Karen Adler's picture

Reducing Dead Zone through Organic Practices

The concept of Organic Agriculture moves center stage in the global sustainability debate.
--One Earth, One Future: 2012 Consolidated Annual Report of the IFOAM (Integrated Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Action Group.

map of the dead zoneDid you hear that the area in the Gulf of Mexico known as the dead zone is soon expected to reach the size of New Jersey?  Due to heavy spring flooding in the Midwest, with a lot more nitrogen-based fertilizer ending up in the Gulf, this year’s dead zone could be the biggest on record. And there are, unfortunately, many other areas in the U.S. and around the world with dead zones created by unsustainable practices.  Dead zone is a term commonly used to describe the results of hypoxia. This dramatic impact of chemical-based agriculture on biodiversity and the environment occurs when agricultural nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, leach into waterways and wash downstream, accumulating in the waters of an estuary or bay. The decomposition process depletes the oxygen. Marine life flees or dies when oxygen levels get too low for their survival. Bird and animal populations that feed on marine life also shrink as their food sources disappear.

Maureen Wilmot's picture

Summertime Sustainable Solutions

The other week, while the House of Representatives were fumbling around with the farm bill, I had the privilege of joining more than 200 funders who work to create a healthy, safe and secure food and agriculture system in this country. I attended the Sustainable Agriculture Food System Funders annual forum in Providence, Rhode Island – Rethinking, Risk and Resilience. We spent three muggy and dynamic days delving into issues that impact how our food and fiber is grown, distributed and accessed.

We toured a health center that ‘gets’ the connection between healthy food and healthy humans.  It included non-clinical programs such as a fully accessible community garden, on-site farmers’ markets and even bicycles! The waiting room is filled with samples from the on site vegetable garden and healthy recipes.

Mark Keating's picture

Farm Bill Update

Basketball legend John Wooden cautioned not to confuse activity for achievement and his advice certainly applies to the “Farm Bill” passed last Thursday by the House of Representatives.  I use quotes here because the House bill contained only the agricultural provisions of the Farm Bill while voiding its single largest section, the nutrition programs.  Not simply ignoring, but voiding; should this House bill become law, the entire slate of USDA nutrition assistance programs would disappear.

While that outcome might please some members of the House, it’s not going to happen and that’s where the distinction between activity and achievement comes into play. The House leadership was badly damaged by the defeat of its first attempt to pass a Farm Bill back in June. That defeat highlighted underlying concerns about the House leadership’s competency and even called into question its future viability. 

Pages

Subscribe to Organic Farming Research Foundation RSS