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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Compost – a Smart Way to Better Soil Health

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the December-January issue of AgMag magazine

Photo courtesy of normanack

Compost – a decaying mixture of organic matter that can include dead leaves, food waste, animal manure, even coffee grounds – is a solution to many soil-related problems.

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UK farmers may only have 100 more harvests unless they improve their soil

Poor soil quality could mean only 100 more harvests in the UK

Poor soil quality could mean only 100 more harvests in the UK

The idea of food scarcity just got a little more real in the United Kingdom. New research released by The Soil Association states that with continued soil loss and degradation, farmers in the UK may only have 100 more harvests left.

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Compost And Cover Crops Are Revolutionizing Wine Industry

Chateau Montelena's cover crop, photo by Debra Atlas

Award-winning winery Chateau Montelena’s cover crop is helping feed the soil and reduce water use, photo by Debra Atlas

Tradition is the foundation of the wine industry. Grapes are grown in an environment proven to nurture their flavor and volume and always as a single crop, never combined with others.

One of the world’s most unique winegrowing properties, Chateau Montelena, an award-winning winery founded in 1888 in the hills of Napa Valley California, is working to make wine growing more eco-friendly.

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How landfill waste inspired a symphony

Landfill waste turned into musical instruments for Recology's musical artist / composer Nathaniel Stookey

Landfill waste turned into musical instruments for Recology’s musical artist / composer Nathaniel Stookey

Music is the universal language. It soothes humans and animals alike. Its beauty inspires us, lifts us up. But what inspires composers to write their music?

Perhaps the last answer you’d ever consider would be trash. Yet that’s exactly what inspired composer Nathaniel Stookey to write his symphony, aptly named Junkestra.

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Make Art, Not Landfill: Recology’s Artist in Residence Program Turns 25

Carnival Masks by Dana Albany are featured in the Recology exhibit

Carnival Masks by Dana Albany – made of wood, recycled paint and objects found at the landfill – were featured in a Recology exhibit at San Francisco Airport in 2013

25 years is an amazing anniversary to reach, but even more so for anything related to art made from landfill waste. If that statement doesn’t make sense to you, you don’t know about Recology and/or its Artist in Residence program, which turns 25 this year.

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Soaking Up Soil Conservation: Saving Water In The Face Of Drought

photo courtesy of normanack

photo courtesy of normanack

Water availability with the continuing drought has become a global issue.

Research shows that one of the easiest ways to nurture land, help the environment and have the land retain water is soil conservation through composting – turning food waste and yard scraps into usable garden soil that’s then applied to various landscapes.

To learn more about compost’s remarkable ability to save tens of thousands of gallons of water and help alleviate the drought, click here.