Australian wine industry feels heat from climate change
March 25, 2008 08:18 AM - Reuters
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian grape growers reckon they are the canary in the coalmine of global warming, as a long drought forces winemakers to rethink the styles of wine they can produce and the regions they can grow in. The three largest grape-growing regions in Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, all depend on irrigation to survive. The high cost of water has made life tough for growers.
Wal-Mart Move 'TIpping Point' for Driving Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone off the Market
March 24, 2008 09:53 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
Organic food proponents will remember Thursday as the day the ground shifted. Giant food retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced that its store brand milk in the United States will now come exclusively from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones.
A Daily Dose of Antioxidants?
March 24, 2008 09:37 AM - USDA
We’ve all read about the antioxidant superstars—the blueberries, blackberries, and cherries, for instance—that are so effective at squelching the audacious free radicals that bombard our bodies’ delicate cells every day. But few studies have been aimed at investigating how well our bodies use these antioxidant-rich foods—and whether or not their soaring ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) scores really translate into practical, disease-fighting capabilities in humans.
Heads Monsanto Wins, Tails We Lose
March 22, 2008 09:27 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
There have been few experiments as reckless, overhyped and with as little potential upside as the rapid rollout of genetically modified crops. Last month, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a pro-biotech nonprofit, released a report highlighting the proliferation of genetically modified crops. According to ISAAA, biotech crop area grew 12 percent, or 12. 3 million hectares, to reach 114. 3 million hectares in 2007, the second highest area increase in the past five years.
Melting glaciers will shrink grain harvests in China and India.
March 21, 2008 09:36 AM - Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute
The world is now facing a climate-driven shrinkage of river-based irrigation water supplies. Mountain glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau are melting and could soon deprive the major rivers of India and China of the ice melt needed to sustain them during the dry season. In the Ganges, the Yellow, and the Yangtze river basins, where irrigated agriculture depends heavily on rivers, this loss of dry-season flow will shrink harvests.
Panel Backs GMO Taro Ban
March 20, 2008 10:15 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
WAILUKU - A resolution urging a hold on research involving genetic modification of taro was advanced Wednesday by the County Council Public Works and Facilities Committee. The resolution supports a bill pending before the state Legislature that would put a 10-year moratorium on developing, testing and growing genetically modified taro plants. Supporters in the audience, many of them taro farmers from East Maui, applauded as the committee voted to recommend the resolution with a 5-0 vote.
French state body upholds decision on GM crop ban
March 19, 2008 02:22 PM - Reuters
PARIS (Reuters) - France's top legal authority on Wednesday upheld a government decision to ban commercial use of the only genetically modified (GM) crop grown in the country by rejecting an emergency injunction filed by the pro-GM camp. France issued decrees banning the use of MON 810 maize seeds in February after a government-appointed committee said it unearthed new evidence of damage GM products could inflict on the environment.
Expect Food Prices to Go Higher and Higher
March 17, 2008 09:29 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
With respect to food costs, Andrew Martin and Michael M. Grynbaum reported in today's New York Times that, "The government announced Friday that the cost of food had gone up yet again. This came as no revelation to Bruce Newton, a single father of two children. "As he wheeled a cart full of groceries out of a Stop & Shop supermarket in Bloomfield, N.J., on Thursday night, Mr. Newton complained that the price of chicken had become 'outrageous,' and eggs were so costly his mother sent him from store to store hunting for the cheapest ones. Essential breakfast items like milk, cereal and orange juice have become 'so expensive, but what are you going to do?'"
$6 million research lab will produce ethanol and other biofuels from grasses and biomass
March 13, 2008 09:40 AM - Cornell Chronicle Online
A former agricultural engineering, power and machinery lab at Cornell is being gutted to make way for a state-of-the art Biofuels Research Laboratory that will convert perennial grasses and woody biomass into cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels and will occupy the entire east wing of Riley Robb Hall by January 2009. The $6 million lab is being constructed thanks to a $10 million grant awarded to Larry Walker, Cornell professor of biological and environmental engineering, from the Empire State Development Corp., and will include analytical equipment, incubators, fermentors and other state-of-the-art biotechnology equipment.
Corn-based ethanol could worsen "dead zone"
March 11, 2008 02:01 AM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Growing more corn to meet the projected U.S. demand for ethanol could worsen an expanding "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico that is bad for crawfish, shrimp and local fisheries, researchers reported on Monday. The dead zone is a huge area of water -- some 7,700 square miles -- that forms above the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico every summer. It contains very low levels of oxygen.