‘Food and environment’ Category

“Push-pull” agriculture in Kenya links to Nobel discussions

Some news on the international ag production front. As background on the article, stem borer is obviously a kind of pest we are familiar with, but the Striga pest mentioned in the article is a parasitic weed with varied species that use their roots to steal nutrients from corn, sorghum, millet, and cowpeas (aka black-eyed […]

Finding: Diet, not environment, the best indicator of “personal pollution levels”

From an article in Chemical Engineering News: Research directed by Emma Undeman, a Swedish chemical engineering student, and Frank Wania, an environmental chemist at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, shows that diet  is a “key factor” in determining the load of pollutants that a given individual will carry. The region of the world in which […]

What’s Biomimicry?

The August 19 issue of  Now, a weekly news magazine from Toronto, features several articles on  “biomimicry,”  a concept developed by biologist Janine Benyus (Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature). One short article in the issue, “Plagued by the Plow,” by Wayne Roberts suggests that the agro-ecology long practiced in Latin America and Asia, constitutes a […]

Optimistic news on the Russian seed bank?

Following a surprise inspection at the the Pavlovsk station (the Russian  seed bank being threatened with destruction to make way for a housing complex), the auction has reportedly been “postponed for an uncertain period.” Read more here about the August 31 happenings.

Russian seed bank “one step closer to destruction”

A Russian court refused to interfere with a Russian housing agency’s plans to develop new housing units on the site of a seed bank containing more than five thousand varieties of fruits and ornamental plants. Cary Fowler is quoted in an article in The Guardian as saying “It is a bitter irony that the single […]

Nourishing the Planet interview with Cary Fowler

Cary Fowler is a member of the “Nourishing the Planet Advisory Group,” a subgroup of the Worldwatch Institute. In this interview with him in the Nourishing the Planet blog, he discusses the significance of crop diversity, the role of the seed bank in safeguarding diversity, and some of the things that individuals might do to […]

GM crops in the wild

Researchers in North Dakota have found genetically modified canola plants thriving in the roadside ditches. Besides the conclusive demonstration of a widespread “escape” into the wild, the research shows that some plants have a mixture of genetic material from two different strains of GM canola–clear evidence of genetic mixing that might produce unexpected plant characteristics.  […]

Nature magazine series on the role of science in meeting world food demand

The Nature magazine article series available at this link (http://www.nature.com/news/specials/food/index.html ) takes a look at the role of science in meeting world food demand in the future. There seems to be an honest effort to look critically at what scientific research can and cannot do in meeting growing food demand while protecting the environment. One […]

Why crop diversity matters

Here’s an interesting piece, called “Why the UK Should Pay More Attention to Its Food,” which discusses the reasons that diversity in our plant species matters. Read into it and you’ll find a discussion of Cary Fowler and the Global Seed Bank project. ““It would cost $30million to conserve wheat, one of the world’s most […]

Biodiversity and Food Security

At a Capitol Hill briefing on June 16 sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “Paul Gepts, a geneticist and professor of agronomy at the University of California, Davis, warned that inadequate crop biodiversity in the United States could hamstring American farmers as climate change intensifies.” This topic will be sure to […]