Among forward-thinking foodies, vertical farming has been touted as tech-savvy solution to feeding our increasingly urbanizing world. But do the benefits truly add up? THE NEED By the year 2050, the United Nations anticipates that the global population will reach 9.7 billion, with 66% of people living in urban areas. To feed this rapidly growing, […]
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Plant the Trees for the Bees — The Bulls and the Bees
Urban tree growth is accelerating — Jim Daley Writes
Five uses for captured CO2 — Make Wealth History
What is sustainable agriculture anyway? — Ecology is not a dirty word
How One Can Develop A Vertical Garden In Simplest Way- Capacloud’s View — CAPACLOUD
This is the World Organic News for the week ending 27th of November 2017.
Jon Moore reporting!
We begin this week with a look at honey bees. The story of bees in danger has been a constant in the blog since I started way back in 2014. Colony loss and colony collapse disorder have featured. From the blog The Bulls and the Bees comes the post: Plant Trees for the Bees.
This is pretty much about what it says on the tin.
Apparently, CCD is often confused with colony loss and there is a misconception that they are synonymous with each other. CCD is when bees are healthy and buzzing around one day, and the next they’re gone from the hive. Cameron said there hasn’t even been a report of CCD since 2007. However, colony loss is still a very serious issue and the bees are still dying from pesticides and parasites.
The media often refers to colony loss as CCD so that is where the confusion has rooted from.
He recommended non-beekeepers to help the bees by planting a tree or a plant of some sort that bees need to feed themselves and help increase pollination.
The post has a list of useful trees to plant for bees as well as fruits, vegetables, herbs, shrubs and annuals. Briefly: Alder, Hazelnut and Maples stand out from the list of trees. These are not only useful for bees but also have other uses. Timber, food, syrup.
In addition I would add the pome fruits for bees. Pome fruits include, apples, pears, quinces and loquats. I can remember Springtimes in an ancient orchard on the place I lived in the Snowy Mountains being so alive with bees the sound was somewhat overwhelming. The promises of both fruit and honey were in sound as the trees leapt into life after a long cold winter and the minus 15 degrees C frosts we received each year.
Again, Pome fruits are at least dual return plants, honey and fruit. The windfall fruits in Autumn were also a sugar bump for the sheep prior to mating. The extra nutritional boost these fallen fruits provided the ewes was directly responsible for higher twinning rates and so the trees provided a third benefit.
As we are all aware by now, there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere than there was prior to the industrial revolution. This has some well described negative impacts but the blog Jim Daley Writes points us to a positive effect we can take advantage of to both assist the bees and reduce that level of CO2 in a post entitled: Urban tree growth is accelerating.
The growth rate of urban trees is speeding up worldwide, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Trees in urban areas are growing up to 25% faster than those in rural areas, and have been experiencing accelerated growth since the 1960s.
So what we have here is a way to reduce urban heat islands, provide feed for bees, provide food for humans and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. A win/win/win/win situations.
By taking advantage of this 25% boost to tree growth we can more quickly start providing alternative feed options for bees. This not only is good for the bees but the increased CO2 driving the increased tree growth will be sequestered in the those trees. True enough, to have a measurable effect on atmospheric CO2 we would have to undertake massive tree planting activities across urban settings worldwide. This though would not be a bad thing.
With the correct choice of tree per location we could provide sufficient mulch to support or at least to commence urban farming enterprises. All that mulch for raised beds, all that carbon hidden in the soils where it does good for both us and our annual food plants, all from taking advantage of a positive side effect of climate change.
Whilst we are on the idea of capturing CO2 we have a post from the blog Make Wealth History entitled: Five uses for captured CO2. The idea of capturing CO2 has been a dream of the fossil fuel industry for a couple of decades. This has led to such oxymoronic terms as: Clean Coal. This involves both CO2 capture and then storage in underground repositories. Allegedly safe forever but lethal is they leaked at any rate of knots.
So this post points to five areas where the captured CO2 could be put to work:
- As a building material, essentially synthetic limestone;
- As a fertiliser in greenhouses to increase the productivity of plants, a bit like the urban tree effect we just discussed;
- Plastic production, this is promising in that CO2 replaces half the oil used in the production of plastics, we still end up with plastic but we are using less oil.
- Gas production. Ancient archaea bacteria will take in CO2 and produce methane for burning. This one I like, a sort of closed loop with possible animal feed from the archaea bacteria.
- And finally baking soda. This is a process developed in India and actually at work in the real world. What we do with the large quantities of baking soda is another question but I’m sure that is more easily resolved than weaning the world of fossil fuels.
There is hope, as I try to keep in the forefront of my mind. Will the changes we need come quickly enough? I hope so.
Another line of attack on the CO2 front is sustainable agriculture.
From the blog: Ecology is not a dirty word comes the post: What is sustainable agriculture anyway? Indeed, a fair question!
The point of this blog is define the term sustainable. They lay out a number of terms and cover industrial, that is monocultural, agriculture through the permutations of organic, permaculture, biodynamic, holistic, regenerative and agroecology. I would recommend you read the whole article, it is good to return to first principles occasionally to refresh the focus.
So to follow on from those first principles and the urban focus this week we conclude with a post from the blog CAPACLOUD comes How One Can Develop A Vertical Garden In Simplest Way. Now this is blog designed to sell vertical gardens in India but it has much to recommend it. It we apply the idea of vertical gardening hand in hand with the increased urban tree growth then a perennial food forest becomes a reality. The idea of providing food, shade, pollinator support and material for compost, all where people live appeals to me. It not only increases food sovereignty, it further reduces the need for fossil fuels in transport. It also connects people directly with their food. Ownership as in responsibility for the trees becomes a personal thing and when food is personalised, or anything else for that matter, individuals step up and take responsibility for the care of those trees.
A noble calling indeed.
Re-integrating trees into our cultures, societies, locales and homes will be of benefit to ourselves, the trees and our homes, locales, societies and cultures.
Let us become, once again, a tree connected species.
And that brings us to the end of this week’s episode.
Thank you for listening and I’ll be back at the same time next week.
Farm Business Innovation Show Last week I attended the Farm Business Innovation Show in Birmingham. I participated as an exhibitor, as a volunteer with the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF). It was a valuable learning experience and led me to question where vertical farming in the UK can flourish. Alongside us on the AVF stand were AVF […]
For our vertical farming project, we are testing two different methods of indoor farming. The first method is called Aquaponics which is the one we are working on currently. Essentially we use the waste of our fish as fertilizer and it gets pumped up to the plants. Aeroponics, the second method, uses a nutrient solution […]