Can we be excused for believing that if we or our farmers can freely buy products to use to clean our houses, grow our food, manage pests and weeds they are safe to use? There are many products previously registered for use and sale that have been withdrawn because community action has led to reviews. Globally there are now many watchdog groups which monitor toxicity levels and impact on humans.
It is unfortunate that the process of removing toxic chemicals and processes is long and tedious. In Australia we have the The National Toxics Network (NTN). Read about it here.
There is currently a petition to Hon. Julia Gillard MP, The Prime Minister of Australia and Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig MP, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and an open letter to support the Australian Government's intention to introduce reforms to better protect human health and the environment and strongly urge governmeny to deliver a strengthened regulatory framework that truly results in improved protection for all Australians and our environment.
Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control, and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests. This however is achieved by excluding the use of synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides; plant growth regulators, livestock feed additives, and genetically modified organisms. Organic farming benefits from the recycling and use of natural products. By supporting local, sustainable and organic farms in your local community you also support the larger community of which we are all a part. Organic farming is the way forward towards a healthier life and a cleaner environment. Words from Navdanya's Diary.
This journal is following the global situation relating to the food crisis, food security, impact of industrial agriculture on biodiversity and places our local - South East Queensland and nationally - food situation within the global context. This online journal by respected Indian scientist and
A world-renowned environmental leader and recent recipient of the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize, Vandana Shiva is at the forefront of the global Environmental and Earth Justice Movement. Dr.Shiva is the author of many books, including Earth Democracy, Water Wars, and Staying Alive. She brings a vital, passionate voice and practical solutions to the most important issues of our times. With Soil Not Oil, Vandana Shiva connects the dots between industrial agriculture and climate change. Shiva shows that a world beyond dependence on fossil fuels and globalization is both possible and necessary. Unwavering and truly visionary, Soil Not Oil proposes a solution based on self-organization, sustainability, and local community rather than corporate power and profits.
ABC Fora is the result of an exciting new editorial partnership between the ABC and US web group www.fora.tv. Combining content sourced by the ABC from talks events all over Australia with the international material provided by fora.tv, ABC Fora will bring you the most engaging and interesting speeches and debates from all over the world.
Farming has become an occupation and cultural force of the past. Michael Pollan's talk promotes the premise -- and hope -- that farming can become an occupation and force of the future. In the past century American farmers were given the assignment to produce lots of calories cheaply, and they did. Listen to the talk here. In the past century American farmers were given the assignment to produce lots of calories cheaply, and they did. They became the most productive humans on earth. A single farmer in Iowa could feed 150 of his neighbors. That is a true modern miracle.
"American farmers are incredibly inventive, innovative, and accomplished. They can do whatever we ask them, we just need to give them a new set of requirements." The same applies to all farmers who are willing to reflect and review current practices and are interested in real sustainability.
USING THE RIGHT WORD HAS NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT!
Unfortunately this media coverage - as many before it uses the term 'market gardens'and 'intensive horticulture'as if they mean the same thing! Ask any horticulturalist or organic gardening industry person and he or she can point out the many differences in farming practices, methodology and crops grown. Most of us do not take much more interest in the fruit and vegetables we eat than the price.
TOUGHER regulations on market gardens by Logan City Council could send some growers broke, industry insiders warn. Growing Wiser spokeswoman and herb grower Lisa Crooks said the industry was already heavily regulated by federal, state and local governments.
Farm spray from an adjacent macadamia farm is a suspect in deformed and diseased lavae at a Noosa fish hatchery. Evidence has now also emerged of a possible cancer cluster next to the Queensland hatchery where bizarre double-headed fish embryos have been discovered. There are worries regarding use of pesticides - all of which are registered and recommended for use on macadamia farms and worries about the water contaminations from these toxic chemicals. Could these be related to each other? This is reported in The Australian 21 January 2009.
Endosulfan is one chemical currently under investigation by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries as a possible cause of the hatching of a multitude of two-headed and chronically deformed fish at a hatchery next to a macadamia farm on the Sunshine Coast in Qld. The fungicide carbendazim is also being assessed.
Sunland Fish Hatchery owner, Gwen Gilson, says she believes contaminated water from chemical spray drift from the macadamia plantation is to blame.
Australia will continue to allow the use of this highly toxic insecticide, despite a ban placed on its application in New Zealand and more than 55 countries round the world. The use of endosulfan has been prohibited in Britain, most European Union members, and a number of Asian nations including the Philippines, Indonesia and South Korea. A broad-spectrum chemical used to control a range of insect pests in horticultural and agricultural crops, endosulfan has been used in Australia for over 35 years, with no potential for review at this stage.
Global agricultural practices must change if we are to reduce hunger, poverty and environmental degradation, say a set of comprehensive international reports released by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) in April. These reports present a new paradigm for agriculture that represents an evolution of the concept of agriculture - focusing only on food production - to one that also enhances rural livelihoods while ensuring environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development.
An executive summary of the Synthesis Report is available here and as a pdf file here. A global summary for decision makers is available here.
Professor Roger Leakey, Australia's coordinating lead author of the global report, says the key actions identified in the global and regional reports can be summarised as:
*re-direction of agricultural science and technology - moving away from processes that have profited primarily large-scale enterprises, to processes that address the basic needs of the world's 900 million small farmers and lessen environmental impacts; *innovation - initiatives that allow local communities to set the agenda alongside scientists and policy-makers; *investment - in rural infrastructure, local governance and education. 'The overriding challenge is to revitalise farming processes and rehabilitate natural capital. To do this we need to even up the balance between "globalisation", which is the dominant paradigm now, and "localisation",' Professor Leakey says. Read more here.
The small town community of Acland has not prospered as promised by Queensland Government. Heritage sites including the war memorial and heritage-listed timber colliery are in the path of planned expansions for 2009. The town is disappearing as houses and infrastucture are removed. The quiet, peaceful and productive farming area remembered from five years ago is now regularly blanketed in a haze of dust and subjected to round the clock noise and mining traffic.
The fabric of close-knit farming community is being ripped apart, and that is the human tragedy and the best quality cropping country will become poor quality grazing country. Read the story reported in Queensland Country Life here.
How many new coal mines does Queensland need? At what cost? Locally and globally? Have landholder interests been protected from negative affects from mining by existing legislation?
A Queensland Coal Communities Listening Tourhas been organised by researchers and community organisers concerned about climate change. They will be holding ‘listening posts' and a public meetings around Central and Southern Queensland
At these gatherings locals are invited to share perspective on coal and climate change in their community.
Trained researchers will listen, without judgement or debate, and share these findings at public meetings across Queensland.
The aim is to develop an understanding of the key issues and concerns of people who are dependent on or affected by the coal industry, and how together we can accommodate these concerns as we seek to address climate change and move towards a sustainable economy.