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Survey explores why Americans garden, but not why they don’t

[Update 6/24/10: corrected heading for column 2 in table] With a terrible economy and lots of coverage of gardening in the mass media, more and more Americans are growing food in home and community gardens. According to a 2009 survey, almost a third of American households intended to grow food that year, a...

The USDA looks at local food

Every now and then, newspapers print an article that makes it seem like locavores are running the U.S. food system, throwing our weight around, causing Big Ag to cower in corners. If only we had even a small fraction of that power...  In reality, the local food movement is  a tiny piece of the nation's food...

The Marin Carbon Project studies carbon sequestration

Soil carbon sequestration — the process of converting gaseous carbon dioxide into carbon in the soil — offers a promising (and possibly necessary) route to addressing climate change because it could be a massive carbon sink. Indeed, a report by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change estimated that use of...

In search of the self-pollinating almond

Giving bees the brush-off:  California almonds, a multi-billion dollar crop, are almost completely dependent on honey bees for pollination. During the short pollination season, a significant fraction of the U.S. honeybee colonies are in the almond orchards — in 2004, for example, sixty percent of the 2.5...

Research shows possible connection between pesticide use and skin cancer

Health researchers have been unable to explain why several studies have found an excess risk of melanoma and other skin cancer for farmers. Farmers spend time in the sun — which is a major risk factor — but could it be something else? New research suggests that exposure to certain pesticides could be one of...

Why seafood wallet cards can be the wrong bait for consumers

Seafood guides and other consumer-based campaigns are an important part of the quest for sustainable seafood and healthy oceans, but so far they have not shown enough positive results: bigger efforts are needed. That’s the main conclusion of a new article, "Conserving wild fish in a sea of market-based...

What does asthma have to do with farm animals — or food?

When government officials hear the words "backyard livestock," they tend to worry about disease outbreaks and sanitation crises. And for good reason, as improperly managed animals — including dogs and cats — can be the source of all sorts of public health problems. When it comes to asthma, however, recent...

There Be Dragons: Examining the alternatives to unsustainable aquaculture fish feed

February 23, 2010 update: I discovered that the credit for the grasshopper photo was incorrect. The photo is actually from tazintosh's Flickr collection and the photo's Flickr page is here. My apologies to the photographer, who has a great collection of photos in his Flickr collection, including many other...

USDA funding university research on organic

Drop in the bucket: Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan yesterday announced that more than $19 million in grants have been awarded to universities across the country to solve critical organic agriculture issues. The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, administered by USDA's...

Flat world, fat world: Report from the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Symposium, part 1

By Nicole de Beaufort On September 21, 2009 in Minneapolis, a crowd of 300 people representing more than 30 disciplines gathered for a symposium hosted by the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute to discuss critical issues in research and policy related to food and health. They also ate very, very well....

New USDA report: 36% of farmers don’t have computers

Farm 2.0? Not so much: A report released Friday by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) tallies the numbers for farm computer usage for 2009. It finds: Only 64 percent of farms have access to a computer, leaving 36 percent with no computer access. 59 percent of all farms--so nearly all...

Do I dare to eat a peach? Not a conventional one, says Tribune study

Another day, another facet to the debate over whether organic produce is worth the extra moolah. Unless you've been living on a remote mountaintop with no wireless, you've probably witnessed the recent frenzy over a UK study [pdf] claiming that organic food has no nutritional benefits over conventional. The...

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