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Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ Category

This blog is now moving over to the Environment Solutions website where we hope to build a more comprehensive information portal for solutions on the environment.

Please visit the new site and update your blogroll link.

Thank you for your continuing support and interest.

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2000

Can’t believe I didn’t think of a ‘solutions’ approach for the environment before. It’s so obvious isn’t it, yet I guess understandably we get bound up with the many crisises surrounding us. Solutions to those problems are however the only way forward and I can see there’s a lot of interest out there for this.

The blog hit 2000 end of August with my post on the Grass Roofs of Norway catching the most interest. Practical information such as that found within my posts on recycling have also proved popular.

Anyway, onwards & upwards! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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Thanks to Keith’s ‘Temas’ blog for this news.

‘Imagine most of the farms across the four nations of MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) generating much or all of their daily electricity needs through biogas (primarily methane) siphoned off from biodigestors processing their own farm wastes.

Now imagine much of their passenger transport coming from electric vehicles charged quickly from those biogas-fueled generators โ€” cars constructed at a plant in Foz de Iguaรงu, the area where Brazilian, Argentine and Paraguayan territories come together, utilizing mostly MERCOSUR-sourced parts and technology.

That is the vision being nurtured by FIAT and Itaipu Binacional (IB) โ€” the bi-national (Brazil, Paraguay) firm that built and runs the huge Itapu Dam that provides power to much of southern Brazil โ€” with technical help from Swiss power producer KWO.

Fiat already have a prototype of such an electric car (see photos) prepared based on the FIAT Palio model, which they have taken around to several fairs, expo’s and other events involving rural producers.

The FIAT interest in this vision is obvious: they want to be the car maker that sets up that factory, taps the MERCOSUR market and perhaps someday build on it all to sell the resulting electric cars outside of MERCOSUR.

The current prototype car only goes up to 130 kilometers per hour, can only go 140 kilometers on a charge and charging takes eight hours. FIAT and BI hope in five years they’ll be able to offer a better version that goes up to 150 km/h, covers 450 km per charge, and only requires 20 minutes to charge.’

Wouldn’t mind one of these little electric car classics. It’s called a Tama and was built by Nissan after WWII, when oil was scarce.

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Low artificial input desert greening, with rainwater harvesting and mulching produces magic results that even the locals can’t at first believe. There are solutions to desert greening without using huge amounts of artificial fertilisers, plastic poly tunnels and wasting precious water.

Watch this if you’re interested in how we can feed the starving, particularly in desert regions like the middle east and the Sahara.

Thanks to Willem for this.

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