Currently Browsing: Farming

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...

Just in time for the census: 2 more farmers

Four years ago, I was a single vegetarian pursuing a communications career. Now, I am a married omnivore beginning farmer. Eggs were my gateway food. I began buying them from the farmers market when I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to be closer to my husband-to-be. My favorite dozens came from a two-woman...

A focus on fish meal and subsidies can help the oceans

This is part 3 of a series on improving market-based seafood sustainability initiatives, inspired by a recent article published by an international team of researchers in "Oryx: The International Journal of Conservation." (See Oryx volume 44, pp. 45-56 doi:10.1017/S0030605309990470. Summaries available from...

Aquaponics in the S.F. Bay Area

Getting hooked on aquaponics: Aquaponics — the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture — can be a great way to grow food in a small space, with little water and at low cost. In the S.F. Bay Area, a few organizations are building and selling systems. The Oakland-based company Kijiji Grows (kijiji is...

The ‘femivore’: New breed of feminist, or frontier throwback?

Cross-posted from Grist, where I am serving as deputy food editor (part time). Have locavores and feminists -- factions that a few years ago, some bloggers believed to be fundamentally at odds -- become allies? That's what Peggy Orenstein suggests in her essay, "The Femivore's Dilemma," for today's New York...

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...

Here’s the catch: More sustainable seafood requires exerting pressure up the supply chain

This is part 2 of a series on improving market-based seafood sustainability initiatives, inspired by a recent article published by an international team of researchers in "Oryx: The International Journal of Conservation." (See Oryx volume 44, pp. 45-56 doi:10.1017/S0030605309990470. Summaries available from...

The manurification of America

A perfect shitstorm: On some farms, animal manure can be a valuable asset, a way to improve the soil in the fields. But for today's massive factory farms — and, increasingly, the nation's air and waterways — manure is a huge liability, reports the Post's David A. Fahrenthold. Decomposing manure from factory...

Manure digesters clash with air quality requirements

Cracking down on methane labs: When animal manure decomposes, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide (on a mass basis). To avoid these emissions, some are installing manure digesters, in which bacteria convert the waste to methane gas. The methane is then burned in an...

Fertilizer overuse can acidify soil

Another reason to dislike the N-word: Fertilizer overuse creates many problems, like aquatic dead zones, resource depletion and blue-baby syndrome. One impact that has been mostly out of sight is soil acidification. A group of scientists from China, the UK and the US has been examining soil in China, where...

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...

Grow-hio: Midwestern farmers rely on Eliot Coleman’s advice for cold-weather farming

As winter approaches, even the most knowledgeable of local-foods-loving shoppers have wondered what fresh produce they will find over the winter months, and the opening of a year-round market here in Wooster has only increased the frequency of that musing. Happily, I can point to a handful of our producer...

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