• France casts doubts on timing of GMO evaluation

    PARIS (Reuters) - It may take longer than expected to assess pest-resistant genetically modified (GMO) crops for use in France, the agriculture minister said in remarks published on Monday.

    "I cannot be absolutely sure how long it will take to carry out the scientific evaluation," Michel Barnier told the farming publication Agra Press.

    "I cannot say today that everything will have been completed in February," he added.

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  • Group to Create Rating System for Landscapes

    The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has been working with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas–Austin since 2005 to research environmentally friendly landscapes for building sites, parks, and public areas.

    In 2006, the U.S. Botanic Garden joined the effort, and now the group is going public with its Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI), a project to develop guidelines by 2009 and a rating system for landscapes by 2012.

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  • Monsanto’s rBGH Profits Down; More Dairies Go rBGH-Free

    Monsanto Company recently announced that profits from its genetically modified bovine growth hormone, Posilac, also known as rBGH, will fall 16% in 2007 due to “pressure in the dairy business,” according to chief financial officer, Terry Crews. >> Read the Full Article
  • Protecting Organic From GMO's - New Standards Proposed

    Baltimore, MD - A draft standard for verifying the non-GMO status of natural and organic foods was introduced at a meeting held at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore in September. The Board members of the Non-GMO Project, an industry initiative to verify the non-GMO status of natural and organic foods, discussed the draft non-GMO standard. >> Read the Full Article
  • Is Organic the Answer for Seafood?

    This commentary was authored by Rachel Hopkins, Communications Consultant, Pure Salmon Campaign and Urvashi Rangan, PhD, Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst, Consumers Union.

    Close to 20 years ago, the U.S. defined what organic means in the U.S. Organic Food Production Act of 1990, expressly written for food grown in the ground and animals raised on land.

    But as the organic movement has evolved into the organic industry, other products have started to carry erroneous “organic” claims. Enter the current debate raging in the U.S. regarding the development of “organic” standards for fish. The U.S. Department of Agriculture decided a couple years ago that wild fish are not eligible for the organic label because their living conditions are impossible to monitor and control.

     

     

     

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  • Tens of thousands trapped in Mexico floods

    VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Mexicans were trapped on rooftops and others clung to lampposts on Thursday after heavy rains flooded nearly the entire southern state of Tabasco.

    At least 500,000 people were made homeless and one person was killed in the worst flooding the swampy state has seen in more than 50 years.

    President Felipe Calderon said it was one of the worst natural disasters in Mexico's history.

    Television images showed rescue workers hauling people out turbulent, brown waters that rose as high as the roofs of houses. Children floated down a street in a plastic tub.

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  • Ol' McDonald had a Farm (Bill)

    For most of this year, Congress has been debating what to include in the 2007 Farm Bill, but there is still time for you to contact your legislators and have an influence. This opportunity to shape what food is grown, how it is grown, who grows it, and who can afford to eat it only comes around once every 5 years! Farm Bill policy is controversial and it helps to understand why. Food & Water Watch’s Farm Bill 101 provides an easy-to-read 1-page history of the development of farm bill policy. >> Read the Full Article
  • Organic gardens take root in Canada

    TORONTO (Reuters) - As climate change makes longer, drier summers a reality in many parts of the world, a new trend in landscaping is taking root in Canada.

    In Toronto, where precipitation levels were 52 percent below the seasonal average over the past six months, according to government data, residents are trading in their manicured lawns for environmentally friendly organic landscapes.

    "Irrigation is a huge issue as water is such a valuable resource," said Claire Suo-Cockerton of landscaping company Aesthetic Earthworks. "We are trying to plant material that is more appropriate today in our climate."

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Organic GardensTake Root in Canada

    TORONTO - As climate change makes longer, drier summers a reality in many parts of the world, a new trend in landscaping is taking root in Canada. In Toronto, where precipitation levels were 52 percent below the seasonal average over the past six months, according to government data, residents are trading in their manicured lawns for environmentally friendly organic landscapes. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cemeteries not just for the dead, say architects

    LONDON (Reuters) - Cemeteries should not just be for the dead but could become places of relaxation and exploration, a British architects' lobby group said on Wednesday. CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, said cemeteries were originally intended as public open spaces and, in some towns and cities, cemeteries account for up to half of the green open spaces. "Cemeteries should not be considered solely as resting places for the dead, they should be designed with the living in mind too," said CABE director Sarah Gaventa. >> Read the Full Article