldwatch Institute. “The lack of access to information technology and the inability to connect rural enterprises to banks can prevent women from obtaining vital financial services,” said Danielle Nierenberg, director of the Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project.

Although women represent a large percentage of farmers worldwide, they still lack many important extension services. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Despite the challenging circumstances that women in developing countries face, important innovations in communications and organizing are helping women play a key role in the fight against hunger and poverty. “Access to credit, which provides women farmers with productive inputs and improved technologies, can be an effective tool in improving livelihoods in Africa and beyond,” said Worldwatch Institute’s executive director Robert Engelman.

Worldwatch researchers traveled to 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa to meet with more than 350 farmers groups, NGOs, government agencies, and scientists, highlighting innovations, such as better extension and communication services, that are helping farmers improve their livelihoods. The findings are documented in the recently released report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet.

Nourishing the Planet highlights four innovations that can strengthen women’s agricultural capacity: providing microfinance credit, providing access to the global market, providing extension services, and providing organizational support to women’s projects.  (more…)

Aug16

State of the World 2011 Launches in Taiwan

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Nourishing the Planet Project Director Danielle Nierenberg is in Taiwan to launch State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet. Hosted in partnership with Taiwan Watch, the launch event brought together researchers and policy makers, including National University of Tainan’s College of Environmental Sciences and Ecology Dean, Tsun-Hsin Hsiegh, Chi-Mei Community University’s Vice Dean Chang Cheng-Yang and the Taiwan Permaculture Community’s Hiu-i Chiang, to discuss environmentally sustainable innovations in agriculture that are working on the ground now to help alleviate hunger and poverty.

Here are some photos from the launch:

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Jul30

Rainwater Harvesting

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By Dan Kane

In sub-Saharan Africa, many farmers are already watching their crop yields dwindle as water becomes more scarce and difficult to access. Even in areas where freshwater is still available, technologies such as pumps and filtration facilities can be prohibitively expensive.

Innovations in irrigation, such as this home-made water pump, are helping many small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Maintaining food security in Africa, especially as climate change takes a bigger hold on the continent, will require finding inexpensive, sustainable ways of obtaining freshwater. Fortunately, some farmers have already found their solution by returning to an age-old practice of rainwater harvesting.

Rainwater usually infiltrates the soil and is retained within the first foot or so, but a significant portion is also lost to evaporation and runoff. Most sub-Saharan African nations are using less than 5 percent of their rainwater potential. Capturing even a fraction of rainwater can provide several gallons for consumption and irrigation at minimal cost.

While researching for the recently released State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet report, Nourishing the Planet found that with the help of international NGOs, many communities across Africa have installed successful rainwater harvesting techniques that are cheap and useful.

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Jul28

UPI Article- Land Grabs Threaten African Food Security, says Worldwatch

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Check out this article on the threat of land grabs to African food security and the State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet report.

Massive land transactions are taking place in Africa and Latin America, funded by international investments, including hedge and pension funds. These multi-million dollar “land grabs” are taking place in African farming communities without farmers’ knowledge. The Worldwatch Institute calls for more oversight and fairer deals for farmers, because money from these transactions is not making it to the hands of the poor and hungry. “If all governments capably represented the interests of their citizens, these cash-for-cropland deals might improve prosperity and food security for both sides. But that’s not often the case. It’s critical that international institutions monitor these arrangements and find ways to block those that are one-sided or benefit only the wealthy.”

Click here to read the article.

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.

Jul28

UN Food Expert Calls on South Africa to Create “Inclusive Food System”

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By Dana Drugmand

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, is encouraging South Africa to build a food economy that benefits the majority of the population, including the poor. “South Africa needs to create food systems that work for the poor and not only sell to the poor,” De Schutter said, speaking at the end of his official mission to South Africa. The Special Rapporteur recently made a visit, at the invitation of the South African government, to assess the country’s agricultural programs and policies.

Village in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

South Africa is home to 12 million food insecure people, 70 percent of whom live in rural areas. These people have yet to see results from South Africa’s policies that put food security at the top of the government’s agenda, according to De Schutter. “The set of policies is encouraging, but the results still are below expectations,” he said.

In addition to opening up pro-poor food markets, De Schutter said that South Africa could use a new set of policies to set up local food systems that promote fresh and nutritious food and favor small-scale farmers. These small-scale farmers are marginalized in a market system that traces back to the Apartheid era. “In contrast to the large white commercial farmers, the newly established black farmers are small-scale farmers, with poor access to markets, a lack of marketing skills, and a weaker bargaining position in the food chains,” said De Schutter. One way to help these small-scale farmers is to develop incentives to encourage large commercial farmers to support emerging farmers. Commercial farmers, for example, could benefit by sharing their access to markets with emerging small-scale farmers.

(more…)

Jul27

Nourishing the Planet TV: Agriculture Education in School

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In this episode, research fellow Supriya Kumar highlights some of the many organizations that are working to help young students develop a respect–and an excitement–about farming, preparing them with the skills they’ll need to feed their families while protecting the environment.

Video: http://youtu.be/N4lVVt3tqhA

To read more about organizations that are providing agricultural education, see: Innovation of the Week: Agriculture Education in School

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Jul26

“Land Grabs” in Agriculture: Fairer Deals Needed to Ensure Opportunity for Locals

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The trend of international land grabbing—when governments and private firms invest in or purchase large tracts of land in other countries for the purpose of agricultural production and export—can have serious environmental and social consequences, according to researchers at the Worldwatch Institute. Deals that focus solely on financial profit can leave rural populations more vulnerable and without land, employment opportunities, or food security.

In Mozambique, while land grabs can bring in development, it can also strip farmers off their land and livelihoods. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

“Investors claim that land grabs can help alleviate the world food crisis by tapping into a country’s ‘unused’ agricultural potential,” said Danielle Nierenberg, Director of Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet project. “But such investments often do more harm than good, disrupting traditional land-use patterns and leaving small-scale farmers vulnerable to exploitation.”

The trend has accelerated as countries that lack sufficient fertile land to meet their own food needs—such as wealthier countries in the Middle East and Asia, particularly China—have turned to new fields in which to plant crops. “Growing demand and rising prices for food are leading some wealthier developing countries to seek secure access to food-producing land in the territory of lower-income ones,” said Robert Engelman, Executive Director of Worldwatch. “If all governments capably represented the interests of their citizens, these cash-for-cropland deals might improve prosperity and food security for both sides. But that’s not often the case. It’s critical that international institutions monitor these arrangements and find ways to block those that are one-sided or benefit only the wealthy.”

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reports that some 15–20 million hectares of farmland were the subject of deals or proposed deals involving foreigners between 2006 and mid-2009. Additional land acquisitions occurred in 2010, including deals in Ethiopia and Sudan, according to Andrew Rice, author of The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget and contributing author to the recent Worldwatch report State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet.

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