Garden Planning part one: Dirty Talk | picky to plenty

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. Like a lot. I was in a car accident nearly three months ago and it has turned my world upside down. While the accident wasn’t too serious, thankfully, it was enough to cause me health problems I’ve been dealing with ever since. One way to cope with stress is to do things I love — cook, write from the heart and dream.

There’s something about being up to the elbows in fresh soil that is oddly soothing. Caring for a vegetable garden is a satisfying journey that begins with the dirt. While it’s too early to get my hands dirty (though seed planting begins in only a few short weeks) I can cope with the stress by daydreaming about this year’s gardens.

One of my biggest mistakes in gardening last year was not paying attention to the soil. My raised beds thrived because they had great soil, the newer ones in the front however, terrible. Here on the Niagara Escarpment we have a lovely red clay soil… not so good for growing. While we did add a few yards of soil to the plot and some manure and compost, it was not enough to create an atmosphere where plants would thrive. Case in point, my midget pepper and bean plants which were barely half way up my calf when they reached their maximum height.

via Garden Planning part one: Dirty Talk | picky to plenty.


In defense of weeds | FoodGrow

In defense of weeds

February 2, 2015 by Stephen 1 Comment

I provide a haven for weeds. No crap! Sometimes, if no one is looking, I even save seed.

There are places on my property where I have broken ground, turned the grasses under, and waited, just to see what would grow.

And I recommend it. Urge, even, every gardener to think, just for a moment……what would grow here If all these introduced grasses, shipped here from some place in Europe, where removed?

What would grow if I stopped ripping it all out at the slightest hint of germination, If I let some stuff just be?

How would it look?

What insects?

What wildlife?

Would the plants I want to grow do better?

And I promise it will be enjoyable and educational in a way that changes everything. Some of this happens, I think, because you stop looking at the weeds as weeds and think of them as plants again. Just like any other plant, and you get to see how they can benefit the ecosystem that is your garden.

Of course some weeds you will know all too well. Like invasive grasses or “Old Man’s Beard” (an invasive weed in my country that destroys native forest). These should be dealt with in the usual way.

What I’m talking about the other stuff. Like cow parsley.

via In defense of weeds | FoodGrow.

Low food prices on the menu at Berlin agribiz trade fair

Berlin International Green Week, the world’s biggest food and agriculture industry trade fair, is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Low food prices caused by abundant supplies are putting pressure on producers.

Internationale Grüne Woche in Berlin 2015 - Aufbau

Berlin International Green Week is still going strong 80 years after its 1935 launch. This year, 1658 exhibitors from 68 countries are taking part in the giant trade fair, held annually in the nation’s capital. From January 16 to 25, the public can mingle with the pros in 26 huge exhibition halls – all of them fully booked by food producers eager to showcase their wares.

Show kitchens sizzle and smoke with baked and roasted goods, tasty foods are piled high, and there’s even a temporary farm to give folks a look-in to the business. Perhaps for authenticity’s sake, two of the 26 halls are filled with bleating, grunting, cackling farm animals.

For all the prosperous bustle, many producers are weighed down by worries this year. The big problem is straightforward: Oversupply. Too much food, plenty of competition and consequent low prices are putting pressure on profitability.

Read more here: http://www.dw.de/low-food-prices-on-the-menu-at-berlin-agribiz-trade-fair/a-18195208

A Novel Solution to Land Tenure Issues for Women at Root of West Africa’s Food Insecurity

A Novel Solution to Land Tenure Issues for Women at Root of West Africa’s Food Insecurity

2015-01-14 Print


Boulder-based Agile International announces the final phase of its crowdfunding campaign to raise $6,000 for farming projects in Mali.


Agile International announces the final phase of its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com to raise $6,000 in infrastructure funds to begin projects that will make a giant leap in improving the balance of power – and the economic self-sufficiency – of women in Mali. Agile (Action to Generate and Integrate the Local Economy) International, a 501(c)(3) organization founded in Boulder, Colorado by a Malian native woman, has a vision to create positive developments in nations that have been negatively affected by structural, international, and climatic forces. Its purpose is to return West Africa to food abundance by empowering local women farmers and restoring the cultural wisdom that underlies traditional sustainable agriculture. Its program provides seeds, tools, land, and education for the women of Mali to grow sustainable organic crops. The funds from this campaign will be used to purchase land, fencing, seed, farm equipment, to dig new wells for water and to provide training to future farmers.

An integral part of the program involves bringing graduate student interns from Colorado State University to Mali to teach modern organic farming methods, document the progress the women make, and develop an agribusiness model that will be used in other areas of West Africa.

via A Novel Solution to Land Tenure Issues for Women at Root of West Africa’s Food Insecurity.

Local food to eclipse organic, as consumers begin to doubt definition | Genetic Literacy Project

Local food to eclipse organic, as consumers begin to doubt definition

Elizabeth Crawford | January 15, 2015 |

New consumers continue to enter the organic category for the first time, but the health halo cast by the US Department of Agriculture’s certification is dimming as it becomes more mainstream and as shoppers’ interpretation of the standard evolves.

At the same time, consumer desire for “local” products is increasing and the claim could wquickly replace organic as the most desirable qualification by many consumers, according to research analysts.

Shoppers continue to buy organic products “for what they lack: pestices, herbicdes, growth horones, antibiotics, artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives and GMOs,” according to a blog post by thThe Hartman Group promoting its report.

Despite this interest, some consumers wonder how highly process “junk food” can bear the organic label and if large manufacturers are “diluting the spirit of organics,” according to the Hartman Group.

Read full, original article: Local claims are rising star as sun sets on organic claims

via Local food to eclipse organic, as consumers begin to doubt definition | Genetic Literacy Project.

Agri.EU | International Green week 2015 started in Berlin – Events – Agri.eu

International Green week 2015 started in Berlin

Green week 2015 expect around 400 000 visitors – farmers, farm NGO representatives, agribusiness experts, people from the rural areas and direct customers from the cities


Author: Agri.EU

International Green week 2015 fair started in Berlin today.  The vevent was officialy opened by Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. Rich programme will attract around 400 000 visitors till 25 of February.

“As an Irishman, I have seen the agri-food sector become one of the main motors of economic recovery in Ireland. And I believe that this sector can play a similarly crucial role in economic recovery for the whole of the European Union! In doing this, we must also remember that producers must get their fair share of margin in the food chain.”, Phil Hogan said.

“Over the years, we have seen many changes to our Common Agricultural Policy. For me, the key change has been the move towards a more market-oriented policy, which allows farmers to decide what they want to produce based on the market, rather than on quotas or the type of subsidy available. The policy is also there to help the farmer deliver public goods for society as a whole – high quality, traceable food, biodiversity and food security amongst many others. One of the exciting new elements of the recent CAP reform is our push to embrace renewal and progress, through the so-called European Innovation Partnerships – by working more closely with the research community to help provide answers to the fundamental challenge of “how to produce more, but with a lower impact on our natural resources”. Similarly, we have measures which should help more young farmers come into the sector. We are well aware of the importance of reducing the administrative burden on farmers and simplification is a top priority for my work programme in 2015. “, the EU somissioner added.

“There are also ongoing discussions about the EU rules for organic farming. I am aware that this is proving controversial, especially among organic farmers themselves. Again, I hear your concerns and I am certainly willing to help broker compromise. I believe the existing rules can be improved to make EU producers more competitive. If we can’t engage on these proposals, we risk missing this opportunity for improvement for another 5 years.”, Phill Hogan said.

via Agri.EU | International Green week 2015 started in Berlin – Events – Agri.eu.