A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture

[ISL] “White wine and canola oil: N.L.’s budding crop opportunities”

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CBC News’ Cherie Wheeler reports from western Newfoundland, where an experiment in growing canola and wine grapes in this historically non-agricultural province has yielded success.

Thanks to the success of some unconventional crops grown last summer, western Newfoundland might soon add canola and grapes to its list of agricultural products.

Working with independent farmers, the provincial Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods experimented with the two crops that aren’t traditionally grown in the province.

The hope was those first-time crops could sow the seeds for new farming industries.

While canola farming is big business in the prairies, it’s unheard of in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Yes, we’re a lot different from Saskatchewan, but perhaps we might have a little better conditions than Iceland or northern Norway,” said Kavanagh, the province’s alternative feed co-ordinator.

[. . .]

It turns out she was right. Planting 12 hectares on private farmland on the island’s west coast, in Pasadena, Kanvanagh said the yield was ¾ of a metric tonne per acre — which is on par with the rest of Atlantic Canada.

[. . .]

Like canola, the idea to grow grapes in Newfoundland was germinated in another province.

“There was a huge opportunity for grapes [in Nova Scotia],” says Newfoundland and Labrador’s fruit-crop development officer Karen Kennedy. “And there was no one commercially growing grapes here.”

Buoyed by stories of backyard gardeners growing grapes, Kennedy planted the first experimental vines four years ago in Humber Village, a small community in Humber Valley, as well as in Brooklyn, on the Bonavista Peninsula.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm

[LINK] “Agroecology Booming in Argentina”

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The Inter Press Service’s Fabiana Frayssinet reports on the popularity in Argentina of agroecology, a variant on organic agriculture.

Organic agriculture is rapidly expanding in Argentina, the leading agroecological producer in Latin America and second in the world after Australia, as part of a backlash against a model that has disappointed producers and is starting to worry consumers.

According to the intergovernmental Inter American Commission on Organic Agriculture (ICOA), in the Americas there are 9.9 million hectares of certified organic crops, which is 22 per cent of the total global land devoted to these crops. Of this total, 6.8 million of hectares are in Latin America and the Caribbean, and three million in Argentina alone.

The Argentine National Agrifood Health and Quality Service (SENASA) reported that between 2014 and 2015, the land area under organic production grew 10 per cent, including herbs, vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals and oilseeds.

Legumes and vegetables experienced the largest increase (200 percent). In Argentina there are 1,074 organic producers, mainly small and medium-size farms and cooperatives.

“The organic market is starting to boom. We have been producing since 20 years ago, when this market did not exist in Argentina and we exported everything. Now we sell abroad, but about 50 percent remains here,” said Jorge Pierrestegui, manager of San Nicolás Olive Groves and Vineyards, an agroecology company that produces olives and olive oil on some 1,000 hectares in the Argentine province of Córdoba.

“Opting for organic was a company policy, mainly due to a long-term ecological vision of not spraying the fields with poisonous chemicals,” Pierrestegui said.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm

[LINK] “Who’s Killing the Women’s Land Movement?”

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Vice‘s Allie Conti looks at the reasons for the decline of the women’s land movement, a back-to-the-earth movement started by lesbians in the 1970s that now seems to currently be on its last legs. The general drift of non-heterosexuals to cities, as well as the declining popularity of traditional lesbian identities among the young, are equally responsible.

[A]fter the Vietnam war, as thousands of Americans moved away from cities to adopt an agrarian lifestyle, scores of lesbians simultaneously became disenchanted with the emerging women’s liberation and gay rights movements, which many perceived as being either homophobic or misogynist. They reacted by forming closed-off, utopian societies—farms and communes where women often took on traditionally male activities like mechanics and engineering, in what would come to be known as the women’s land movement. But like religious sisterhoods and lesbian bars, these male-free communities, which once boasted thousands of members, are in clear decline today.

Young queer people who want to get back to the land today have more options than women like [Susan] Wiseheart, who decades ago relied on the women’s land movement to provide safety in numbers and reclusion from a society once hostile to their sexuality.

Terri has long since moved on from Aradia, but Wiseheart has remained, and says she never plans to leave. It is, after all, her life’s work. But once she’s gone, it’s unlikely that anyone will be willing or able to continue her mission. Signs of that are written across Hawk Hill—where chickens, dogs, donkeys, guinea fowl, cattle, horses and a flock of sheep once roamed its fields, calling it a farm today would be a categorical misstatement. Wiseheart now lives there with a few friends, also in their sixties and seventies, and a straight woman helping to pay the bills while they seek out a lesbian renter.

“We’re still sometimes nervous, because we live in a fundamentalist Christian area,” she explains. “We’ve managed to be safe and fine so far. We just don’t want to be advertising it widely.”

Meanwhile, there may be few modern women left willing to live a relatively cloistered life on a lesbian-only tract of land in the Ozarks. Young queer people who want to get back to the land today have more options than women like Wiseheart, who decades ago relied on the women’s land movement to provide safety in numbers and reclusion from a society once hostile to their sexuality.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm

[LINK] “Study explores ancient wetland-gardening site in British Columbia”

The Globe and Mail shares Geordon Omand’s Canadian Press article looking at the exciting research into ancient wildlife engineering for food production in British Columbia, with the design of marshes optimized for the yield of a tuber known as the wapato.

An ancient wetland-gardening site unearthed during a road-building project in British Columbia is as culturally important as any other wonder of the world, says a member of the indigenous group who directed the excavation project.

A study published Wednesday found that as early as 1,800 BC, ancestors of the Katzie First Nation in B.C.’s Lower Mainland were engineering the wetland environment to increase the yield of a valuable, semi-aquatic plant known as a wapato. The report describes the finding as the first direct archeological evidence of the cultivation of wild plants in the Pacific Northwest.

“This is as important to us as the Egyptian pyramids, or the temples in Thailand, or Machu Picchu,” said Debbie Miller, who works with an archeological consulting firm owned by the Katzie Nation.

Road-building crews uncovered a rock platform measuring about 12-square metres made up of flat stones that would have rested several feet underwater four millenniums ago. The distribution of the stones into a pattern of single and double layers, as well as their closely packed arrangement, suggests they were placed deliberately, the study published online in ScienceAdvances found.

The stone “pavement” would have prevented the wapato from penetrating deep into the sludgy, wetland sediment, making it easier for gatherers to use long, sharpened digging tools to locate the buried plant and cut it free.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 22, 2016 at 9:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Apostrophen’s ‘Nathan Smith writes about what he has learned from his huskie.
  • Bad Astronomy shares some gorgeous Cassini images of Saturn’s polar hexagon.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at L2 Puppis, a red giant star that our own sun will come to resemble.
  • D-Brief notes climate change is starting to hit eastern Antarctica, the more stable region of the continent.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at some of the cool pins put out by supporters of LGBT rights over the decades.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at Susan Faludi’s account of her life with her newly trans father.
  • Far Outliers examines the War of American Independence as one of the many Anglo-French global wars.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders why the Los Angeles Times allowed the publication of letters defend the deportation of the Japanese-Americans.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Alex Tabarrok argues that we are now moving beyond meat production.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at Mexico as a seedbed of modernism.
  • Savage Minds shares an article arguing for a decentering of the position of human beings at the interface of anthropology and science.
  • Understanding Society has more on the strange and fundamentally alien nature of the cephalopod mind.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the North Caucasus is set to go through austerity.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Beyond the Beyond notes how astronomers are now collecting dust from space in their gutters, without needing to go to Antarctica.
  • blogTO notes the many lost dairies of mid-20th century Toronto.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at how volatiles freeze out in protoplanetary disks.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper considering the exploration of ocean worlds.
  • Far Outliers links to a report of a Cossack mercenary working in North America for the British in the War of American Independence.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the grave and the life of Homer Plessy.
  • Steve Munro looks at some possibly worrisome service changes for the TTC.
  • pollotenchegg notes trends in urbanization in post-1970 Ukraine.
  • Strange Maps looks at a scone map of the British Isles.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Apostrophen’s ‘Natha Smith talks about his tradition of the stuffed Christmas stocking.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling talks about the decline of the Pebble wearables.
  • blogTO lists some of the hot new bookstores in Toronto.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about some of her family’s traditions.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at the ancient history of rice cultivation in the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the willingness of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation to recognize same-sex marriages.
  • Language Log shares a photo of an unusual multi-script ad from East Asia.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the Russian involvement in the American election and its import.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a book about the transition in China’s financial sector.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on efforts to revive the moribund and very complex Caucasian of Ubykh.