Fresh From the Field
Mark your calendars for the 2014 Soil & Nutrition Conference with Graeme Sait and Joel Williams, internationally acclaimed experts in fertility. Feb 2-4, 2014 - this three-day event will be a unique opportunity for growers and consultants seeking to expand their growing skills with cutting-edge strategies. You will learn to create healthy, disease-free soils and resilient, problem-free crops, gaining insight to invaluable guidelines to improve production and profitability on your farm, improve your health and vitality, and increase your likelihood of achieving peace and harmony in life.
Learn more at http://bionutrient.org/conferences.
When it comes to a healthy diet packed with nutrients and vitamins, simply eating your veggies might not cut it anymore. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that nutrient levels in crops have continued to go down in the past three decades, raising concerns for farmers and consumers alike. At the same time, controversy over genetically modified crops continues to brew, as some advocacy groups argue the risks associated with the technique have not been properly studied. In honor of Earth Day, the Hopedale Unitarian Parish is offering in April several programs to raise awareness of several environmental debates that could impact our health and wallets, and what we can do to grow the best food possible.
Are organic foods more nutritious than conventionally raised ones? Stanford University scientists cast doubt on that concept last year in a widely publicized report. But the gritty little secret is that whether your apples and spinach are organic or not, nutrient levels can vary dramatically depending on growing conditions, such as soil type and quality, temperature, and days of sun versus rain. As a consumer, you have no independent way of verifying that you have chosen a superior batch. But what if you had a handheld scanner that would allow you to check nutrient density? “You could compare carrots to carrots,” says Dan Kittredge, executive director of the Bionutrient Food Association, which is raising the funds to research such a device. “If this batch is a dud, pass. If the next one is good, that's where you spend your money.”
Listen in on an interview Dan did recently on Valley Free Radio's "Farm to Fork" show, or a number of other interviews, podcasts, and workshops in our audio archive -- a new section on the BFA website we'll be growing. We've also got the audio and accompanying slide presentations from the recent Soil & Nutrition Conference posted there as well. Lots of great insights!
The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in Northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). To put his achievement in perspective, the average paddy yield worldwide is about 4 tons per hectare. Even with the use of fertilizer, average yields are usually not more than 8 tons. Sumant Kumar’s success was not a fluke. Four of his neighbors, using SRI methods, and all for the first time, matched or exceeded the previous world record from China, 19 tons per hectare. Moreover, they used only modest amounts of inorganic fertilizer and did not need chemical crop protection.