Don’t Mimic Nature on the Farm, Improve it

Behind many efforts to make agriculture more sustainable is the idea that our farming systems need to be more like nature. According to agroecologist Miguel Alteri, “By designing farming systems that mimic nature, optimal use can be made of sunlight,…

Study shows soil-building benefits of manure and crop rotation, so why didn’t they say so?

The secret to building soils is... wait for it... manure and diverse crop rotation. Underwhelmed? Researchers in Iowa (Delate et al, 2013) came to this result after conducting ten years of field research. Only this wasn’t their conclusion. Instead, the headline…

Global nitrogen consumption in the 20th century

An Unlikely Fix: nitrogen fertilizer and organic agriculture

Written by Adam Merberg In 1898, the chemist and physicist William Crookes devoted his presidential address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science to “a life and death question for generations to come.” At existing rates, he argued, the world’s…

Rachel Carson’s dream of a science-based agriculture may come as a surprise to those who believe that sustainability and technology are incompatible.

The ‘Frankenfoods’ debate is coming to your dinner table. Just last month, a mini-war developed in Europe, when the European Union’s chief scientist, renowned biologist Anne Glover, said that foods made through genetic engineering, such as soy beans—about 80 percent of…

Sproutbreak — big media cover up — 50 deaths, nearly 900 maimed with HUS and 4000 sick: sprouts guilty

 "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."(George Santayana). (Here's *a reminder* for those who have forgotten or do not know.)Main lessons to be taken from this short history:The type of food label needed here ?- from Bill MarlerBean…

Speedy tweets matter for science, and fimbriae hairs matter for death and disease from lethal German EHEC E. coli germs

...[The German outbreak  bacteria form fimbriae [pili].” Fimbriae are small tentacles that help EAEC bacteria stick to the intestinal wall. This could lead to a stronger colonization of the gut and more toxin being released into the body.Speed matters: Scientists…

Oxfam should get serious about malnutrition: Africa needs roads and nitrates

A recent UK Times opinion piece by rational optimist Matt Ridley has really hit the nail of the head about food security, linking together many issues that are repeatedly tackled at this website. The value of fertiliser. The needs of Africa. The…

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