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Topic Summary

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 08, 2019, 05:53:15 pm »

giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper) is BIG!

Bamboo: Malawi’s Unexpected Tool for Climate Change Resilience 🌍

by Caroline Gagné Caroline Gagné and Moushumi Chaudhury - January 03, 2019


Why Giant Bamboo?

Bamboo is fast-growing, so it provides a rapidly renewable source of fuelwood and timber. While hardwood trees can take 30 years to mature and must be replanted post-harvest, giant bamboo matures in only a handful of years and can be harvested every year for its entire lifecycle.

AfriBam’s giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper) nursery in central Malawi. Photo by Caroline Gagné/WRI

In the case of Blumrick’s non-invasive giant bamboo, the lifecycle is around 80 years. Planting and harvesting bamboo for fuel can help limit the depletion of Malawi’s tree cover and natural forests. Giant woody bamboos can also sequester carbon, helping to curb climate change. They’re one of several trees and plants that can generate benefits for people while also restoring land. 🎋 👍     

Full article with more pictures:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 25, 2018, 12:09:07 pm »

How Do We Go Beyond Purely Theoretical Sustainable Architecture? TU’s Solution: Go Out & Build It.

November 25th, 2018 by The Beam

This article was published in The Beam #6 — Subscribe now for more on the topic.

What can architects, and especially architecture students, do to respond to global issues such as informal urbanization, carbon emissions, or refugee settlement conditions? From sketches to real-work implementation, CODE architecture students design but also construct themselves climate-oriented, resource-saving and affordable projects in Bolivia, Iraq, Chile, and Europe. Their strategy — make the most of a space’s natural properties, culture, and climate; in other words: find local solutions to global issues. Professor Ralf Pasel, head of CODE Institute, just came back from the latest project in Bolivia.


“Our challenge is really to develop strategies that promotes climate orientated buildings that do not rely on high tech, standardized and costly processes.”

Hi Ralf, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Can you first introduce us to CODE?

CODE — CONstruction & Design is an institute at the Technical University of Berlin, which spans a bridge between theoretical education and practical work. What it actually does is combine three things: teaching, research, and practice. The projects are proper professional works but they are also case studies throughout which students research issues such as carbon emissions. Then…we build them.

What comes into consideration before you decided “let’s build an agriculture school in Bolivia”?

First of all, we set quite strict criteria, which means that we have a sort of CODE X through which we choose projects. We try to be very careful about not being competitive to avoid any market or monetary dimension. The most important are the social and the environmental relevance; they are the driving forces behind these projects.

How is it possible to implement environment friendly designs in poor areas? Does it not require expensive technologies that make these projects difficult to reproduce locally?

Not really, our challenge is really to develop strategies that promotes climate orientated buildings that do not rely on high tech, standardized and costly processes. Our challenge really is to think in term of design rather than techniques, consider what is already offered by the location, orientation, and climate rather than what we need to bring or to buy.

How did you apply this idea to your project in Bolivia?


For the project in Bolivia, which was to build an agriculture school in the Cordillera, we were at more than 3,000 meters above the sea level, with a difference of temperature between day and night time of almost 30 degrees, and winds blowing in all different directions because of the surrounding mountains. So we asked ourselves ‘how can we deal with these such extreme thermic conditions?’ Well, for instance, the school was built with a closed facade, only windows to internal patios so that we can harvest the heat gain in the evening. We also built a double ventilated roof to make sure the heat does not accumulate in the daytime. Then, there should be no need for radiators or ventilators anymore. We also benefit from an incredible solar radiation, so we oriented the roof to make sure the solar panels get the most of it, and we implemented dry toilets to reduce the use of water and generate compost for the agriculture school.

Does your project address environmental issues or does it simply adjust to its environment?

I would rather say that it is an ‘environment induced project’ because the design is made in such a way that it uses the potential of nature and climate. So rather than fighting extreme weather conditions we just try to ‘sail the boat’. We analyze the impact of sun to orientate the solar panel roof or the direction of the wind to create efficient ventilation systems. We can do that by learning to read the direction of the wind on the grass or by looking at the flight of the birds to see the different thermic winds.

Further to the environmental impacts, which other positive impacts did you achieve?

What we do is that we very quickly integrate local partners in the process. For instance, we worked with a women bricklayers cooperative, helping them set up their business and provided them with proper security uniforms. We focused on material and tools that do not require being dependent on suppliers so that they can reuse these techniques for their own houses. Meanwhile, this same women’s cooperative trained the next group of students coming to Bolivia, so we have a sort of circular education movement. We also involve local universities or the students of the agriculture school to come to help and learn about sustainable construction methods.


What’s next on your plate?

At the moment we are trying to transfer the experience we had in South America into the European context. Because of the refugee situation in Germany we need a lot of social housing projects. We are currently developing two projects for these ‘urban newcomers’ through the initiative Home Not Shelter.

Interview by Caroline Sorbier.

Subscribe to The Beam for more on the topic.

Read more from The Beam.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 22, 2018, 01:01:45 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: The second half of this video deals with some facts about healthy soils everytone should know. In the earlier part of the video I learned that children DO NOT have certain enzymes in the liver, that human adults DO have, that are extremely important.

"There’s no specific testing done for children,” he says. “There’s absolutely no published scientific evidence to show any level of safety. On the other hand, studies show there is no lower level that is safe for children.

Children, when we talk about the unborn, the newborn and grown children up to puberty, they do not have the detoxification enzymes in their livers that we have as adults. Particularly for young children, that means they have no way of detoxifying even the smallest amount of a pesticide or a chemical.

The evidence shows that even small amounts, when children are exposed in the womb, through breastfeeding or at a young age, it severely affects the way they develop. It affects the nervous system, the hormone system and the reproductive system.

When you look at the science, there are so many areas that can be negatively affected by these small amounts. Unfortunately, a lot of these effects last a lifetime. And also, we know some are intergenerational. Those children's grandchildren will be affected."

Read more:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 20, 2018, 09:59:21 pm »

Next World TV

Common Sense Solutions - Starting Now

Green Jobs Revolution in Chicago

Real Jobs, Real Food= Revolution!

With a introduction by environmental advocate and civil rights activist Van Jones, this is a particularly inspiring example of revolutionizing systems that have failed.

Growing Home is a non- profit organization in Chicago that trains low income, previously homeless or incarcerated Chicagoans in the business of organic agriculture.

What can be more important than bringing real jobs and real food to neighborhoods that for decades have been bereft of both?

"A garden can turn a neighborhood where people don't have any jobs into small business owners." says Della Moran, market manager of Growing Home.

There are 80,000 vacant lots in Chicago. Orrin Williams, Employment Training Coordinator muses: " Acres of vacant land... acres of potential."

Until recently, Growing Home had been selling their organic produce only to Chicago's elite at the city's premier farmers market, high end restaurants, and a CSA program. Now the revolution is really starting: there is a market ON the South Side, FOR the South Side.

Now we're talking! 

--Bibi Farber

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 19, 2018, 07:29:35 pm »

Next World TV

Sand to soil Innovation in China
Reducing desert land

China is developing technology that turns deserts into productive land. 

One quarter of China is covered by dry, desert-like land and one third of its citizens are effected.

Reversing the growth of desertification.

China is bringing this technology to Africa too. 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 07, 2018, 02:58:43 pm »

Very cool. I knew the Netherlands had a lot of agriculture, but had no real idea exactly how advanced they'd gotten. I'm impressed.

Yes, it is truly amazing what they have done. This appears to be the only way forward in our overheated planet for those fortunate enough to live near the poles.

Meanwhile, Trump 🦀 and Fossil Fuel Fascist friends 🐉🦕🦖 are doing everything they can, whether they know it or not, to destroy all hope for future generations:

Trump touts report US is set to become world’s top oil producer

BY JOHN BOWDEN - 03/06/18 08:42 AM EST 
Trump touts report US is set to become world’s top oil producer

President Trump on Tuesday celebrated a report from the International Energy Agency which claims the U.S. will become the world's leading oil producer by 2023.

full article:


Some brave people🕊 are fighting this insanity in the courts. I wish them well. Trump 🦀 will do all he can to destroy them.

Court denies Trump admin’s plea to stop kids’ climate lawsuit

BY TIMOTHY CAMA - 03/07/18 02:11 PM EST 
Court denies Trump admin’s plea to stop kids’ climate lawsuit 

A federal appeals court Wednesday rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a group of kids who want to force the government to do more to fight climate change.

full article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 07, 2018, 01:13:59 pm »

Which Countries Are the World’s Top Food Exporters?

The Netherlands is a small, densely-populated country with more than 1,300 inhabitants per square mile (500 inhabitants per square km). More than half of the nation’s land area is used for agriculture and horticulture, mostly in the form of high-tech greenhouse complexes that allow the Dutch to be global leaders in exports of tomatoes, potatoes, and onions. In terms of value, the Netherlands 🌻 🌼 🌷 🌱 is the world's second-largest exporter of food, trailing only the United States, a country which has 270 times the landmass.

More food, less water:

Since 2000, Dutch farmers have reduced their dependence on water for key crops by as much as 90 percent, and they have almost completely eliminated the use of chemical pesticides. 

Since 2009, Dutch poultry and livestock producers have decreased their use of antibiotics by as much as 60 percent. 🌟

The Dutch use “precision farming” 🌿 to get the most out of their fields. For example, the global average yield of potatoes is about nine tons per acre. The Dutch produce more than 20 tons per acre


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 03, 2018, 01:33:29 pm »

How Do Farmers Identify the Most Fertile 🌱 Soil? ???

Agricultural organizations around the world are coming to the realization that a pair of cotton underpants can tell farmers a lot about the quality of their soil. From the United Kingdom to California, farmers are trying out this unconventional method, burying undies in their fields and digging them up a couple of months later. Healthy soil teeming with microbes and bacteria will devour the cotton, leaving behind only the waistband. In lifeless soil, the unearthed undies come out intact.

Underwear goes underground:

Evan Wiig, executive director of the California Farmers’ Guild, explained that “cotton is an organic material and breaks down naturally, just like anything else you’d put in your compost pile.”

Soil conditions on beef and sheep farms directly influence how well grass and forage crops grow. In turn, this affects the quality of the feed that they produce. Better feed leads to more robust animals.

Scottish farmer Iain Green has been burying underwear on his 2,800-acre farm since September 2017 and says that the results have provided valuable insights.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 21, 2018, 02:34:26 pm »


Incredible farm in Michigan becomes the world’s second ‘Living Building’ 🌼



A beautiful, 15-acre farmhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan has been officially recognized as the world’s second Living Building by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

Full article: 🌿

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 09, 2017, 02:01:58 pm »


November 8, 2017  |  By Laurie Guevara-Stone


Almost 30 years ago, seven organic farmers from the U.S. Midwest, unhappy with the state of American agriculture, decided to band together and form a cooperative to continue farming sustainably.

Today, the Organic Valley agricultural cooperative, headquartered in La Farge, Wisconsin, is made up of over 2,000 farmers in 36 states. And the cooperative just became part of a unique community-solar partnership that will allow it to become the largest food company in the world to source 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy.

Full article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 08, 2017, 12:57:55 pm »

Farming without glyphosate — how would that work? 

November 2017


EU member states have again put off a decision on renewing the controversial weed killer glyphosate. Could Europe really be close to banning glyphosate — and what would a possible ban mean for farmers and consumers?

Full article:


Agelbert NOTE: What articles like the above do not seem to GET is that the question is ACTUALLY, "WHY don't farmers accept that farming WITH glyphosate is NOT WORKING?"!

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 02, 2017, 01:57:50 pm »

A great cause – Restoring local grain production in America

Posted on November 1, 2017 by Ken

Rice is a grain, a staple for billions and the staff of life. True.

And it only grows in Asia and in tropical climates. False.   

The amazing - and untold history - of African rice.

This is one of the most fascinating and promising local sustainable food projects I’ve ever seen. Please help take it to the next level.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 15, 2017, 04:18:05 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: Yes, a large part of US wine country is toast due to fires. But that does not detract from the value of Biodynamic Farming.

Biodynamic Certification is a Step Aboves Organic in food quality

Story at-a-glance

Food quality is determined by how it was grown. Certified organic food helps you avoid pesticides. But even organic foods may be lacking in important nutrients if grown in nutrient-poor soils

Biodynamic farming is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture initially developed by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. It’s an approach that can provide far superior harvests while simultaneously healing the Earth

The Biodynamic view is that a farm is a living organism — self-contained, self-sustaining, following the cycles of nature, and able to create its own health and vitality out of the living dynamics of the farm

The organic standard is the base of the Demeter standard, which then goes much further, taking into account the core idea of the farm as a closed system; solutions to disease, pest and weed control comes out of the farm system itself

Demeter is a global Biodynamic certification agency. Formed in 1928 in Germany, it’s the oldest ecological certification organization in the world. In Germany, 10 percent of the organic farmland is Biodynamic

Full article with eye opening historical information:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 21, 2017, 03:27:35 pm »

Solar Plants Are Cropping Up On Farms 

August 19th, 2017 by Guest Contributor

Originally published on Nexus Media.
By Jeremy Deaton

If the United States wants to kick its coal habit, it will need to install a lot more solar power. That raises an important question: Where should all those panels reside? 

They could always go live on a farm upstate.

Full article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 04, 2017, 06:51:15 pm »


Why Sunflowers   Are So Green for the Garden 

Jonathon Engels

August 4, 2017 

Sunflowers are not the typical crop that newbie gardeners think of growing, but this might be a mistake. The fact of the matter is that sunflowers are really easy to care for, and they can also lend a notable hand in the garden. Then, of course, there are all those sunflower seeds that make a delicious snack and quickly nullify the need to ever buy sunflower seeds (to sow) again.

Since long before chemical fertilizers and GMO seeds, sunflowers have been a part of agriculture, dating back to at least 3000 BC, and they have been used for all sorts of handy stuff: seeds, oil, medicine, fiber, as well as beauty. Amazingly, sunflowers can sprout up to six feet high in a matter of three months, and seeds are usually harvestable around the same time, possibly extending on to four months.

Besides being a valuable crop in and of themselves, the Helianthus — or sunflower — family is also used to help out the garden as a whole.


Any time a productive plant requires little to no inputs and virtually no care, it’s got to make it into the garden somehow. Sunflowers are prairie plants, which has made them very tough, not greatly affected by pests or by drought. They grow in just about any type of soil, and they can survive in both acidic and mildly alkaline pH levels. Once they get themselves established, they are likely there for the long haul, so gardeners won’t be using resources to get (and keep) those sunflowers up. Now that is green gardening.

Living Fences

Many people choose to grow living fences. This is sometimes done with cane berries or nitrogen-fixing trees, but sunflowers are another viable option. The great thing about living fences is that they don’t require milled, often virgin wood and steel production. They are just plants, providing more beauty for the garden while defining borders and providing protection.

Just remember not to completely block the sun from the other crops. Putting tall sunflowers on the south side of the garden might not be a great idea. Otherwise, planting them about six inches apart will supply a living fence around the garden or even between beds.

Free Garden Stake  ;D

Another popular sunflower function is acting as a free garden stake for climbing vines, such as cucumbers and tomatoes. Unfortunately, sunflowers and green beans — the original garden stake dweller — are known to not be so great of friends. Regardless, sunflowers, like corn, are tall and spindly, so they make great garden stakes for other plants, and they don’t require any extra material. In fact, they can just be composted after the harvest. On the flip side, lettuce likes to grow in the shade of the towering sunflowers.

Natural Repellent

Beloved (and recently departed) permaculturist, Toby Hemenway, authored a great book — Gaia’s Garden — in which he recommended using Helianthus maximaliani, or Maximilian sunflower, as a deer repellent. Otherwise, despite being beautiful animals and welcomed by many into their yards, deer will gladly ransack a garden and strip it down to nearly nothing.

Pest Distraction

More than a repellent, sunflowers are often grown for the quality of distracting pests, specifically aphids, away from other, more tender crops, like tomatoes.

Ants , which feed on the aphid-produced honeydew, will encourage and protect aphid colonies to live on sunflowers. It’s one of nature’s outstanding things. No pesticides required.

Beneficial Attraction

Sunflowers are also a new green option because they are particularly attractive to bees and other beneficial, pollen-collecting insects and hummingbirds.

As most of us are aware by now, the bees need all the help they can get, so if planting sunflowers did nothing more than that, it’d be worth it. Of course, we know that they do much, much more.

Lady Bug Convention

Soil Cleansing

Sunflowers are noted as being allelopathic , which means that they emit a chemical that prevents other plants from propagating nearby. In the garden, potatoes and beans are particularly susceptible, so be aware of that. But, this is what makes them so good for garden borders, as they’ll block weeds from growing in. Sunflowers also aid phytoremediation, which is a process that cleans contaminated soils. It’s even been used as an effective soil cleaner in really damaged sites like Chernobyl and post-Katrina New Orleans.

Of course, many people grow sunflowers for the simple fact that they are stunning, massive flowers that brighten up the scene. Whatever your reason, get them in the garden after the last spring frost and expect to harvest into the fall. Lots of people, especially in areas with long frost-free seasons, will plant a new crop every two weeks to have continuous blooms in the fall. Ain’t it grand when being green just works out so well.   

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 01, 2017, 07:28:47 pm »

The Future of Food

Have they really patented nature? ???

For 200 years, congress and the patent office did not allow for the patenting of life, for any part of nature. Food crops were deliberately excluded from patenting on moral grounds. In 1978 a patent on a genetically engineered microbe did go through for the first time-- because the corporation (General Electric) took it all the way to the Supreme Court after it was denied by the patent office. It passed by a majority of one vote.

This opened the floodgates for genetic engineering. Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety explains that companies like Monsanto now have the power to own and control the species of the earth. They have patented genes- and this means they legally "own" for example, the animals being modified. They own the patents on seeds which of course means that they control the food.

This video puts a spotlight on all the surrounding issues- for ex:, the government has a seed bank, that is kept for the purpose of insuring the continuation of all our plant species. Whatever seeds are not patented- Monsanto goes in and patents them! Then they can control that crop in perpetuity. Now Monsanto has spent 8 billion dollars buying up the seed companies.

Much to learn here-- and much to fight for. Nothing less than the future of our food.... and the genes of ALL plant and animal species, including, yes, humans...

--Bibi Farber

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 03, 2017, 08:45:08 pm »

German Nonprofit Creates New Open Source License for Seeds 

Friday, June 30, 2017

By Nithin Coca, Shareable | Interview


Why is having a special license with definable rights so important to protecting seeds and promoting diversity in global agriculture?

Our license is quite radical. It says that if a seed is licensed, this seed, and all further developments and modifications [of that seed] fall under this license. So this means you start a chain of contracts -- if the person who has got the seed is giving further developments of this seed to a third person, he becomes a licenser, which means he or she is licensing a new variety

In theory, this can be indefinite. There is no way back to private domain. [Our license] does not allow any seed company to take the seed, use it for breeding, and put a patent on it. You can work with us, you can earn your money with it, but you have no exclusivity.

This is important because we are living in a time of not only privatization of genetic resources, but the monopolization of genetic resources. Big companies, they are interested in producing few varieties and extending and distributing these varieties for large acreages -- the larger the acreage, the larger their return through royalties.

But what we need is diversity in production, diversity in genetic resources, and we need diversity in breeders. It is a danger if you are depending on a few companies -- because they tend towards uniformity, their energy for creating innovation is decreasing because competition is getting less and less. They are also producing variety that do not respond to the needs we have. For example, these big seed companies do not provide what is needed for adaptation to climate change.

Monsanto and Bayer, for example, you will have a concentration of a company which has dominating position in producing pesticides and herbicides, and dominating the seed sector -- they will link these two businesses together. They will produce seeds that correspondent with sales of agrochemicals. But in agriculture we need less pesticides, more agroecology. We need genetic resources and plants that fight pest and diseases by resistance, not by chemicals.

Can you tell me a bit about what it means if a farmer uses an open-source seed rather than a private, or corporate alternative?

License, first all of all says, there is no limitation to the use of this seed by the farmer. The only limitation is to refrain from privatization. Commercial seeds have become extremely costly, but the other point which is more important, the characteristics of a variety are not fully meeting the needs farmers have today.

And this applies, in particular, to small farmers in the world who are not able to pay the high costs of seeds for seeds from the big companies, or who may not need the varieties which are offered.

Full interview:   

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 05, 2017, 02:00:33 pm »


In the years 2000 to 2008, worldwide consumption of biodegradable plastics based on starch, sugar, and cellulose – so far the three most important raw materials – has increased by 600%.[32] The NNFCC predicted global annual capacity would grow more than six-fold to 2.1 million tonnes by 2013.[30] BCC Research forecasts the global market for biodegradable polymers to grow at a compound average growth rate of more than 17 percent through 2012. Even so, bioplastics will encompass a small niche of the overall plastic market, which is forecast to reach 500 billion pounds (220 million tonnes) globally by 2010.[33]

Agelbert NOTE:The "NICHE" that bioplastics are occupying will grow to destroy the fossil fuel based plastics plastic poisons simply because bioplastics are sustainable AND cheaper now.


At one time bioplastics were too expensive for consideration as a replacement for petroleum-based plastics.The lower temperatures needed to process bioplastics and the more stable supply of biomass combined with the increasing cost of crude oil make bioplastics price [34] more competitive with regular plastics.


Biodegradable bioplastics are used for disposable items, such as packaging and catering items (crockery, cutlery, pots, bowls, straws). They are also often used for bags, trays, containers for fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat, bottles for soft drinks and dairy products, and blister foils for fruit and vegetables.

Nondisposable applications include mobile phone casings, carpet fibres, and car interiors, fuel line and plastic pipe applications, and new electroactive bioplastics are being developed that can be used to carry electrical current.[5] In these areas, the goal is not biodegradability, but to create items from sustainable resources.

Medical implants made of PLA, which dissolve in the body, save patients a second operation. Compostable mulch films for agriculture, already often produced from starch polymers, do not have to be collected after use and can be left on the fields.[6]


Bioplastic Car Parts

In constructing the Prius, Toyota used a new range of plant-derived ecological bioplastics, made out of cellulose derived from wood or grass instead of petroleum. The two principal crops used are kenaf and ramie. Kenaf is a member of the hibiscus family, a relative to cotton and okra; ramie, commonly known as China grass, is a member of the nettle family and one of the strongest natural fibres, with a density and absorbency comparable to flax.
Toyota says this is a particularly timely breakthrough for plant-based eco-plastics because 2009 is the United Nations’ International Year of Natural Fibres, which spotlights kenaf and ramie among others.[56]


Prius bioplastic parts

Polylactic acid (PLA) plastics can replace petrochemical-based mass plastics (e.g. PET, PS or PE)

Mulch film made of polylactic acid (PLA)-blend bio-flex

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a transparent plastic produced from corn[12] or dextrose. It not only resembles conventional petrochemical-based mass plastics (like PET, PS or PE) in its characteristics, but it can also be processed on standard equipment that already exists for the production of some conventional plastics. PLA and PLA blends generally come in the form of granulates with various properties, and are used in the plastic processing industry for the production of films, fibers, plastic containers, cups and bottles.

A pen made with bioplastics (Polylactide, PLA) 

Tea bags made from PLA

Packaging air pillow made of PLA-blend bio-flex

A bioplastic shampoo bottle made of PLA-blend bio-flex


Biopolymer BHP can replace petroplastic polypropylene

Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB)

The biopolymer poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) is a polyester produced by certain bacteria processing glucose, corn starch[13] or wastewater.[14] Its characteristics are similar to those of the petroplastic polypropylene. The South American sugar industry, for example, has decided to expand PHB production to an industrial scale. PHB is distinguished primarily by its physical characteristics. It produces transparent film at a melting point higher than 130 degrees Celsius, and is biodegradable without residue.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are linear polyesters produced in nature by bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids. They are produced by the bacteria to store carbon and energy. In industrial production, the polyester is extracted and purified from the bacteria by optimizing the conditions for the fermentation of sugar. More than 150 different monomers can be combined within this family to give materials with extremely different properties. PHA is more ductile and less elastic than other plastics, and it is also biodegradable. These plastics are being widely used in the medical industry.


How to tell if plastic was made from fossil fuels or plants: Fossil fuel derived plastic has NO carbon-14!

Biobased – ASTM D6866

The ASTM D6866 method has been developed to certify the biologically derived content of bioplastics. Cosmic rays colliding with the atmosphere mean that some of the carbon is the radioactive isotope carbon-14. CO2 from the atmosphere is used by plants in photosynthesis, so new plant material will contain both carbon-14 and carbon-12. Under the right conditions, and over geological timescales, the remains of living organisms can be transformed into fossil fuels. After ~100,000 years all the carbon-14 present in the original organic material will have undergone radioactive decay leaving only carbon-12. A product made from biomass will have a relatively high level of carbon-14, while a product made from petrochemicals will have no carbon-14. The percentage of renewable carbon in a material (solid or liquid) can be measured with an accelerator mass spectrometer.[41][42]


Plastic made from plants is NOT a guarantee of biodegradability

There is an important difference between biodegradability and biobased content. A bioplastic such as high density polyethylene (HDPE)[43] can be 100% biobased (i.e. contain 100% renewable carbon), yet be non-biodegradable. These bioplastics such as HDPE nonetheless play an important role in greenhouse gas abatement, particularly when they are combusted for energy production. The biobased component of these bioplastics is considered carbon-neutral since their origin is from biomass.


Agelbert NOTE:[/b] As I've said before, products from corn for plastics or biofuel are a bad deal. At the end of the wikipeda bioplastics article, a "study" from scientists in 2010 cautions against corn based bioplastics because they are so polluting from the pesticide and CO2 releasing properties  (as if petrochemical fuels and plastics weren't measurably MORE polluting... ??? ).

Sure. That's why BIG OIL wants us to keep using that corn for ethanol and bioplastics!  ;) It's never going to be competitive! Corn uses pesticides and plowing. The plastics made from the corn starch will have pesticide residue. Growing corn is an excellent way to ruin top soil and is second only to fossil fuels (because it uses so much of them) in biosphere damage. :P  >:(

This is stupid when, duckweed, hemp, sugar cane, switchgrass, Kenaf , a member of the hibiscus family, a relative to cotton and okra and  Ramie, commonly known as China grass, a member of the nettle family and one of the strongest natural fibres, with a density and absorbency comparable to flax are all available, easier to grow WITHOUT PESTICIDES and provide a much higher EROEI.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 21, 2017, 07:54:10 pm »

What You Didn't Know About Soil...But Should     

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 17, 2017, 04:44:17 pm »

Argentina’s Rising Grains Production Strands Vessels in River Traffic

February 16, 2017 by Reuters

Ships used to carry grains for export are seen next to a dredging boat (L) on the Parana river near Rosario, Argentina, January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (at article link)
Reuters By Hugh Bronstein

ROSARIO, Argentina, Feb 16 (Reuters) – When a boat carrying soy oil destined for India ran aground on the Parana River near Buenos Aires in late January, ships loaded with most of Argentina’s grains exports were blocked for hours.

It was the latest accident on one of the world’s great food highways, which is straining to carry rising volumes of Argentine agricultural products embarking on the first leg of the journey from the fields of the Pampas to the feeding troughs of cattle, pigs and chickens worldwide.

Increasing congestion on the Parana, which carries 80 percent of Argentina’s grains exports, could hamper President Mauricio Macri’s efforts to expand farm output and pull the country out of recession.

Macri wants Argentina to grow 25 percent more grains to boost rural income and has cut export taxes to attract more investment in the sector. But to haul all that grain to market, Macri needs the log jams on the river to end.

The government is studying how to accommodate the growing flotilla plying the waterway without driving up shipping costs – which could cancel out the benefits of the export tax cut to farmers and agricultural businesses.

“The entire river system is at its current limit,” said Koen Robijns, Argentine operations manager for Jan De Nul, the privately-owned, Luxemburg-based company that operates the Parana and is responsible for dredging.

The grounding in January made commerce grind to a halt, Robijns said in an interview aboard one of the company’s dredging vessels near Argentina’s main grains hub of Rosario, some 300 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires.

“Every ship behind it, all the way up to Rosario, had to stop or slow down for more than an hour,” he said.

Efforts to develop the waterway to carry more of Argentina’s burgeoning exports, however, could be delayed by negotiations between the channel’s operator and the traders that ship grain along it.

Jan De Nul favors dredging the channel deeper. The firm declined to provide an estimate on how much that would cost, but the shippers say the bill would be billions of dollars. That would likely mean an increase in the toll, currently $3 per net tonne, which the shippers would pass on by paying the farmers less for their grains.

The world’s largest bulk grains traders Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus Company and ADM – who together ship much of the grain exported via the Parana – would prefer the less expensive option of widening the river at trouble spots, said two industry groups representing the shippers and traders using the waterway.

The industry groups declined to give an estimate on how much cheaper it would be to widen rather than deepen the river.

“Rather than dredging deeper, we need wider curves in places where vessels have run aground,” said Guillermo Wade, a spokesman for the Rosario-based maritime chamber.

Macri’s government says it aims to cut the cost of exporting grains by 30 percent, including lowering tolls on waterways. But the government has not said yet which option it favors, and is unlikely to do so until a report on the project is completed.

Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus declined to comment. ADM, in a statement, said it “supports the expansion of the Parana River and Paraguay-Parana waterway to meet the growth needs of the entire region.”

The company did not specify how the river should be expanded.


Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soymeal feed for animals  :o, key to global meat production and meeting the protein needs of a global population growing toward 9 billion. The South American country is also the world’s third-largest supplier of corn and soybeans and the seventh largest supplier of wheat.

Macri’s government expects farm output of 130 million tonnes this season, up from 123 million before he took office. Macri is targeting 150 million tonnes by the end of his first term in late 2019.

Groundings are becoming more common as exporters, under pressure to haul as much grain as possible, often overload vessels. There were 15 groundings on the waterway last year, up from 12 in 2015 and nine the previous year, according to port data.

The January accident took place in the Mitre section of the Parana, just north of the capital city Buenos Aires.

Theresa Success

The same vessel, the Theresa Success, ran aground near Rosario several days earlier. That time, it took longer for tug boats to pry the vessel loose, but traffic was able to move around the blockage as the river was wider there.

Baltzer, the vessel’s Rosario-based shipping agency, declined to comment on the groundings.

Other incidents have seen ships stuck for days while floating cranes arrive to unload cargo until vessels are light enough to float.


Jan De Nul has had the Parana concession since 1995. The contract ends in 2021, and the company wants to renew it.

The toll it charges for plying the waterway is negotiated by Jan De Nul, the port terminal owners and the government.

The Parana’s shipping canal is maintained at 34 feet from the ocean to the port of San Martin, 35 kilometers north of Rosario, said Pieter Jan De Nul, an area manager for the company and son of its owner.

The firm could easily dredge to 36 feet, he said.

The additional two feet of depth would allow larger vessels carrying several thousand tonnes more cargo to load in Rosario before heading out to sea, he said. Larger cargoes would reduce shipping costs.

Currently, traders have to load part of their cargo in Rosario and then stop to add more in deep-water Atlantic ports before heading into international waters. That means additional port and loading costs, as well as longer shipping times.

The privately-owned Rosario Grains Exchange favors deepening, because larger ships could load and therefore fewer vessels would be needed to carry the rising volume of grains.

“Everyone wins with the deepening of the Parana River,” analysts for the exchange said in a report.

Deputy Transport Secretary Jorge Metz said the service on the river needs to improve, as delays can cost shippers $40,000 to $50,000 a day, a cost that is eventually passed on to farmers.

Decades of underinvestment in roads and rail have made transportation one of the biggest costs faced by growers, said Martin Fraguio, executive director of the Maizar corn industry chamber.

“Argentina has the possibility of increasing its farm production enormously,” he said. “We need the Parana to be as competitive as possible, as soon as possible.” (Additional reporting by Caroline Stauffer; editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 17, 2017, 06:36:03 pm »

World’s Last Intact Forests Are Becoming Increasingly Fragmented
by Susan Minnemeyer Susan Minnemeyer, Peter Potapov and Lars Laestadius - January 17, 2017

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 10, 2017, 08:48:38 pm »

Regenerative Agriculture Can Help Solve Many of Our Problems


Around the world, farmers are waking up to the many adverse effects of industrialized agriculture. While chemicals and machines have allowed farms to expand and increase production, there's growing awareness about how these strategies harm the soil, ecology and, ultimately, human health.

As a result, a growing number of farmers are transitioning over to more sustainable and regenerative methods that do not rely so heavily on chemical and technological means. While regenerative strategies may appear "novel" to born-and-raised city slickers, it's really more of a revival of ancestral knowledge. In the video above, Dr. Joel Gruver demonstrates sustainable agriculture techniques taking place at Allison Farm, the largest organic research farm in Illinois.

Regenerative agriculture — which includes strategies such as crop rotation, diversification, cover crops, no-till, agroforestry and integrated herd management — can help rehabilitate land turned to desert, improve water management and protect water quality. It also eliminates the need for toxic fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.15 Importantly, by improving soil quality, regenerative farmers can produce more nutrient-dense foods.

You can also consider attending a Regeneration International event of webinar. Regeneration International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving soil fertility and biodiversity through regenerative agriculture techniques. Click below for a list of upcoming events.

Lengthy article:

Industrial Farming Threatens Food Security in the US

January 10, 2017 | 72,055 views

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 09, 2017, 05:29:56 pm »

"Drive-ins are more dangerous than drive-by shootings."

America's inner cities are "food deserts"

Food is the problem and food is the solution
If I picked a video of the year, this would be it.

 A simple solution to many, many problems.

 Los Angeles owns 26 square miles of vacant lots . That's the equivalent of 20 Central Parks.

 So what are they doing with them?

 Nothing - but they will "cite" you if you try to grow anything useful or beautiful on them.

 Take aways:

 "If kids grow kale, they eat kale."

 "Growing your own food is like printing your own money."

 So basic. So sane. 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 29, 2016, 01:18:31 pm »

Urban Rooftop Farm Sells Shares ;D

Here's a rooftop garden that's feeding about 10 families.

They are called Community Growers in Milwaukee, WI. They are operating as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) meaning they sell shares of the harvest on a subscription basis throughout the growing season. They even sell to the local health food store across the street.

Owner Erik Lindberg is on a mission: To grow organic vegetables and fruits in an urban environment, to promote local food production as an alternative to agri-business and corporate food distribution, to innovate new and better methods for urban farming, to provide leadership in urban farming and inspire others to grow their own food, to provide successful models of local business, to advise and coach other aspiring urban farmers, to install additional urban farms and gardens, and to green his city wherever he can.

Water is an issue because of the additional heat on the roof, and the lettuce may wilt early. But the rooftop tomatoes came up a week before all the land grown tomatoes! It's all a learning process.

Most important: this was previously useless space, now growing food.     

 --Bibi Farber

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 11, 2016, 07:20:31 pm »

Call for new dairy model in Vermont sparks debate

Dec. 9, 2016, 5:51 pm by Mike Polhamus 11 Comments


The letter calls for the state to “support and facilitate the necessary statewide transition to regenerative and organic dairy production,” although several signers said that wouldn’t necessarily involve every farm practicing fully organic methods.

Rather, they say, they seek to model a program after what’s been done with organic products, where some set of higher standards differentiates Vermont’s milk and commands a premium.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 07, 2016, 07:43:53 pm »

Organic Pest Control

Strike The Balance 

 80% of the bugs in your garden are good bugs. They are beneficial because they eat other harmful bugs, like the ones eating your crops.

 Scott Myer, the editor of Organic Gardening Magazine explains in this video that you don't need to panic when you see pests. They are not all doing harm.

 Some simple products he shows us to target specific pests are peppermint oil and garlic oil. Learn about his great secret for grub control. Great tip: you can use a synthetic fabric called a row cover -- they're light enough to rest on the plants and allow light, water and even fertilizer to get through.

 Why not attract more birds to eat the bugs? Just offer them a bird bath! You can also plant more flowers to attract the good bugs.

 Of course using chemical pesticides does nothing but harm everything in it's path- along with the bugs it's successfully killing.

 As the study of permaculture teaches us -- it's all about observing and helping our growing environments achieve optimum balance and symbiosis. So maybe you don't have a bug problem - but perhaps you have a bird shortage?

 -- Bibi Farber

 This video was produced by Howdini.com

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 04, 2016, 04:09:34 pm »

We Can Now Grow Food Anywhere 

 The High Density Vertical Growth (HDVG) system seems like space age farming. The crops grow on something that looks like large plastic panels used to store shoes vertically in a closet.

 They're indoors a controlled environment, moving on an overhead conveyor system that is designed to provide maximum sunlight and precisely correct nutrients to each plant.

 Glen Kertz, CEO of Valcent Products explains that this system only uses 1/20th the amount of water needed for conventional agriculture.

 "We do intensive agriculture that is renewable and sustainable in an urban environment... this system can work in the desert in Las Vegas, rooftops in New York, it can be in a building or a basement."

 His company operates year round production. No pests and no weeds-- so it's easy to skip the fertilizers and pesticides.

 They can even grow potatoes, beets and carrots in these futuristic sheets of rotating vegetables! And indeed, they can grow them anywhere...

 --Bibi Farber

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 20, 2016, 01:16:44 pm »

Liquid Gold: Why Flushing a Toilet Is a Colossal Waste   

It’s not just a misuse of water; nitrogen and phosphorus are also squandered in the process.
By Jaimie Seaton

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 14, 2016, 01:54:06 pm »

As a non-expert armchair theorist, I still believe the best purification method for compost is through solar ovens to bake the compost and break up any complex polymers that might be biologically harmful into smaller constituent parts, which then can be reassembled into new molecules by the given organism that ingests them.  Adjusting the temperature and how long you bake would make it possible to only break down as far as necessary and still have good precursors to work with and not have to synthesize everything from scratch.

Most if not all pesticides would be rendered harmless this way.  About the only harmful things that would remain are heavy metals that got into the process in some way, mercury, lead etc.



Sunflowers are a proven way to leach the soil of heavy metals. They have done it in inner city lots now used to grow veggies in Detroit. For heavy metal polluted stagnant water bodies like ponds and lakes, Lemna minor (duckweed) has also been successfully used.  8)
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 14, 2016, 01:51:26 pm »

No disrespect intended, Doctor, but I think Geoff Lawton knows a bit more about this than you. In the 2 minute video which I hope you watched,  ;), he specifically said that this was conditional on the amount of toxins present (he referenced pesticide sprayed vegetable residue being added to a compost pile). Obviously, if the percentage is high, it would not be effective in removing all the toxins. So, you are partially right. But Geoff is totally right. Some time ago I learned that horse manure is much poorer than cow or chicken manure for composting. I hope you are aware of that. I suggest you watch the full soils movie. It will help you expand your knowledge on this subject. 8)


Nasturium officinale
Watercress is one of the most sensitive crops when it comes to toxins.  If you can grow watercress in your compost, you should have no trouble growing anything else with it.  If a small batch of watercress dies when apply some compost/tea, you probably want to let it mature longer before using it.


Smart people will listen to you. But there are always those with over inflated egos who do not take correction gracefully.

Proverbs 17:

9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

10 A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.

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