International Organics Weekly - Edition 70

This week's dose of organic headlines, updates, resources and recipes courtesy of dsnodgrass...


 

Yet another addition to the very long list of reasons to buy organic dairy products.

Want to Radically Slash the Methane Emissions of Dairy? Simple, Go Organic

The judge in that case has issued his decision, and it's a mixed bag. In essence, the judge appears to be aiming for a compromise position which looks to give farmers who are growing genetically modified sugar beets the time frame of a growing season to convert to non-gm crops.

Want to reduce methane emissions from dairy farming? Reminder: You should, in the US the greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy industry alone are about 2% of the nation's total. Just switching to organic methods instead of conventional intensive farming can make a big dent, not to mention improving the welfare of the animals.

According to a new report done by Soil Association for pointing it out), there are a number of of quantitative and qualitative benefits of organic dairy over conventional.

[...]

On the environmental impact, this is the stat that really caught my attention:

The cows in a conventional Holstein herd produce on average about 76% more methane emissions than do organically-raised Jerseys. Remember that methane is about 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The original report goes into much greater and broader detail comparing conventional and organic dairy, check it out: A Dairy Farm's Footprint: Evaluating the Impacts of Conventional and Organic Farming Systems [PDF]


 

A nice investment in the citizens of the Philippines...

Philippines: DA allots P900M for 2011 organic agriculture

The judge in that case has issued his decision, and it's a mixed bag. In essence, the judge appears to be aiming for a compromise position which looks to give farmers who are growing genetically modified sugar beets the time frame of a growing season to convert to non-gm crops.
The Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said it will allot an initial P900 million next year to boost the country’s organic agriculture program. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, in a speech during the 7th National Organic Agriculture Congress in Lucena City, said the money will be used to jumpstart the “Organic Agriculture Act of 2010" or Republic Act No. 10068. RA 10068 seeks to create the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB), a policy-making body that will provide direction and general guidelines for the implementation of the national organic agriculture program.

Alcala said the DA funding will help address major issues concerning the program including policy formulation and registration, accreditation, certification, and labeling; research and development; promotion; and program implementation and provision and delivery of support services to farmers and other stakeholders. Alcala authored RA 10068 when he was the representative of Quezon’s 2nd District during the 14th Congress.


 

...and a nice investment in the children of Oakland, CA.

Oakland Fresh brings organic produce to local schools

The judge in that case has issued his decision, and it's a mixed bag. In essence, the judge appears to be aiming for a compromise position which looks to give farmers who are growing genetically modified sugar beets the time frame of a growing season to convert to non-gm crops.

“No pushing please,” Mandisa Amber responded, as her tattooed arms worked to serve fresh fruit and vegetables yesterday to her hungry after-school customers. It was barely 3 p.m. at Hoover Elementary School in West Oakland, and the strawberries at the Tuesday farmers’ market were almost sold out.

Hoover is just one of 25 schools that are part of “Oakland Fresh,” a recent OUSD effort aimed at providing fresh, locally grown organic produce for parents to purchase when they pick their students up from school. The produce is purchased from eight local family farmers and produce distributors, and sold by parent volunteers like Amber every week.

[...]

In West Oakland, there is only one supermarket to serve more than 25,000 people. By contrast, neighborhood Rockridge has one grocery store for every 4,333 people, according to David Troutt, author of the book The Thin Redline: How the Poor Still Pay More.

With a short supply of full-service grocery stores that serve fresh produce, many West Oakland residents depend on more than 40 convenience stores for their food shopping. These convenience stores carry mostly canned and processed food, with plenty of candy, chips, liquor, and cigarettes stocked at eye leve.   Convenience stores prices are also typically set 30%-100% higher than prices in grocery stores.

“It’s important to educate families where they can find fresh and affordable food,” Amber said. “A lot of kids are coming to school hungry.  Many don’t know that the persimmons at the market are the same thing on their granny’s tree.”


 

Prince Charles is in the news a lot this week, here's a different angle.

Prince Charles Dishes Dirt (the Organic Kind)

The judge in that case has issued his decision, and it's a mixed bag. In essence, the judge appears to be aiming for a compromise position which looks to give farmers who are growing genetically modified sugar beets the time frame of a growing season to convert to non-gm crops.

The heir to the British throne prunes brambles with a hand sickle and empties buckets of compost in “Harmony,” a documentary on NBC that showcases Prince Charles’s pet environmental causes.

The film, made by the independent filmmakers Julie Bergman Sender and Stuart Sender, is part of a royal twofer being broadcast on Friday evening at 10 p.m. right after an hourlong interview with the NBC anchor Brian Williams, which Prince Charles gave in August and which focuses more intently on his marriages — and on his son William’s imminent one — than on biodiversity. In what looks like a quid pro prince, NBC agreed to broadcast “Harmony” as part of NBC Universal’s annual Green Week.

[...]

In the opening of “Harmony” Prince Charles explains his life’s work, saying, “I don’t want my grandchildren or yours to come along and say to me, ‘Why the hell didn’t you do something; you knew what the problem was.’ ” Viewers still immersed in royal-wedding fever may be a bit startled, wondering if he is talking about the decline of the British monarchy.

He is, in fact, talking about green energy sources and investing in sustainable agriculture. He gives a tour of the Duchy Home Farm, which he converted in 1986 to organic farming, noting that at the time it was “something that nobody really wanted to know about except a few people who thought it was pretty crazy.” He says it with a hint of told-you-so smugness, which is understandable given how the British tabloids painted him back then (tree-hugging kook).

There is even an archival clip, some 20 years old, of a young Prince Charles discussing the need for greater international cooperation with a young Al Gore, who was also mocked for his eco-passions before eventually receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.


Related Reading:

Agriculture is Key to Development - Why I (Partly) Disagree with Owen Barder
Strong Meat

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  • Posted on Nov. 19, 2010. Listed in:

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