Agriculture

The Perfect Food Shortage
May 12, 2008 08:59 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The United Nations is calling the recent increase in world hunger a "silent tsunami," as if it was triggered by an event at the bottom of the ocean. I'd call the crisis a storm, brewed by several converging forces, all of which, it turns out, are man-made. It's a storm that some have been predicting for a long time, and now, finally, the U.N. is taking notice.

Genetic sleuths unmask secrets of big tomatoes
May 12, 2008 08:22 AM - Reuters

The secret behind growing large tomatoes lies not in the fertilizer or the perfect soil conditions, but in just a few genetic changes that over time have resulted in tomatoes 1,000 times bigger than their wild ancestors, U.S. researchers said on Sunday. Without these changes, tomatoes would be little more than berries on a bush.

New Generation of Farmers and Farmers Markets in California
May 8, 2008 08:07 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

THERE'S been a changing of the guard at the Coleman Family Farm stand at the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesday mornings. Ask Bill Coleman a question and he's likely to answer, "Ask Romey." Romey -- Romeo on his birth certificate -- is Coleman's son and though his eventually becoming the boss was expected, it nonetheless comes as a bit of a surprise to longtime market shoppers who might still think of him as the kid they watched grow up.

In food price crunch, more Americans seek help
May 7, 2008 10:06 AM - Reuters

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Carolyn Stanley, a single mother with five children, receives $327 in food stamps each month to feed her family. With prices for staples like bread and cheese going ever higher, each month is harder than the last. She buys hot dogs over higher-quality meat and feeds her kids cereal, but even with other government support she often has to seek help from local churches and from friends.

New project targets post-harvest loss in Ethiopia
May 7, 2008 09:58 AM - , SciDevNet

A new programme to develop low-cost technologies to reduce post-harvest losses will be launched in Ethiopia this year. The six-year programme will run at Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine (JUCAVM) in Ethiopia, with US$3 million funding from the Canadian International Development Agency.

Giant Food & Biotech Corporations Make Billions in Profit from Growing Global Food Crisis
May 6, 2008 09:14 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Giant agribusinesses are enjoying soaring earnings and profits out of the world food crisis which is driving millions of people towards starvation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. And speculation is helping to drive the prices of basic foodstuffs out of the reach of the hungry. The prices of wheat, corn and rice have soared over the past year driving the world's poor - who already spend about 80 per cent of their income on food - into hunger and destitution.

Gene for yield, height in rice identified
May 5, 2008 09:28 AM - Reuters

Scientists in China have identified a single gene that appears to control rice yield, as well as its height and flowering time, taking what may be a crucial step in global efforts to increase crop productivity. In an article published in Nature Genetics, the researchers said they were able to pinpoint a single gene, Ghd7, which appears to determine all three traits.

Rising Food Prices Hit Organics
May 5, 2008 08:58 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Although shoppers have generally accepted that eating organic foods will be more costly, a recent and rapid rise in prices may force some consumers to alter their eating habits. Food prices have been rising for several months now, and at first, organic prices stayed steady. But organic foods are catching up - and then some. A gallon of organic milk, for example, is now nearing $7.

Water looms as “The Next Oil,” warns MIT Sloan professor
May 5, 2008 08:29 AM - MIT Sloan School of Management

With U.S. gasoline prices edging toward the recently unimaginable price of $4 a gallon, consumers are beginning to drive less and energy efficiency is again a hot topic. But the pain caused by high oil prices is nothing like what looms as an even more basic and essential natural commodity — water -- faces dwindling supplies and growing demand. As essential as it is taken for granted, water is The Next Oil.

Farmers face climate challenge in quest for more food
May 3, 2008 08:16 PM - Reuters

If farmers think they have a tough time producing enough rice, wheat and other grain crops, global warming is going to present a whole new world of challenges in the race to produce more food, scientists say. In a warmer world beset by greater extremes of droughts and floods, farmers will have to change crop management practices, grow tougher plant varieties and be prepared for constant change in the way they operate, scientists say.

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