Bridging the Disconnect – Schoolkids Learn about Growing Food

Editor’s Note:  The following article was published in the March-April 2017 issue of AgMag magazine.

The Science Academy of South Texas has a secret – a garden where students learn about growing food

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley used to mean being surrounded by citrus orchards and farmland. Today, residents are surrounded by strip malls, countless restaurants, pawn shops and automotive repair places, many reminiscent of junk yards.

“There’s a big disconnect between food producers and consumers,” said Brad Cowan, Texas A&M AgLife Extension Service‘s County Extension Agent – Agriculture, Hidalgo County.

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Will Costa Rica be the first carbon neutral country?

Costa Rica pic

Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, Costa Rica teams with biodiversity, stunning beauty and contradictions. With a national motto of “Pura Vida!”, it’s also committed to sustainability.

Costa Rica is striving to become the first nation certified carbon neutral by 2021. Currently it’s within twenty percent of achieving this, but must deal with some large challenges first.

Costa Rica, a country with a big vision, is also a country full of contradictions . To learn more about its sustainable tourism, its pesticide use, efforts in sea turtle conservation and its success with reforestation, click here.

Sustainability and Organic Valley – a successful business model

OV_FO_4clr

Known publicly as Organic Valley, the farmers cooperative organization CROPP has been steering with sustainable business practices for years. Founded in 1988, CROPP is the largest and most successful organic farmers cooperative in the U.S. Since its founding, the coop has grown to be a leader in organic production, marketing and farm policy.

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Search engine makes large strides planting trees in Africa

Drought in Africa

Deforestation and drought are issues that have become global problems. Nowhere is it more obvious than in Africa. Decades of drought have devastated parts of Burkina Faso, a country tucked between Nigeria, Mali, Senegal and Guinea in western Africa. Without water, neither people nor plants or animals have been able to survive, turning more and more of this once-fertile land into desert. Famine, disease and violent conflict have been just some of the overwhelming consequences.

But a special tree-planting method is allowing new trees to grow and survive. Continue reading

Toyota learns to let Nature take its course

Retention pond at Toyota's Mississippi plant  retention pond - now certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council as a Wildlife at Work program

Retention pond at Toyota’s Mississippi plant retention pond – now certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council as a Wildlife at Work program

Humans are wise to learn from Nature. Rather than insist on creating a picture perfect habitat, environmental specialists learned that letting Nature “win” has many rewards for wildlife.

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New report says shrimp in the Gulf are alright and growing?

Deformed shrimp taken from the Gulf of Mexico since the 2010 BP oil disaster

Deformed shrimp taken from the Gulf of Mexico since the 2010 BP oil disaster, photo by Keith Ladner

A new scientific report published Wednesday  that looked at the abundance and size of Louisiana white and brown shrimp before and after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, says that the amount of size of shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico and its local estuaries were unaffected. It’s authors noted that “shrimp populations have been predicted not to suffer dramatic effects as result of the spill.”

Seriously?

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Sustainable Foods Summit – a call for greater collaboration

Sustainable Foods Summit updated banner

The recent 2014 Sustainable Foods Summit that this writer attended in San Francisco was a remarkable and engaging two days. Over 160 senior executives debated key sustainability issues affecting the North American food industry. Ethical sourcing & biodiversity impacts, the role of sustainability metrics, and food ingredients for sustainability were some of the major themes covered.

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