UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World

Image: Nick Meyer | AltHealthWORKS

Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once against sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system.

That was the key point of a new publication from the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled“Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which included contributions from more than 60 experts around the world.

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Chipotle ad

Talk about seeing the future of their own brand and their target market. Fantastic, heartwarming ad. Love it. (Could have done without the Coldplay song though…)

Medicinal Herb Garden: Cold and Flu

Grow a medicinal herb garden to help alleviate cold and flu symptoms.

By Dorie Byers

llustration by Beverly Duncan

Let me put things into perspective.

Each day the global human population drinks: 5.2 billion gallons of water and eats 21 billion pounds of food

Each day the global cow population alone drinks: 45 billion gallons of water and eats 135 billion pounds of food.

85% of starving children live in countries where food is feed to animals, and the animals are fed to wealthier countries.
If we stopped breeding animals for food we would dramatically increase food available to starving people.


Interesting Grammys side-story of the night: The Verge's Joshua Topolsky made a couple of spare comments about Chipotle’s anti-factory-farming ad, which has been online for months but played during tonight’s Grammy Awards. What’s fascinating is the anger Topolsky drew for his animal-rights views and the fact that he didn’t take kindly to the fact that the ad glossed over the fact that Chipotle kills animals. The reaction to Topolsky’s pro-animal-rights comments brought out the trolls on Facebook and Twitter, with one commenter saying, “You are way out of your depth on this one! I’m having steak for dinner just to piss you off…” What do you think on sustainable farming and animal rights? And does the ad make you want to eat at Chipotle because they don’t use factory farming?

How to Build at Farm at a Museum: WORKac’s P.F.1 at PS1

Before MoMA PS1′s courtyard held Andrés Jaque’s COSMO, it played host to P.F.1 (Public Farm One) by WORKac. The New York-based firm won the prestigious Young Architects Program in 2008 with an urban farm concept that evokes the look of a flying carpet in the midst of landing. Constructed from large cardboard tubes, its top surface became a working farm, blooming with a variety of vegetables and plants. Acting as an interactive bridge between outside and inside, P.F.1 created multiple zones of activity, including swings, fans, sound effects, seating areas, and a pool at its center. At the end of the summer, its inexpensive components were broken down and fully recycled. Both Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation and WORKac will be participating in the Chicago Architecture Biennial this October. 

Hi Solarpunks! 

I just watched a documentary called “to make a farm” highlighting a few small, sustainable farms that run in Canada. It’s an independent film that was decently popular when it came out. I thought it presented an interesting reaction to industrial farming.

Some thoughts I had in relation to Solarpunk writing after watching it is that these smaller farms sometimes seemed isolated, and they faced immense difficulties as independent farms heavily relying on the grace of nature for a crop that would allow them to sustain themselves – I think Solarpunk farming would work better in a communal setting. Farmers could form clusters where they could help and support one another, both by sharing skills sets and knowledge, and by emotionally supporting one another.

It showed a really peaceful and practical reaction to industrial farming, which I liked. Some of the farmers featured in the film talked about how farming gave them peace and hope, and I think peace and hope should play big parts in the Solarpunk movement.

I would recommend giving it a watch – the cinematography is beautiful:


“Although organic agriculture often produces lower yields on land that has recently been farmed conventionally, it can outperform conventional practices—especially in times of drought—when the land has been farmed organically for a longer time,” said Reynolds, a researcher with Worldwatch’s Food and Agriculture Program. “Conventional agricultural practices often degrade the environment over both the long and short term through soil erosion, excessive water extraction, and biodiversity loss.” … Organic agriculture uses up to 50 percent less fossil fuel energy than conventional farming, and common organic practices—including rotating crops, applying mulch to empty fields, and maintaining perennial shrubs and trees on farms—also stabilize soils and improve water retention, thus reducing vulnerability to harsh weather patterns. On average, organic farms have 30 percent higher biodiversity, including birds, insects, and plants, than conventional farms do.

Best Staple Crops for Building Food Self-Sufficiency

Fill your pantry and boost your food security by growing these 10 space-efficient, calorie-rich staple crops that return high yields and store easily sans fossil fuels.

By Cindy Conner 

Photo By Jason Houston


Via Perennial Plate (some suggested ways to help here).

Apparently I am farmed and dangerous: But I am not a criminal. I’m a shepherd, farmer and writer who has been preserving rare Shropshire sheep for the last 12 years, and farming various other heritage breeds and vegetables for the last 30. Then the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) killed my…

So why am I sharing a link about sheeps, you ask? XD Stumbled onto this off a friend’s fb wall and thought it might be worth sharing. Montana Jones is a small time farmer who spent 12 years rearing an old breed of  grass-thriving sheep which has dwindled down in numbers in modern times because of the preference for grain-feeding sheeps. Unfortunately, her flock was destroyed in a rather heavy-handed law enforcement over a disease scare (which later were found to be negative), despite having forwarded proposals to compromise so she can at least keep some of her sheeps alive (as to preserve their genetic lineage). More info to be read here and here.

This in particular struck a note with me because she seems (at least to me) someone who genuinely cares about agricultural bio-diversity. A rare gem in a world where large agricultural corporations are the norm, and genetically enhanced/ modified livestock and produce are preferred and cultivated due to their higher profitable yields. My heart goes out to small farmers like these- more so when they’re trying so hard to breed and keep heritage breeds that may be better for the earth in the long run, but are slowly disappearing due to modern agriculture practices.

Caviar: The Best Eggs I've Ever Had for Breakfast

Katy Andersen, Gourmet Food Specialist, Lot18

I haven’t eaten eggs for breakfast in twenty years. It’s ironic, given that I grew up on a farm with free-to-roam chickens whose grub-and-worm diet produces some of the most luscious orange yolks in Pennsylvania (or so I’m told). Yes, I’ll eat eggs in things like cake batter, but even crème brûlée is a stretch.

Hypocrite or hedonist, I recently found reason to eat some eggs for breakfast. Two freshly packed tins of Tsar Nicoulai California Osetra Estate Caviar arrived one morning at our office via airmail, and I couldn’t wait to open them.

When I was able to source California caviar for our members, I spent a lot of time learning about this delicacy. Though I adore caviar, I didn’t know as much about it as I thought – the names alone sounded like Greek to me. While I savored spoonful by tiny spoonful, I jotted down some notes to share about this fascinating food.

The sturgeon is practically a dinosaur. Caviar is the name reserved for the roe – or eggs – found in the sturgeon, the common name used for roughly 27 species of fish. Long associated with feasts for Russian royalty, who consumed it with vodka and blinis, these caviar-producing fish actually predate the human race by about 250 million years. The sturgeon outlived dinosaurs. Literally.

Caviar names are not as mysterious as they seem. Sterlet. Osetra. Sevruga. No, this isn’t a Harry Potter spell. These names found on caviar tins refer to the type of sturgeon – the roe harvested from these female fish are named after their species. Beluga is the most expensive, sometimes reaching thousands of dollars per ounce.

You don’t need a castle to enjoy caviar at home. Throughout epicurean history, wild-harvested caviar has largely been reserved for those who could afford its extraordinarily extravagant price. Genghis Khan is recorded as having enjoyed it in 1280, as have Austrian emperors, Turkish khans, Russian tsars, and even Iranian shahs. Caviar still seems like one of those impossible foods, like foie gras, consumed in restaurants or not at all. I dream about eating these luxuries, but these imaginings have never taken place in the comfort of my own kitchen. However, due to American caviar pioneers like Tsar Nicoulai, caviar is now produced domestically and sold at a relatively attainable price. With the proper mother of pearl spoon and an icy glass dish, you can enjoy this delicacy at home.

Caviar can be a guilt-free food. While 27 species of foreign wild sturgeon are now endangered, the farmed, domestic American White Sturgeon is thriving. Fisheries in central California now harvest eggs from sturgeon raised in spring-filled ponds on vegetarian feed, without growth hormones or antibiotics. As the Wall Street Journal reported in the “The Great California Caviar Rush” in May, the breed is actually native to the Pacific Northwest for millions of years. It’s not only sustainably farmed, but also local!


Farmed caviar is delicious. Most farmed fish lacks the color and flavor of a wild, line-caught filet. And most culinary experiences with fish eggs involve tiny exploding tobiko or ikura atop special sushi rolls. Fortunately, farmed caviar is different from both experiences. Its creamy, oceanic flavor is absolutely delicious, and it is far richer and more intense than the brightly colored roe in sushi bars. Though the classic pairing is vodka, it’s also remarkable with Champagne