Category Archives: Organic Food

Forget the greenhouse! This yellow and PURPLE house could solve food shortages by boosting plant growth with LED lights

  • Next-generation greenhouses use specific wavelengths of light to boost the growth, taste and even shelf life
  • Experts discovered that plants do not require the full spectrum of colours contained in ordinary daylight to grow, and have created a tailormade colour palette required to enhance the whole process of food production 
  • LEDs have added advantage of giving off little heat, enabling the plants to be stacked in racks for added production

British scientists have developed sunlight-free greenhouses that could help boost food production in towns and cities.

The next-generation houses use specific wavelengths of light to boost the growth, taste and even the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.

Experts discovered that plants do not require the full spectrum of colours contained in ordinary daylight to grow and have created a tailormade colour palette of red and blue light that is required to enhance the whole process of food production.

Psychedelic: The new greenhouses use specific wavelengths of light to boost the growth, taste and even the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The purple light is a specially calculated mixture of red and blue LEDS that makes plants thrive

Psychedelic: The new greenhouses use specific wavelengths of light to boost the growth, taste and even the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The purple light is a specially calculated mixture of red and blue LEDS that makes plants thrive

Biologists at the Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC) found that plants exposed to a carefully calculated cocktail of red and blue light thrived at their state-of-the-art 10,000 square feet (929 square metre) research facility near Selby in North Yorkshire.

They discovered they are in control of the growing habits of plants and are able to increase yield and even boost flavour, using coloured bulbs.

LEDs also have the added advantage of giving off little heat, enabling the plants to be stacked in racks for added production.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2966552/Forget-greenhouse-yellow-PURPLE-house-solve-food-shortages-boosting-plant-growth-LED-lights.html#ixzz3TGoZ2jP4
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via Yellow and PURPLE greenhouse could boost plant growth with LED lights | Daily Mail

Still Doubting that Organics are the Future?

The words ‘organic’ and ‘sustainability’ are bandied around quite a bit. While some won’t eat anything but organic, others deny that there’s any future in organic farming. After all, with a population that’s seven billion-strong and growing, how can we possibly expect organics to feed the world? Or so the critics ask. In their view, feeding the masses simply can’t be done without strong chemicals and genetic modification.

However, organic farming has far more capacity than many people imagine. It goes way, way beyond growing a few tomato plants on your back verandah. Besides, if we want to live on a clean, healthy planet, going organic is the only way forward – not only for gardeners and farmers, but also for all businesses related to agriculture, from your local café to your nearest supermarket, from your preferred beautician to your favorite clothing boutique. In fact, when you think about just how many industries depend on agriculture, it’s clear that a shift towards sustainable, chemical-free practices is essential.

Worker and consumer health

The first and most pressing argument for organics is human health. Current intensive agricultural practices expose people — especially farmworkers — to toxic pesticides.  In 2002, a Californian study revealed that, between 1997 and 2000, an average of 475 farmworkers suffered pesticide poisoning annually.  As the study suggests, the total figure was probably much higher, given that many cases go unreported each year. What’s more? Increasingly, studies are demonstrating links between pesticides and cancer, as well as disruption of the endocrine system.

Meanwhile, those at the other end of organic farming – consumers – also face health risks. Food grown using intensive techniques can contain pesticide residues, which consumers ingest when they eat. Plus, some studies show that organic products are  more nutritious than their conventionally farmed counterparts. For example, a study (PDF) conducted by the (admittedly biased) Organic Center showed that organic food performs much better when it comes to antioxidant power, polyphenol levels and flavonoid levels. And the same goes for animal products. Dairy products from animals raised on organic farms, which haven’t been fed antibiotics, tend to be higher in antioxidants and omega-3.

Environmental health

If we’re serious about keeping our planet healthy, and make it available for future generations, there’s no way that we can continue to support intensive agriculture. When pesticides and other strong chemicals are sprayed on our crops, they end up not only in our soil, but also in our waterways. Over time, this causes our soil to become severely depleted of nutrients, and eventually completely unable to support life. For our waterways, it can mean extreme pollution. Given that we rely on our rivers for our very survival, there’s no question that our future depends on us turning to organic farming.

But can organic farming produce enough food and materials?

Some people believe that organic strategies are only suitable for private or small-scale farming. But numerous studies have illustrated that organic strategies can produce just as much output – if not more – than regular methods. For example, back in 1989, the U.S. National Research Council studied eight organic farms across the United States – from an Ohio-based farm of 400 acres specializing in grain and livestock, to a California-based farm where 1,400 acres of grapes were growing. When compared with nearby farms, where intensive practices were being exercised, the organic farms yielded just as much, if not more, produce on average.

Economics

Finally, one argument often put forward in favor of conventional methods is economics. Supporters of the status quo believe that intensive farming is superior because it means we can produce plenty of food at much cheaper rates than organics can. But this is an exceptionally short-sighted view. For a start, the amount of disease being caused by the chemicals in the environment is already weighing on our health system – and this is only going to become a more and more expensive problem.

Secondly, the more organics are used, the cheaper they’ll become. Running an organic farm actually requires less expensive equipment and chemicals than a conventional one does – plus, once organics become more widespread, operating costs will decrease significantly.

The future

So, if we want to assure ourselves of a happy, healthy, safe future, the only way forward is organics. By reducing the number and intensity of toxic chemicals in our world, we can look forward to living in a planet where disease is reduced and our environment stays pristine for generations to come.

Tim Sparke is the CEO at 4pumps and for several years, he has been an active advocate of organic farming and sustainability. He also has a passion for writing and he writes the blog at 4pumps.

via Still Doubting that Organics are the Future?.

Peachy Keen

We have had a great peachy weekend. On Saturday we planted 10 of our peach trees that I raised from stones starting early last winter. Here they are next to a swale topped with tagasaste.

We still have a dozen trees that we will give away and sell.  

Here is Verti checking out the recent work.

This is the reverse angle of the peaches and tagasaste.

Verti watered the peach trees thoroughly.  

On Sunday we went to our old house to pick some of the abundant Black Boy peaches.

We picked this box and it hardly made a dent in the fruit still on the trees.

Yum is all I can say.

via Peachy Keen | Eco Thrifty Living.

Turning Yards into Gardens & Neighborhoods into Communities by Food Not Lawns & Heather Jo Flores | Nick Robson’s Blog

Bring the author & founder of Food Not Lawns to your town to teach workshops, plant gardens & build community.

Lawns are the Worst!

Americans spend over $30 billion every year to maintain over 40 million acres of lawn. Yet over 40 million people live below the poverty level. Even if only ⅓ of every lawn was converted to a food-producing garden, we could eliminate hunger in this country.

Lawns use more equipment, labor, fuel, and agricultural chemicals than industrial farming, making lawns the largest (and most toxic) agricultural sector in the United States. Lawnmowers burn more fuel every year than all industrial oils spills of the last twenty years, combined. Growing Food Not Lawns is a beautiful, responsible and empowering step towards finding real solutions to the major problems we face as a global society.

Grow Food, Not Lawns!

When the original chapter of Food Not Lawns started in 1999, in a tiny space behind a park in Eugene, Oregon, our vision was to share seeds and plants with our neighborhood, to promote local awareness about food security, and to learn about permaculture, sustainability and organic gardening.

Our project blossomed. We received a Neighborhood Improvement Grant from the City of Eugene, and conducted a low-cost permaculture design course for the neighborhood. We transformed most of the neighborhood lawns into lush organic gardens. We hosted annual seed swaps. Soon, we started to get mail from people around the country who were starting up local Food Not Lawns chapters of their own, and a movement had been born.

In 2006, co-founder Heather Flores published Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community (Chelsea Green.) The first half of the book is about gardening in the city, with no budget and on shared land. The second half is about working with people to build community around shared food and resources.

The book sold over 25,000 copies, and now there are more than 50 affiliated Food Not Lawns groups in the United States, Canada, and the U.K.. The original Food Not Lawns collective just hosted its 16th annual seed swap, and the meme, “Food Not Lawns,” has taken root in the mainstreamconsciousness.

We need your Support!

via Turning Yards into Gardens & Neighborhoods into Communities by Food Not Lawns & Heather Jo Flores | Nick Robson’s Blog.