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Archive for August, 2007

Revolutions often succeed because a number of important variables come together at the same time. For the organic food movement their revolution really took off as the internet went vertical. The relationship of good, down to earth farming practices with top-end communication technologies has become a marriage made in heaven.

Of course quite a number of organic farm produce businesses have been around way before the internet was born. A good example of this is Graig Farm Organics based in Wales, UK who have been doing this for 19 years. I have to say their website needs an overhaul but, the their food choices are inspiring and some options are possibly the answer to current food supply crisis’s; e.g. farmed organic cod.

Their is nothing better than fresh, organic food. It was only sixty years ago that most food in Europe was still organic. They didn’t even use the word organic as there was no need to differentiate. The Second World War changed all that when the US came into Europe on invitation, to sort out the food crisis after WWII. The Americans suggested to the Dutch to go big. Big fields, big farm machinery and of course fertilizers and pesticides came with the package.

Well, the Americans have also given us the internet and now the natural food has been coming back! We even have a chain of organic supermarket here in London called Fresh & Wild, acquired by US conglomerate Whole Foods Market in January 2004. They subsequently opened a large-format Whole Foods Market store in the Kensington, London area.

Yes organic food is more expensive but fresh produce is often worth the price difference and sometimes the price difference is very small. I wouldn’t touch the processed ready meals as, like their cousins they’re packed full of salt and sugars! Small organic food outlets, direct from the farm via box schemes or, supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Waitrose’s are all good.

We do need to watch the food miles though, if possible. 🙂

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Contour bunding
is a fairly simple method of retaining topsoil and moisture and is one of several methods being used with significant effect to re-green the Sahara.

It consists of placing lines of stones along slopes and contours on the land to help rainfall soak in, and to stop topsoil washing away.

And that is helping to transform thousands of hectares into productive fields – where nothing grew just a decade ago.

This story has been going around the various media channels for some time popping up every now and then. Good news and positive techniques like contour bunding need coverage because there are relatively simple and inexpensive solutions out there for African farmers located in and around the Sahara.

The technique is explained here.

A report on the success of re-greening the Sahara here.

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Not all environment solutions involve modern technology or new ideas. Grass roofs on houses in Norway are one such case. Translated literally, torvtak is “turf roof.” For hundreds of years turf roofs have been popular in Norway.

No two turf roofs are the same. Some are bright green and almost velvety. Others are golden and look like they’re growing wheat or oats. A number of turf roofs have flowers mixed in with the grass, and a few have small trees.

The advantages of turf roofs are many. They are very heavy, so they help to stabilize the house; they provide good insulation; and they are long-lasting. Special skills and materials are required to prepare the roof for the turf topping.

Turf roofs in Norway are a tradition and you will see them everywhere. This is not some new architectural trend in London or New York!

Here is a link to some photos of the more recent, trendy green roofs.

Meanwhile, in the UK the government would like to see more people go for grass roofs and suggest such a move could cut their tax bill. More here.

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1000

The first grand is always the sweetest! Especially celebrating it here in Norway. 🙂

Think I’ll offset the flight with another donation to the BBC’s Planet Earth tiger appeal.

Don’t trust those offset options!

🙂

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