Corbyn is great – but the Greens are different! – The Ecologist (blog)

Corbyn is great – but the Greens are different!
The Ecologist (blog)
We need to kick our addiction to fossil fuels and chemical-based fertilizers; we need to invest massively in permaculture, agroforestry, organic farming and above all in agroecology. We need to end the absurd subsidies for mega-farmers who are wrecking

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Warm, dry conditions bring early harvests and uncertainty to local farmers … – The Bozeman Daily Chronicle


The Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Warm, dry conditions bring early harvests and uncertainty to local farmers
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Bruce Maxwell has been an agroecology professor at Montana State University for more than 20 years studying grain production and the various factors affecting it — like fertilizer, weeds and, more recently, climatic factors. He said this year is ahead

Climate Change and Agriculture Conference in Costa Rica – The Costa Rica Star


The Tico Times

Climate Change and Agriculture Conference in Costa Rica
The Costa Rica Star
… the growing global push for so-called “Sustainable Intensification” based on GMOs and the increased use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, and to promote the multifunctional benefits of regenerative forms of agriculture such as agro-ecology
Fix the Soil, Feed the Planet, Save the World: The Power of Regeneration eNews Park Forest



all 2 news articles »

Are You Paying Too Much For Organic Food? – Yahoo Food


Yahoo Food

Are You Paying Too Much For Organic Food?
Yahoo Food
While organic farms spend significantly more on labor, they often spend much less on pesticides and fertilizers than their conventional counterparts, explains John Reganold, study-co-author and WSU professor of soil science and agroecology. The

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The Cutting Edge Method for Producing Food Just Might Be the Old Method for … – VICE News

The Cutting Edge Method for Producing Food Just Might Be the Old Method for
VICE News
Going against grain, though, are proponents of agroecology, which emphasizes growing many crops simultaneously, on smaller plots of land, without expensive chemistry. Rather than fertilizers, proponents of the practice use cover crops, such as arugula, …

Report from the Field | Quintana Roo

CAN Associate Director Heather Putnam recently visited the Zona Maya in Quintana Roo, Mexico to meet with women’s groups working with CAN and the Intercultural Maya University of Quintana Roo (UIMQRoo) to improve household food security and sovereignty in a two year project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Here is her report from the field.

I traveled with Robin Pacheco, a project field technician, and three UIMQRoo students working in the field, to four of the six rural communities we are working with in the Zona Maya. The goal of the collaborative project between CAN and UIMQRoo is to improve household food security and nutrition by promoting increased production diversity (more vegetables and protein sources) and income diversification.  The project team on the ground make up of professors, field technicians, and students works directly with small groups of indigenous Maya women in the communities to strengthen traditional and agroecological food production practices, establish direct market channels between the women’s groups and local and regional venues like restaurants and markets, and also to ensure the long-term sustainability of the women’s groups themselves to operate these enterprises.

Our first stop was the community of Kancabchen, a community that was recently integrated into the project in October 2014. The eight women there established their vegetable gardens in October, and have now expanded their home production from yams, beans, and tomatoes to include habanero chile, green chiles, Maya squash, cilantro, radishes, and cucumbers. They told me that they were happy to have these products available right behind their houses for their families’ tables. Lidia Moo Poot, the president of the women’s organization, told me “Now we can have confidence in what we eat and what it contains. Our children will grow up healthier.”

The women were were excited to have participated for the first time the previous Saturday in the monthly tianguis, or farmers market, organized by UIMQRoo in José Mariá Morelos , where they enjoyed telling consumers there about their agroecologically grown produce. The women are looking forward to getting more training in the production of organic fertilizers, and to completing the fences around their gardens to keep animals out. One challenge that is worrisome is the unseasonal drought that is affecting production; the rains should have arrived in the middle of March, but as of the end of April still had not. We talked about the need to install water catchment systems to ensure that families could continue to produce diverse nutritious foods throughout the year, even as climate change brings more seasonal drought.

I also visited the communities of Candelaria, Bulukax, and Tabasco and spoke with the women’s groups there. The women in Candelaria are expanding their chicken and egg production through the project and are anticipating have enough hens producing enough eggs to bring to market in about six months. In the meantime they will be working with the team at UIMQRoo to establish relationships with buyers who will value the organic production and healthiness of their eggs.  In Bulukax and Tabasco my conversations with the women’s groups were dominated by their worries about water — they are affected not only by the drought, but by salty groundwater or chlorinated municipal water, both unfit for irrigation.  These conversations only reinforced by understanding of the urgency of focusing on ways to improve water access; any changes we hope to make in increasing the availability of healthy and nutritious foods year round will depend on water.

CAN Youth Network Capacity Building Exchange

April 13-19, 2015: Nicaragua

The first internal capacity building exchange of CAN’s network this year took place the week of April 13-19, 2015.  More than 25 women and youth leaders from CAN’s partner organizations VIDA AC in Veracruz, Mexico, PRODECOOP and CII-ASDENIC in Las Segovias, Nicaragua, and the UCA San Ramón in San Ramón, Nicaragua joined together for 7 days of exchange and training. The aim was to build skills and knowledge around building sustainable food systems in coffee-growing communities. The exchange, which included activities in both San Ramón and Las Segovias, Nicaragua, built on the themes covered during the Intercambio event held in Santa Cruz, California in February 2015. The exchange included workshops and activities related to the topics of:

  • building artisanal water cisterns for water catchment and storage;
  • making organic fertilizers like effective microorganisms, biomineral applications, and other soil fertility preparations to help combat la roya agroecologically;
  • women-led rural enterprises, including the experience of the women’s coffee-roasting business and women’s café in San Ramon;
  • crop diversification in coffee forests;
  • natural medicine using garden plants; and
  • community-based rural tourism experiences.

Important outcomes of the exchange included 12 cooperative youth leaders trained in the construction of artisanal water cisterns; more than 20 women trained in making natural medicines from plants found in home gardens; increased knowledge of the potentials of community-based rural tourism, coffee-forest diversification, and innovative soil fertility techniques in building resilient families and communities.

An early outcome of this exchange was the drafting of a resolution consolidating the group’s commitment to agroecological coffee as a sustainable food system, with the following collective objectives identified:

  1. Initiate a dialogue about the definition of Agroecological Coffee;
  2. Receive feedback and support from CAN to generate a collective identity regarding an Agroecological Coffee Farmer;
  3. Analyze the importance of an Participatory Agroecological Certification as a strategy to strengthen the organizations and communities we work with; and
  4. Analyze the idea of creating a collective brand of women’s coffee to promote the economic empowerment of women.

Our partners have specifically requested CAN’s accompaniment in reaching these objectives. CAN is excited to support the furthering of these objectives that will benefit thousands of smallholder coffee growing families in Nicaragua and Mexico.

The Issues Surrounding Genetically Modified Foods – NDTV


NDTV

The Issues Surrounding Genetically Modified Foods
NDTV
And it's been adequately demonstrated that crop rotation, the use of organic fertilizers, interplanting of varieties of crops, and other ecologically informed techniques commonly grouped together under the term “agroecology” can effectively reduce the

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Report from Veracruz, Mexico

3 February 2015: The coffee leaf rust (la roya) has reached the Central Highlands of Veracruz, Mexico and small-scale coffee farming families are working to quickly respond to the blight before it further impacts their livelihoods. As the Mexican government promotes a host of new agrochemicals, CAN’s partner VIDA A.C. is steadfast in its promotion of agroecological practices to replant coffee fields and is distributing seeds of the Geisha varietal, which is tolerant of leaf rust and also considered to be of excellent quality among coffee buyers. Geisha is hailed by specialty coffee roasters around the world as a vibrant cup with distinct notes of jasmine and bergamot; however, on-farm processing is crucial to achieving its famed profile.

During the last week of January 2015, AgroEco® coffee producers in Veracruz attended a three-day course on the improvement of on-farm coffee processing practices for export standards. Led by Engineer Clemente Santiago Paz—former organic certifier for CertiMex—this workshop highlighted the importance of quality control at every step of the process from picking to fermentation.

Suraya Arlsan, Technology Trainer for this year’s Youth Leadership & Food Sovereignty Project (YLFS) evaluation, is currently in the region with our partner VIDA, A.C. In addition to attending workshops with coffee producers, she is working to train VIDA, A.C. staff and youth leaders in CAN’s Youth Leadership & Food Sovereignty Project in the use of portable tablets and Excel in data collection, to improve youth leaders’ capacity to monitor changes in their communities. The group is working to create uniform and accessible definitions for fertilizer and soil conservation practices in order to increase the accuracy and consistency of the data collected this year. In the process, they are increasing their knowledge of methods that could further the health of the soil and in turn, producer families’ livelihoods. The data collected by youth leaders in the annual evaluation will work to identify the strengths of the beneficiary families as well as the areas where CAN and VIDA A.C.can further support them as they face the additional threat of la roya.

Coffee co-operatives championing grassroots sustainability in Nicaragua – The Guardian

Coffee co-operatives championing grassroots sustainability in Nicaragua
The Guardian
Agro-ecology: Farmers at the Danilo González co-operative are experimenting with a novel bio-fertilizer based on decomposed leaves mixed with molasses sugar, ground rice, grass and water. The mixture is left for a month to ferment before cow manure and …

Keep food safety rules fair

Food safety matters to us all, and we all play a role in keeping food safe — from farm to fork. With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalizing new food safety rules, it's critical for farmers and eaters alike to speak up and ensure the agency gets these rules right.

As our friends from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) point out, provisions in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) — if done wrong — run the risk of "putting farmers out of business, limiting consumer choice, and increasing the use of chemicals rather than natural fertilizers."

read more

Even this organic advocate thinks African farmers need herbicide – Genetic Literacy Project

Even this organic advocate thinks African farmers need herbicide
Genetic Literacy Project
Why aren't agroecological techniques farming spreading faster among poor farmers? If you are a farmer in the rural part of an undeveloped country, where it's hard to get synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds, it only makes

Even this organic advocate thinks African farmers need herbicide – Grist


Grist

Even this organic advocate thinks African farmers need herbicide
Grist
Why aren't agroecological techniques farming spreading faster among poor farmers? If you are a farmer in the rural part of an undeveloped country, where it's hard to get synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds, it only makes

Critics of Gates’ ag programs bring the battle to Seattle – The Seattle Times

Critics of Gates' ag programs bring the battle to Seattle
The Seattle Times
During a recent drought, neighbors who relied on chemical fertilizer lost most of their crops, while she reaped a bounty of sorghum, corn and millet using what are called agroecological methods — natural pest control, organic fertilizer and locally

Farmers Scaling Up Agroecological Solutions – Live Trading News


Live Trading News

Farmers Scaling Up Agroecological Solutions
Live Trading News
Farmers in Central America are using agroecological methods including contour cropping to conserve water, planting leguminous cover crops that provide a natural source of fertilizer for maize and cacao, and incorporating trees to increase resistance to …

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XV Annual International Agroecology Shortcourse | La Pita Community Visit Wrap-Up


La Pita Community Visit Wrap-Up

Our two-day visit to Denis Guiterrez Cooperative in the community of La Pita felt as though we had traveled to another world where campesino families opened their homes and their lives to us. Steve (Gliessman) and I had been here 18 months ago with the AgroEco® Coffee Tour and we were so impressed with the multitude of changes that have taken place since then. The crisis of “la roya” killing the coffee plants has deepened, but the community is responding with resilience. Not only are they replanting their coffee parcels, but the women’s group is making their own fertilizer to rebuild the soil. As part of CAN’s Food Security Project, youth leaders are working with the women’s group to plant home gardens to feed the families and to sell extra produce in a monthly Farmers Market.

There is a feeling of hope growing in La Pita as the families are improving their land and diversifying their crops and their income sources.

See photos.

 

XV International Agroecology Shortcourse | Trip to La Pita


The La Pita Landscape

From a hill in the center of the community, one sees the landscape management. The top of the mountain is maintained as a reserve. In La Pita you can hear howler monkeys and many birds. Below the reserve the community grows corn and beans in family parcels. Coffee is grown below the trees surrounding the community. There is a two-room primary school that all of the children from pre-school through grade 6 attend. See photos.

The Heart of the Story — and a Hope as Well

La roya,” coffee rust, began showing up in the coffee parcels in significant amounts in 2012. It is throughout Nicaragua and much of Central America. When Steve (Gliessman) and I were in La Pita in February 2013 (with the AgroEco® Coffee Tour) we saw many plants infected and losing their leaves. There was still coffee harvest that year, but it was less than the normal amount. Farmers were hoping it would be contained and were not sure what to do. Now almost all the coffee plants we saw were dead. Coffee is the main source of income for the families of La Pita.

Without the coffee what are the impacts for the family, for the community, for the UCA, for the region ….? The women’s group has learned how to make home-made fertilizer with several goals: using them to renovate the coffee parcels as they prepare to plant them again; using them in their home gardens; and potentially selling them. The fertilizer is a mixture of minerals, forest fungus, forest soil, flour, and molasses. During our group’s visit, we joined the women’s group, along with Don Pedro and Juan Pablo, in making the fertilizer. It will be used in both the gardens and the coffee parcels. The farmers are very inspired by this process — both improving the soil with their own hands and saving a lot of money by making the fertilizers themselves. Don Pedro said, “When CAN first came to us, they told us we had everything in our own hands to move ahead. We’ve found out that we really do.”

See photos.

Womens’ Gardens

When we were here in February 2013 with the AgroEco® Coffee Tour, there were no home gardens in La Pita. Farmers had their coffee parcels, many with fruit trees integrated to provide shade for the coffee and bananas, citrus, avocados, etc to eat. As part of CAN’s collaboration with the UCA and the families of La Pita there are now seven home gardens in La Pita plus a garden at the school. (This is part of a larger project with participants in other cooperatives in Nicaragua and coffee farmers in Mexico funded by Kuerig-Green Mountain Beverage Co.) As part of the project, Bismarck was selected as the youth leader to work on the developing of the gardens in La Pita. He receives training and participates in CAN’s annual international intecambio (exchange) among the youth leaders. The effort to establish the gardens comes at a critical time. Food from the garden is feeding families at a time when they have hardly any money to purchase essentials. See photos.

Inexpensive solutions still outperform GMOs – Boston Globe


The Chattanoogan

Inexpensive solutions still outperform GMOs
Boston Globe
Moreover, there are no successful GMOs to reduce nitrogen pollution from fertilizers, which contribute to climate emissions and dead zones, while breeding has improved nitrogen use efficiency. Agroecology can reduce nitrogen pollution by 40 to 70
Worldwide March Against Monsanto CounterCurrents.org


The Whole World – Including San Diego – Is Marching Against Monsanto OB Rag
Over 50 countries ready for Monsanto' planned march spyghana.com
Sonoma County Gazette
all 119 news articles »

More Herbicide, or More Innovative, Sustainable Farming? – The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)

More Herbicide, or More Innovative, Sustainable Farming?
The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)
These methods, collectively called agroecology, are not only more resilient to pest resistance, but also to climate change. They also can greatly reduce pollution from fertilizers, climate change emissions, and help maintain biodiversity, as we laid

Distributing seeds, fertilizer and pesticides to poor farmers is OUT … – Oxfam America

Distributing seeds, fertilizer and pesticides to poor farmers is OUT
Oxfam America
Agroecology enables us to grow food in ways that cut emissions, create more resilient landscapes, and ensure ample yields – all while reducing the use of non-renewable resources. Gina Castillo is the Agriculture Program Manager at Oxfam America.

5 Things You Need To Know About Climate Change and Our Food System – Care2.com

5 Things You Need To Know About Climate Change and Our Food System
Care2.com
Agroecology is the path toward community-controlled agriculture, rooted in farmers' and fishermen's traditional practices that do not require the harsh chemical-laden pesticides and fertilizers and replenish the earth rather than extract from it. To

Healthy Farms Need Focus on Biodiversity over Fertilizers, Researchers Say – Nature World News


Nature World News

Healthy Farms Need Focus on Biodiversity over Fertilizers, Researchers Say
Nature World News
Scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre report that farmers in Africa must avoid over dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase overall food production, a key step in ensuring Africans have enough to eat. Pictured is Rose

African Farmers Urged To Use Organic Fertilizers To Improve Yields – Coastweek

African Farmers Urged To Use Organic Fertilizers To Improve Yields
Coastweek
According to scientists from the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), intensification (growing more food on the same size of land) is key to increasing food production in Africa to meet the needs of an ever-growing population. “Crop

Crop intensification and organic fertilizers can be a long-term solution to … – EurekAlert (press release)

Crop intensification and organic fertilizers can be a long-term solution to
EurekAlert (press release)
According to scientists at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), crop production in Africa is seriously hampered by the degradation of soil fertility, water and biodiversity resources. Currently, yields for important cereals such as maize have

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News from the Field | San Ramón, Nicaragua


San Ramón, Nicaragua: In early February, the Denis Gutierrez cooperative and the women’s group in La Pita participated in an exchange with a sesame and coffee cooperative and related women’s group in Achuapa, Nicaragua. The goal of the exchange was two-fold: (1) to learn from the experience of this cooperative in collective fertilizer-making; and (2) to learn from the experience of the women’s group in promoting women’s collective and individual rural enterprises.

Following the exchange in Achuapa, the La Pita women’s group met and discussed their ideas for developing a collective fertilizer-making initiative that would serve the dual purpose of putting economic power in the women’s hands, and of improving soil fertility.  The cooperative is beginning its efforts to replant 8.4 hectares (about 12 manzanas) of coffee destroyed by the coffee leaf rust (la roya) and accompanying anthracnose infestations that have plagued Central America as a whole over the past two years.  The cooperative’s efforts and the support of the UCA San Ramón Cooperative are critical at this point in time. Although the Nicaraguan government has launched a coffee renovation program aimed at helping smallholder coffee farmers replant up to 0.7 hectares (1 manzana) of coffee, at the same time, there is a seed shortage that is affecting the reach of the program and of the coffee renovation efforts in general in the country.  Furthermore, the government program provides cash to farmers to cover some of the costs of inputs, but not all necessary inputs. This is particularly challenging because farmers in times of crisis are more likely to invest the cash in necessities, such as food for their families.  Thus the decision of the women’s group in La Pita to develop a collective organic fertilizer-making business that they own and run, together with the coffee seed provided by the UCA San Ramón, will fill a large need in the cooperative.  Of the 12 manzanas of coffee to be replanted by cooperative members, about half of those will be specifically dedicated to agroecological management. This is an experimental model that the farmers themselves have proposed.  The women plan to produce both bocacchi fertilizer and foliar fertilizers to benefit the agroecologically-grown coffee. 

CAN and our partner Ético: The Ethical Trading Company, Ltd met with the Denis Gutierrez Cooperative and the La Pita women’s group on February 7, 2014 to hear their plans and support their development. The women want to develop a model in which they collectively produce organic fertilizers, which they then sell to the cooperative members (13 men and two women). The cooperative members will use the Sustainable Agriculture Fund, which is built directly into the price paid to the cooperative for AgroEco® Coffee, to pay the women’s group for the fertilizer according to the going price for fertilizer. In this way, the Sustainable Agriculture Fund, which is 5% of the AgroEco® Coffee price, will incentivize agroecological coffee production in La Pita, as well as strengthen family livelihoods in the entire community of La Pita. The next steps for the women’s group and the cooperative include a workshop on February 26–27 to develop a detailed business plan, budget, and work plan for developing the fertilizer business, as well as formalizing the women’s group with a name for the group.

In the meeting with the cooperative on February 7, Heather Putnam of CAN also presented a proposal for the annual purchase of AgroEco® Coffee from the cooperative.  The cooperative unanimously approved the following price proposal, which includes investment in the Sustainable Agriculture Fund and the Fund for the Recognition of the Unpaid Work of Women. The proposal also offers a price well above that of Fair Trade Organic certified coffee, recognizing the high production costs that small farmers assume.

UCA San Ramón, San Ramón, Nicaragua Proposed 2014 breakdown
TOTAL purchase price to UCA San Ramón per lb $2.20 100%
CECOCAFEN Commercialization $0.09 4%
Milling & Processing  $0.10 4%
Municipal Taxes (1%) $0.02 1%
UCA San Ramón Administrative Costs $0.11 5%
Fund for the Unpaid Work of Women $0.10 5%
Sustainable Agriculture Fund $0.10 5%
Price paid to farmer  $1.69 77%

 

Agroforestry can be a long-term solution to food shortage in Africa – spyghana.com

Agroforestry can be a long-term solution to food shortage in Africa
spyghana.com
The article outlines how agroforestry practices involving the use of legumes in rotations or intercrops can restore soil nutrients by fixing nitrogen, improving soil organic matter and reducing reliance on fertilizer use. “Closing the yield gap – the

Agroforestry can be a long-term solution to food shortage in Africa – SpyGhana.com – spyghana.com

Agroforestry can be a long-term solution to food shortage in Africa – SpyGhana.com
spyghana.com
The article outlines how agroforestry practices involving the use of legumes in rotations or intercrops can restore soil nutrients by fixing nitrogen, improving soil organic matter and reducing reliance on fertilizer use. “Closing the yield gap – the

Healthy Soil, Healthy Coffee | Report from La Pita


Update prepared by Rachel Lindsay from ETICO The Ethical Trading Company and Heather Putnam, CAN

In La Pita (Nicaragua), the farmers of the Denis Gutierrez Cooperative who produce CAN’s AgroEco® coffee have had 80% of their coffee fields affected by the coffee leaf rust blight (la roya).  Cooperative members of the Denis Gutierrez Cooperative, with allies from the Union of Cooperatives in San Ramón, CAN, and ETICO-The Ethical Trading Company, have identified the strategy of improving soil fertility as critical to rebuilding coffee production and increasing coffee plant resistance to the ongoing threat of la roya and related plagues. 

The first steps in fulfilling this strategy is to first know what the soil needs, and then to produce organic fertilizers that address mineral deficiencies identified in soil testing.  On January 17-18, 2014, the 15 members of the Denis Gutierrez Cooperative, together with women and youth from the cooperative, participated in a two-day workshop on chromatography soil testing, a simple methodology that can produce reliable profiles of soil minerals, with limited resources. 

 The  workshop, facilitated by visionary Nicaraguan coffee farmer Byron Corrales, began with a group brainstorming of the problems with coffee production in La Pita after the economic crisis and the ecological crisis created by the agrochemical companies. Then, farmers brainstormed what the necessary elements are for healthy soil and healthy coffee production. We then collected soil samples, as well as samples of leaf cover from the forest to later make into a mycorrhiza* fertilizer, working in the cooperative’s primary school classroom until late that evening preparing the samples and the laboratory for the chromotography tests to be done the next day. 

The next day, we prepared the chromatograms, mixing the soil with solution, applying the solution to the papers, and then leaving the tests in the sun at least a half hour so that all of the colors could develop. Byron demonstrated how to read the tests, which are effectively “photos” of the soil and its properties, and we saw that some samples demonstrated an abundance of minerals, while other samples were mineral-poor; all samples showed low levels of biological processes and energy, which means that the plants are not able to absorb the minerals that are in the soil. 

Using material gathered the previous day from the forest, we looked at beneficial mushrooms, mycrorrhizae and spores, and coffee leaf rust spores under a microscope, before turning to the making of the  mycorrhiza fertilizer using forest leaf litter.  First we sterilized soil by heating it over a fire, and then innoculated it with mycorrhyzae and also added some corn seed.  We also saw a sample of what the final product would look like after one month of fermentation, and we applied it to the soil under the fruit trees in the patio of the school house.  Finally, we saw a video of how mycorrhyza is used in Colombia in plant nurseries and coffee plantations.  Overall, the two days were an incredible learning experience, encompassing everything from soil testing to fertilizer making to the observation of microorganisms under a microscope.  As Byron Corrales said at the end of the workshop, “everyone has to sharpen their machetes now to put into practice everything they have learned about restoring, remineralizing, and protecting their soils so that the plants can grow healthy and productive.” 

This two-day workshop is only the beginning of the Denis Gutierrez’s journey to improve its soil fertility so that it can restore its coffee fields and improve its members’ home garden production.  The next step is a two-day visit and exchange to Achuapa in Leon state to learn about a cooperative-scale fertilizer-making operation there, the local women’s economic initiative group, and a model farm owned by the cooperative there. From there cooperative members will receive one more workshop from Byron Corrales in February focused on tmaking other types of fertilizers, and on how to start coffee seedlings with seeds inoculated with mycorrhyzae. In early February, CAN, the UCA San Ramón, and ETICO will meet again with the Denis Gutierrez Cooperative to decide how the cooperative wants to implement the newly learned technologies and what kinds of support it needs to do so at a scale that will benefit both its coffee fields and its home gardens. 

Photo credit: Rachel Lindsay / Social Business Network

 

Tianguis Agroecological (Farmers Market) Quintana Roo, Mexico


CAN proudly announces two firsts in the following update: the first time the women’s group is selling their produce in a  farmers market AND the first market for this project. Please read on.

Susanne Kissmann reports from Quintana Roo, Mexico

We had at least nine different producers participate in the farmers market, including the women from the Tabasco Women’s Group and the cooperative from Chacsinkin, Yucatan. The growers sold most of their produce (no chemicals or fertilizers), and really appreciated the event.

Maricela lead the effort, with excellent help from the project team (professors and students) and the  University support staff. Planning ahead for next year, professors from UIMQRoo are organizing alternative markets that include music, culture, workshops and more. This will be an excellent place to continue with our participation.

We have learned a lot throughout the process of developing alternative markets and are positioned to move forward with this work. We also have made a new contact, a group in Puerto Morelos (somoslibertaria.wordpress.com). This group has years of experience in organizing alternative markets in the state.

Photo caption: Chancellor of UIMQRoo (Dr. Francisco J. Rosado May) , and a student from the Agroecology major, that facilitated the event (Zalma Nacira Cauich Ucán), during the inauguration of the First Agroecological Tianguis, “Revaluing the heritage of our people,” in the central park of José María Morelos, Quintana Roo, México. Behind them the promotional poster can be seen.  Dec 7, 2013. Photo: Héctor Cálix de Dios

 

 

Update from La Pita, Nicaragua


La Pita, December 11, 2013

The gardens are in post-harvest season, which means that there is not much being harvested, but other activities are definitely happening in the eight La Pita gardens: the gardeners have all left some celery plants unharvested so that they can experiment with letting the plants flower so that they can potentially harvest seed. Everyone is very excited to see how the experiment works out, as currently celery seed is not harvested nor conserved. 

The second activity that is currently happening is seed germination, mainly for carrots and lettuce, for harvest and consumption in a few months, after the coffee harvest and before the main garden planting season in April–May, when the rains come again.

The last farmers market is happening in San Ramón this Friday (December 13). The women are all excited to bring the last of their celery (it appears that it was a hit at the last farmers market during the height of the celery season), their root vegetables, and their vine fruits that are produced around and outside the formal gardens.

The gardens’ importance is even more critical this year than last, as the cooperative in La Pita has suffered increased damage from the coffee leaf rust (la roya) infestation and especially the secondary infestation of Anthracnose. Eighty percent (80%) of its coffee fields are now dead or unproductive this year.

The increased income from the sale of produce, and the improved availability of fresh and varied fruits and vegetables, mean that families can use precious income for other critical needs, like school supplies and medicines.
In the meantime, CAN and the cooperative together are exploring different agroecological strategies for supporting coffee renovation with increased soil fertility. In January, we will be performing soil analyses on different plots in the cooperative to assess nutrient needs, and a delegation of men, women, and youth from the community will visit a cooperative in Achuapa, Leon, to learn from their experience managing a collective organic fertilizer production plant.

 

Breakfast @ Tuoitrenews – November 9 | Tuổi Trẻ news – Tuoitrenews

Breakfast @ Tuoitrenews – November 9 | Tuổi Trẻ news
Tuoitrenews
southern city of Can Tho City, with 450 booths highlighting domestic and foreign products, including machinery, farming tools, production lines, processed products, fertilizers, animal feed, agro-forestry products, seafood, seeds, and traditional

and more »

Industrialized agriculture brings change in Turkey

We’ve all heard versions of the story, and many of us have relatives or ancestors who were a part of it. Small farmers, the story goes, are being squeezed out of business by large-scale, “industrial agricultural” corporations. Forced to buy patented, more expensive but higher-yielding hybrid seeds and the fertilizer and pesticides they require from multinational conglomerates, farmers harvest larger crops but at the price of rising debt. It is sometimes portrayed as a David and Goliath morality play — with Goliath winning — but the reality is much more complicated.

Peasant Farming, Food Security and Agroecology – Center for Research on Globalization

Peasant Farming, Food Security and Agroecology
Center for Research on Globalization
La Vía Campesina, GRAIN and ETC welcome a new UNCTAD report which states that farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for 

India’s first rural reality show on Radio Bundelkhand paves way for organic … – Business Standard

India's first rural reality show on Radio Bundelkhand paves way for organic
Business Standard
Conducted on Radio Bundelkhand – a community radio based in Orchha, this competition had 186 teams across 100 villages implement climate change adaptation practices like organic fertilizers, agroforestry and rainwater harvesting. Prakash's team took

and more »

India’s first rural reality show on Radio Bundelkhand paves way for organic … – Newstrack India

India's first rural reality show on Radio Bundelkhand paves way for organic
Newstrack India
Conducted on Radio Bundelkhand – a community radio based in Orchha, this competition had 186 teams across 100 villages implement climate change adaptation practices like organic fertilizers, agroforestry and rainwater harvesting. Prakash's team took

and more »

India’s first rural reality show on Radio Bundelkhand paves way for organic … – ANINEWS

India's first rural reality show on Radio Bundelkhand paves way for organic
ANINEWS
Conducted on Radio Bundelkhand – a community radio based in Orchha, this competition had 186 teams across 100 villages implement climate change adaptation practices like organic fertilizers, agroforestry and rainwater harvesting. Prakash's team took

Breaking the Cycle of Perpetual Food Insecurity In Malawi – Scoop.co.nz (press release)

Breaking the Cycle of Perpetual Food Insecurity In Malawi
Scoop.co.nz (press release)
He noted that the integration of legumes in cropping systems and agroforestry systems in Malawi are yielding more food than fertilizer-driven systems while rapidly restoring soil fertility. They are the foundations of sustainable food security. He

How to Feed the World After Climate Change – New America Foundation (blog)


New America Foundation (blog)

How to Feed the World After Climate Change
New America Foundation (blog)
More and more agricultural experts are saying we need a shift to ecological agriculture, sometimes known as agro-ecology. Ecological agriculture eschews applying chemical fertilizers to soil; rather, it favors compost and manure, which increase the

CAN’s 4th Annual Youth Exchange – A Success!

WelcomeSignCAN’s 4th Annual Youth Exchange or Intercambio took place from May 15-23, 2014, in the coffee-growing highlands of Veracruz, México. The Youth Exchange brought 32 youth leaders together to share experiences and knowledge about building food sovereignty in their own communities. The majority of the youth are leaders or promotores from CAN’s Food Security and Sovereignty Initiatives in Nicaragua (San Ramón and Las Segovias) and México (Quintana Roo and Veracruz). The youth leaders were joined by university students from the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo in Veracruz, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. CAN’s non-profit partner in Veracruz, VIDA A.C. (Vinculación y Desarrollo Agroecológico en Café), hosted the Youth Exchange.

For eight days, the youth engaged in capacity building exchanges, workshops and field visits. They taught each other how to make homemade fertilizers, tell captivating stories for social change, grow a milpa Maya (corn and beans), and catalyze social innovation. The program included visits to home gardens, coffee farms, markets, and a cooperative focused on sustainable living and workshops about permaculture, raising chickens, and ecotechnologies. It also included a university forum organized by CAN-affiliated researcher, Carlos Guadarrama (Professor of Agroecology, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo), about community struggles to maintain control of seeds and water resources. Throughout the Exchange, youth explored new ideas for increasing food sovereignty at the community level, and reflected on how to contextualize these efforts within broader social and political contexts.

The Youth Exchange also provided the youth with an opportunity to evaluate their work to achieve food sovereignty and make concrete plans for the coming year. They committed to sharing their experience at the Youth Exchange with their home communities, implementing practices learned from each other, maintaining regular communication, and creating a resource that compiles their collective expertise. In particular, the youth expressed a lot of excitement about applying their new knowledge about ecotechnologies.

Sahel region learning to reap benefits of shade – Business Mirror

Sahel region learning to reap benefits of shade
Business Mirror
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In Africa's Sahel region, agroforestry techniques using traditional plantings known as “fertilizer trees” to increase soil fertility, as well as harvesting and grazing regulations, are offering new solutions to both food and human

Holcim supports Davao River watershed conservation – Business Mirror


Business Mirror

Holcim supports Davao River watershed conservation
Business Mirror
The project also aims to build on the gains from its first year, which started in 2011 and involved 50 families, by teaching the initial beneficiaries new skills, such as agroforestry, organic-fertilizer production, crop-house development and duck raising.

Sustainable Agriculture Symposium set for Nov. 1 and 2 – Syracuse.com (blog)

Sustainable Agriculture Symposium set for Nov. 1 and 2
Syracuse.com (blog)
Discussions will focus on developments in agroecology, biopesticides, biofertilizers, green chemistry, and related technologies, and their impact on water quality, the environment, soil productivity, food production and sustainable agriculture. The

Research shows legume trees can fertilize and stabilize maize fields, generate … – Phys.Org

Research shows legume trees can fertilize and stabilize maize fields, generate
Phys.Org
Inserting rows of "fertilizer trees" into maize fields, known as agroforestry, can help farmers across sub-Saharan Africa cope with the impacts of drought and degraded soils, according to a 12-year-long study by researchers at the World Agroforestry

Research shows legume trees can fertilize and stabilize maize fields, generate … – Science Codex

Research shows legume trees can fertilize and stabilize maize fields, generate
Science Codex
NAIROBI, KENYA (15 October 2012)—Inserting rows of "fertilizer trees" into maize fields, known as agroforestry, can help farmers across sub-Saharan Africa cope with the impacts of drought and degraded soils, according to a 12-year-long study by

and more »

Research shows legume trees can fertilize and stabilize maize fields, generate … – EurekAlert (press release)

Research shows legume trees can fertilize and stabilize maize fields, generate
EurekAlert (press release)
NAIROBI, KENYA (15 October 2012)—Inserting rows of "fertilizer trees" into maize fields, known as agroforestry, can help farmers across sub-Saharan Africa cope with the impacts of drought and degraded soils, according to a 12-year-long study by

Potential responses of oligochaetes (Annelida, Clitellata) to global changes: Experimental fertilization in a lowland stream of Argentina (South America)

Publication year: 2012
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 42, Issue 2
Laura Armendáriz, Carolina Ocón, Alberto Rodrigues Capítulo
One of the possible consequences of climatic change for streams and rivers in the pampean region of South America is an increment in nutrient loads. To analyze this possible perturbation on a biological scale, the response of oligochaetes to an experimental eutrophication of the La Choza Stream, Argentina was studied. We proposed that the addition of nutrients could increase the abundance, biomass, and species composition of the stream. Two stretches (Control and Treatment sites) were selected, with bimonthly samples being taken (March 2007 through February 2009) in two habitat types: the sediments and the aquatic vegetation. On each sampling occasion the environmental variables were measured. The nutrient addition consisted in the continuous dissolution of a commercial fertilizer. The oligochaete mean density and total biomass, the taxonomic richness, the Shannon diversity ( H ′), and the evenness ( E ) were calculated and the BACI ANOVA design used to compare the differences between the sites. Thirty-three species of the families Naididae (Naidinae, Pristininae, Tubificinae, and Rhyacodrilinae), Opistocystidae, Enchytraeidae plus Aphanoneura Aeolosomatidae were collected. The oligochaete abundance and biomass increased significantly in the sediments and on the aquatic vegetation, especially among the Naidinae and Pristininae during their asexual reproductive phase. The diversity and evenness varied significantly in the sediments with the nutrient addition. Significant differences in the species richness and diversity were found on the aquatic vegetation, with both increasing at the treatment site after the fertilization. A significant correlation (Spearman) was observed between the oligochaete density in the sediments and the NO 3 -N and NH 4 -N concentration in the water. The increment in the naidines resistant to the fertilizer throughout the experiment could be explained by the greater nutrient availability, their mode of reproduction, and their short life cycles. The results of our study suggested that the incorporation of nutrients modified the composition of the oligochaete assemblage in favor of herbivores and detrivores. The usefulness of these indicator organisms in monitoring freshwater systems is subsequently discussed.

The Most Important Form of Capital is Human Capital

I’ve heard this phrase espoused several times at Rio+20, particularly within a session on the UN’s initiative for Sustainable Energy For All.

I agree. There is no question that development could not exist without a strong human resource which has produced all of our structures, organizations, societies, institutions, problems, successes, and ideas.

But what would human capital be without food?

Humans need food to survive. We all know this. But when we discuss the importance of recognizing and strengthening human capital the concept of food is left out of conversation.

Humans don’t need just food, but healthy food. If we want a strong workforce to support the world’s growth, we need to make sure that people have access to what’s required to support their thriving health.

Unfortunately, with its heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers, our global industrial farming system is not enabling a healthy workforce. In fact, it is directly contributing to the degradation of public health by feeding us chemical-ridden sustenance.

By getting rid of pesticides and fertilizers in our food production, we can make our food far more nutritious, and in turn make ourselves, our workforce, our human capital stronger, healthier, and ready to solve the world’s problems. We know it can be done. Without jeopardizing food production or farmers’ income, quite the opposite. Here is one example.

We must consider food as an important factor in human capital; to do otherwise would be to ignore the core of our existence.