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Topic Summary

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:43:19 pm »



What is a free-flowing river?

SNIPPET:

A free-flowing river is largely unaffected by human-made changes to its flow and connectivity. Water, silt, and other natural materials can move along unobstructed. Animals, such as river dolphins and migratory fish, can swim up and down stream at will. And the river itself can swell and shrink naturally, flow at an organic volume and rate, and replenish groundwater sources. 

Full educational article with multiple animation graphics: 🌼

https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/free-flowing-rivers
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 08, 2018, 08:43:25 pm »

🌺 🌻 🌼 🌷 🌱 🌲 🌳 🌴

Agelbert NOTE: Fantastic work is being done by the Rainforest Alliance. Don't miss this report with spectacular photographs.

🌎 rainforest-alliance.org

ANNUAL REPORT

2017 Annual Report

Published on February 1, 2018

Our alliance reaches far and wide across the globe. In this report, we profile members of our extended family who bring our mission to life in critical tropical hot spots. Their work to transform agriculture and conserve high-value forests delivers tangible climate benefits to the rest of the world.

Click on the image below to browse the interactive version, or download the PDF.


https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-02/AR2017.pdf
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 19, 2017, 12:55:09 pm »

Quote
By Dr. Mercola

For decades, food production has been all about efficiency and lowering cost. We now see what this approach has brought us — diminishing food quality, skyrocketing disease statistics and a faltering ecosystem. Regenerative agriculture that makes use of cover crops, no-till and herbivore grazing actually contributes to improved soil health and fertility.

An interesting study that highlights the importance of grazing animals found that reindeer grazing on shrubs on the Arctic tundra actually help combat abnormal weather patterns on a global scale by increasing surface albedo, the amount of solar energy being reflected back into space.1 Overall, it’s become quite clear that regenerative agriculture is the only truly viable way forward, as factory farming is making everything worse.

Indeed, 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. According to data from the University of Michigan’s Global Change Program, a whopping 96 percent of the soil erosion in North America is caused by food production.2

Healthy Eating Has Environmental Benefits


Read more:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/12/19/mcdonalds-regenerative-agriculture.aspx
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 08, 2017, 08:52:06 pm »

EcoWatch

December 8, 2017

By  Lorraine Chow

Underground Farm Pays Rent in Heat it Supplies to Building Above 


SNIPPET:

Vertical farms have been touted as a way to feed a rapidly urbanizing world population (I've waxed poetic about them myself.) Critics of the trending technology, however, contend that these energy-intensive hubs are too costly and perhaps impractical to maintain.

Sure, the naysayers have a point, but what if vertical farms did more than just feed mouths? In Stockholm, Sweden, the Plantagon CityFarm located in the basement of the iconic DN-Skrapan building in the Kungsholmen district has a whole other purpose besides nourishing the office workers on site—the farm also recycles its heat to warm the offices above.

Full article:

https://www.ecowatch.com/underground-farm-sweden-2515934438.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: November 20, 2017, 02:03:42 pm »

Medieval Manuscripts: Bread in the 15th-century

NOVEMBER 17, 2017 BY NATALIE ANDERSON

By Eberhard König and Carlos Miranda García-Tejedor

SNIPPET:

The situation in the miniature of brown bread (f. 61v) is completely different: the setting is the public bakery, the sort that used to exist in towns and villages. Several balls of dough can be seen on boards mounted on trestles. A group of women has gone to bake their bread; one of them uses a pallet to put the two loaves into the oven. The baked bread, easily distinguished from the white dough on the boards, is put into a large basket.


Photo courtesy Moleiro Editor

Original description of the miniature f. 61:

Panis opus.
Complexio: calida in 2º.
Electio: qui minus habet furfuris et steterit per noctem ante coctionem.
Iuuamentum: optemperat uentrem.
Nocumentum: inducit pruritum et scabiem.
Remotio nocumenti: cum copanagio unctuoso.
Quid generat: nutrimentum bonum. Conuenitomnibus complexionibus etatibus temperatibus et regionibus habitatis.
   


Brown bread.
Nature: hot in the second degree.
Optimum: with little crust and risen overnight before baking.
Benefit: it moves the bowels. ;D
Harm: it causes itching and scabies.
Remedy for harm: with fatty food.
Effects: good food. Advisable for all temperaments, ages, seasons and inhabited regions

Full article: 

http://www.medievalists.net/2017/11/medieval-manuscripts-bread-15th-century/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 29, 2017, 05:01:14 pm »

The Ron Finley Project “Gangsta Garden” Is Officially Saved!

Published on April 28, 2017

John Foraker President at Annie's Inc.

On Friday, April 28th PST, the Ron Finley Project officially became the debt-free, 100% title holder of its’ South Central Los Angeles headquarters and garden where the very first seeds of this global movement were planted in 2010. This is the garden where Ron’s mission will live on. Because after an epic battle, Ron Finley now controls his destiny! Over the past few weeks, nearly 3,000 individuals, leaders and companies from across the Natural & Organic Food industry came together to do the right and necessary thing for both Ron Finley and his mission. I am personally so moved and proud of all the people here at Annie’s who worked so hard to get the message out for Ron, and who played such an integral role in averting a terrible injustice.

Since we announced our campaign to help save Ron’s garden on the afternoon of March 30th, we took this effort very seriously. We immediately grabbed our megaphones and took to social media to share on all channels, all the while pulling every influence string that we could think of. Justin Perkins and Care2 helped us create a wildly successful petition and lots of noise. Industry friends Robyn O’Brien, Max Goldberg, Ashley Koff, along with all-star PR firm Covet Communications and their leader Sara Brooks helped us amplify the message to create awareness of this injustice. This was “all-in” effort to help the Ron Finley Project raise the $550,000 it eventually took to buy the property from the current owner who has been working aggressively to evict Ron and his operation. An eviction almost happened late last week, and was only circumvented because so many people and companies stepped up at up at the critical hour to raise the money necessary to stop it.     

At Annie’s, we’ve always admired Ron’s bold message of individual empowerment, encouraging the people in his community and everywhere to get out there, “plant some sh it”, grow some food, and take control of their own health. Ron’s project works to directly address and raise awareness of the pervasive problem of food deserts in communities across the US and the world. Educating people and encouraging them to make better food choices for their own health & well-being is also an important part of the equation. As Ron says: “If kids grow kale, kids will eat kale, and if kids grow tomatoes, they will eat tomatoes.” No doubt, they will. We know that there are very few ways to truly bring about a generational shift in health. But we believe that educating kids about real food and encouraging them to get their hands dirty in a garden is one of the most powerful ways to do so. Now that Ron has this eviction and legal battle behind him, he is free to build on this message and movement, and to make an even greater impact on the planet for years to come.

It wasn’t only Ron’s incredible mission we were rallying for – we also rallied for Ron because we believe in the importance of social justice and the inherent power of business to show leadership, do real good, and drive positive social and environmental impact.  Ron’s story showcases the terrible impact of real estate foreclosures in communities like his. These events shatter lives, break up families, and disrupt communities in ways that are unimaginable to most people. Fortunately, Ron was able to face that threat bravely and win. Ron won because of his great work, and the desire of many kind individuals to help fight for him, his garden, and his powerful vision for the future. Most people facing this situation are not so fortunate. I’m really proud that our industry stood up for him, and social justice, to avert a disaster here.  It's the obligation of all companies and leaders in the natural & organic space to fight for core principles we all believe in: expanding awareness and accessibility to better food options, while also driving a socially just economy that improves the economic well being of ALL people in ALL neighborhoods…from the inner city to rural farm communities.

I want to thank Nell Newman for getting in there very early and fighting for Ron. Without your contribution and your early efforts to build momentum and raise awareness for this fight, none of this would have happened.  Another big shout out goes to Bette Midler, who not only made a large financial contribution, but who also spread the word through her huge social network to raise awareness of this effort.

I’d like to thank many of the leading companies and leaders from the natural & organic industry for coming to bat and supporting Ron’s cause. There are (thankfully) too many brands and individuals to mention here, but some of the bigger contributors of $ and social effort to this phase of the campaign deserve a special shout out: Annie’s, Califia Farms, Patagonia, Dr. Bronner’s, 301, Inc, Siggi’s Dairy, , REBBL, Suja, Gary Hirshberg, John Replogle, Rhythm Superfoods, Sweetgreen, Horizon Organic, Good Culture, Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP, Presence Marketing, VMG Partners, Applegate, Farmhouse Culture, New Hope, Andrew Whitman, United Natural Foods, Back To The Roots, and Clif Bar & Company who literally came in this week and pushed the entire effort over the top so that we could close the transaction as planned! Without all of your leadership, and the generosity of many others, this wouldn’t have been possible.   

Additionally, today we at Annie’s are very excited to announce a new three-year commitment to the Ron Finley Project for $20,000 each year. This ongoing financial support is our way of thanking Ron for all he’s done and to also help him drive his mission and message far and wide. I’d encourage others that came to the table in this campaign to also consider continued financial support for Ron Finley Project.
Quote
Now let’s watch this beautiful garden grow and expand Ron’s positive impact the world in beautiful ways for years to come!     

Best, JF

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ron-finley-project-gangsta-garden-officially-saved-john-foraker
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 19, 2016, 07:48:18 pm »

Paignton Zoo's Hydroponic Farm


Customized Food For Perfect Nutrition   
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, in Paignton, Devon, England has a hydroponic system for growing food for the animals.

 The crops rotate in a robotic system optimized to provide an even level of sunlight for each tray. They are even able to grow plants that would be native to the environment for their exotic animals from all over the world.

 "We have a duty to promote sustainable uses of resources." says head gardener at the zoo, Catherine Mortimer.

 "Hydroponics is a great system for growing crops because it optimizes the food and water that the plant gets which maximizes the speed that the crop can grow and maximizes the nutrients that are going to be contained within that crop which is really important for captive animals." says head gardener at the zoo, Catherine Mortimer.

 The Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a combined zoo and botanic garden that welcomes over half a million visitors a year.

 --Bibi Farber

 For more information visit: http://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk This video is produced by: www.sciencesowhat.direct.gov.uk/future-jobs

 http://www.nextworldtv.com/videos/innovations/paignton-zoos-hydroponic-farm.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 16, 2016, 06:34:42 pm »


Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future

Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment Eleven

by Janet Ranganathan, Daniel Vennard, Richard Waite, Brian Lipinski, Tim Searchinger, Patrice Dumas, Agneta Forslund, Hervé Guyomard, Stéphane Manceron, Elodie Marajo-Petitzon, Chantal Le Mouël, Petr Havlik, Mario Herrero, Xin Zhang, Stefan Wirsenius, Fabien Ramos, Xiaoyuan Yan, Michael Phillips and Rattanawan Mungkung - April 2016


Installment 11 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future shows that for people who consume high amounts of meat and dairy, shifting to diets with a greater share of plant-based foods could significantly reduce agriculture’s pressure on the environment.

It introduces a protein scorecard ranking foods from lowest (plant-based foods) to highest impact (beef), as well as the Shift Wheel, which harnesses proven marketing and behavior change strategies to help move billions of people to more sustainable diets.

http://www.wri.org/publication/shifting-diets
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 31, 2016, 06:59:47 pm »


Watch (at story link) : How Ugly Vegetables Get Turned Into Renewable Energy

by Whitney Filloon Jul 26, 2016, 3:30p @whitneyfilloon .

An energy company transforms food waste into methane


America's food waste problem can't be overstated: More than one-third of all food intended for human consumption in the U.S. is thrown out each year, and only a small fraction of that waste gets recycled.

A Colorado energy company is striving to make a dent in that by turning food destined for the trash into energy: Unwanted produce and recalled food is collected from restaurants and grocery stores and transported to a bio digester and composting site, where it's then transformed into renewable methane gas (AKA the stuff that powers your water heater and your kitchen stove).

Meanwhile, others have found ways combat food waste by putting surplus ingredients on restaurant menus or transforming them into other edible products, such as a bakery that uses spent grain leftover from breweries and a company that turns blemished fruit into juice.

• The Perennial Plate — Waste Not [Vimeo]

• U.S. Lawmakers Attempt to Tackle Food Waste [E]

• Meet the Entrepreneurs Making Food Waste Edible (and Profitable) [E]


http://www.eater.com/2016/7/26/12286624/food-waste-recycled-natural-gas
Quote


"Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich in trash as it is in treasures." -- Ray Bradbury
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 15, 2016, 03:32:22 pm »

Azolla: Another floating, fast growing wonder plant like duckweed with great promise in a variety of applications that will aid us in establishing a sustainable civilization. 


Azolla BioSystems Ltd

Azolla BioSystems uses a natural biological process to reduce the threat of man-made climate change by converting the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) directly into a unique free-floating plant called Azolla.


Azolla Biosystems is currently developing opportunities and commodities in eight sectors:

Design including architectural development of Azolla Hubs

Sequestration including the development of new Azolla strains

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) including Azolla’s conversion into bioplastics and biopolymers

Biofuels produced from Azolla, and its integration with the production of algoil (algal-oil) and other
renewable biofuels

Biofertilizers including its use in rice production and other crops

Livestock Feed including the production of long shelf-life Azolla pellets

Food including hydroponics, and aquaponics

Research & Development including high-value pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, bioplastics and biopolymers.


These form the basis of the Azolla BioSystem that we have developed – a flexible, modular biological system that can be adapted to local needs anywhere in the world.

We welcome your input and interest in joining us on our exciting journey.


About Azolla

Azolla is a unique freshwater fern that is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet due to its symbiotic relationship with a cyanobacterium (‘blue-green alga’) called Anabaena. Anabaena draws down the atmospheric nitrogen that fertilizes Azolla, and Azolla provides a nitrogen-filled home for Anabaena within its leaf cavities. This enables the plant to double its biomass in as little as two days free floating on water as shallow as one inch (2.4 cm).


Azolla‘s rapid growth makes it a potentially important sequester of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide which is converted directly into Azolla‘s biomass. This provides local livestock feed, biofertilizer and biofuel wherever Azolla is grown, so that this remarkable plant has the potential to help us weather the Perfect Storm – the related threats of man-made climate change and shortages of food and land as our population passes seven billion.

Why is Azolla Unique?

Azolla is unique because it is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet – yet it does not need any soil to grow. Unlike almost all other plants, Azolla is able to get its nitrogen fertilizer directly from the atmosphere. That means that it is able to produce biofertilizer, livestock feed, food and biofuel exactly where they are needed and, at the same time, draw down large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, thus helping to reduce the threat of climate change.

How is it able to do this?

Azolla and Anabaena – the Perfect Marriage

Azolla is able to do this because it has a unique mutually beneficial ‘symbiotic relationship‘ with a cyanobacterium (blue-green alga) called Anabaena.


The symbiotic relationship between Anabaena on the left and Azolla on the right.

Each partner gives something to the other in this Perfect Marriage. Because oxygen is poisonous to cyanobacteria, Azolla provides an oxygen-free environment for Anabaena within its leaves. In return, Anabaena sequesters nitrogen directly from the atmosphere which then becomes available for Azolla’s growth, freeing it from the soil that is needed by most other land plants for their nitrogen fertilization.

The oldest Azolla fossils are more than 70 million years old, representing the remains of plants that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. They occur in sediments that were deposited in quiescent freshwater bodies, such as lakes, ponds and sluggish rivers, identical to those inhabited by modern Azolla.



Fossil Azolla (left) has leaves (circled above in red) and tendrils (circled in blue) that are identical to those of modern Azolla (right). The fossil is from the Green River Formation of Colorado, dated between 50.5 and 55.5 million years. The photograph was kindly provided by Dr Ian Miller of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Several other symbioses are known between plants and cyanobacteria – for example in legumes – but the Azolla-Anabaena relationship is the only known symbiosis in which a cyanobacterium passes directly to subsequent generations via the plant’s reproductive sporangia and spores.


So Azolla and Anabaena have never been apart for 70 million years. During that Immense period of time, the two partners have co-evolved numerous complementary ways that make them increasingly efficient.

Agelbert NOTE: IF the above symbiosis has been continuous for 70 million years, I question the "co-evolve" assumption. The evidence points to the same relationship without changes. I don't see evidence of co-evolution, or evolution, for that matter, in this marvelous symbiosis of genetically disparate and unrelated life forms. It looks more like they started out the way.

The Azolla Superorganism: A unique biological system

In 2010, our Associate Francisco Carrapiço proposed that Azolla-Anabaena should be designated as a superorganism “because of its unique symbiosis in which the two partners have successful co-evolved into a system that makes important contributions to ecology, biofertilization and biotechnology” (Carrapiço, 2010).

The Challenge

The challenge, then, is to work with Azolla and use its remarkable properties to help us weather the Perfect Storm that now threatens us and the other species with whom we share our planet.
You can find more details about Azolla, its history, and its multiple uses on our information website The Azolla Foundation.

http://azollabiosystems.co.uk/

Agelbert NOTE: Azolla can be feed to chickens, cows and other livestock. Ducks love Azolla as much as they love duckwweed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9qgznNeA4M&feature=player_embedded
Baby ducks eating Azolla
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 15, 2016, 03:26:31 pm »


For those who may be a bit depressed about our Homo Hubris Civilization trajectory because it looks more like Home Erectus morphed into Homo Defectus;D


Perhaps this fellow, who lives in much less beneficent surroundings than you, sees a great deal of filth, decay and Homo defectus trashing of the biosphere in the modern inner city cluster**** day in and day out YET, is making "lemonade" out of "toxic lemons", will cheer you up.


Urban Aquaponics pioneer grows mercury free Tilapia and Lake Perch to sell to restaurants nearby. ALL the feces from the fish is used with the water to fertilize food plants grown year around. He even grows edible flowers (Nasturtiums) he sells to restaurants. He continually reuses the SAME water and has ZERO effluent from his urban farming and aquaponics system



Everything is organic with zero chemical fertilizers. He has, because of his success in sustainable urban farming in an inner city high crime area, become famous and travelled the world giving lectures and training on his sustainable business model.


Will Allen receiving Honorary Degree awarded by Marquette University.

Will Allen is evidence to me that no matter how bad things are, we must always try to make a go of it, not as some quixotic, mindless gesture of futility, but as a function of our existence. We are here for a lot of reasons; one very important one is to make sure others of our species can be here too. Don't give up on Homo "defectus". It ain't over yet.

Will Allen is now also teaching organic methods to leach city soil of heavy metals and other toxins and recreate the organic soil that was there before the city was. People like him give me hope.  I hope his efforts lighten your mood too. 

Here's a cool video about Will Allen and Urban Farming. After the video, I post a jpg as food for thought for you. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5zP4WPgcqY&feature=player_embedded





Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 15, 2016, 02:45:55 pm »

Food giants shoot for 100% renewable energy target

SNIPPET 1:

In total, fuel consumption across the food and drink industry was slashed by 65% between 1990 and 2012, according to EEA figures. 

Most of these reductions came from energy efficiency improvements, and a move towards cleaner fuels — replacing, for instance, coal and heavy fuels with gas, according to FoodDrinkEurope, an industry trade group.

In July this year, FoodDrinkEurope published an industry-wide survey. It found most European food manufacturers had started shifting to renewable energies, with 90% of respondents saying they were already using them   


SNIPPET 2:

The European Biogas Association (EBA) said it firmly opposes the incineration of organic waste coming from the food industry and households. "We strongly support minimising waste production as much as possible, in particular of edible food.

The waste from food and beverage production and residues from agriculture that cannot be avoided should be recycled in biogas plants bringing two valuable products: renewable gas for electricity, heating and transport, and organic fertilisers (similar to compost), which take valuable nutrients back to the soil.

 In addition, this process also avoids GHG emissions from reaching the atmosphere what is normally the case for untreated organic waste. Feedstock for anaerobic digestion plants is sourced locally, usually a few kilometres away from the plant, meaning that biogas is a truly decentralised energy production and a recycling method, having nothing to do with rainforests.

We welcome the initiatives of the food and drink sector to develop sustainable and efficient systems to recycle their waste."

http://worldofrenewables.net/food-giants-shoot-for-100-renewable-energy-target/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 13, 2014, 10:01:16 pm »

LEARN about the "Food Disparagement LAW". LEARN the ORWELLIAN way this LAW is used to HIDE the Big Ag Corporate TRUTH from being told to the American Public!  :o Say what? ???  If you tell the TRUTH, you are SUED for telling an "untruth" ;D.

And you are ALSO guilty  under the "Patriot" Act if you do that because FOOD is a "National Resource". HELLO FASCISM! ;D Ka Ching for the LAWYERS! Are they fighting to overturn this TRAVESTY of LAW?  NOPE! They ARE, however, making TONS of money suing anyone that DARES to tell the TRUTH about Big AG in the USA.   


Big Ag is a greater contributor to global warming than the direct burning of Fossil Fuels. Is that a reason for the fossil fuelers to cheer?    Why? ???

The CAUSE of the ocean dead zones is Chemical FERTILIZERS manufactured by the PETROLEUM INDUSTRY. So it is ALL of a piece.  And the LAW and the LAWYERS are not doing JACK **** to stop them. On the contrary, the most high powered (CIVIL) Law Firms are the HANDMAIDENS of these planet polluting, ethics challenged villains. 
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV04zyfLyN4&feature=player_embedded
Before anybody tries to BLOW OFF what is said in this video as a "conspiracy theory", try to remember that it is a TRAILER of a documentary of 90 minutes duration. Don't make rash statements. These people HAVE done their homework. Please do YOURS.   8)


Cowspiracy Exposes the Truth About Animal Agriculture
Ward Pallotta | October 10, 2014 8:57 am

A recent documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, asks why most leading environmental organizations are ignoring a leading cause of environmental damage.

In 90 minutes, co-producers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn argue that our institutional and individual attention to selected environmental issues will not make a collective difference unless we also confront the realities of animal agriculture. Animal agriculture’s environmental effects are so pervasive that apparent progress elsewhere cannot counter its destructive and growing impact.

The film suggests why protection for expanded areas of the ocean will not protect oceans or ocean animals. Growing food organically, even on a commercial scale, will not protect the land. Keeping lumber operations out of the Amazon will not save the rainforest.

Making homes more water efficient and taking short showers will not make more water available. Driving electric cars will not solve the carbon emissions problem. Installing LED lights and converting to renewable energy will not stop global warming.

Here is some of the data gathered by the producers and woven into this powerful film.

Animal agriculture uses 55 percent of the water in the U.S. American homes use five percent. One thousand gallons of water are needed to produce 1 gallon of milk. Two thousand five hundred gallons of water are needed to make one pound of beef. Growing water shortages make animal agriculture unsustainable.

Livestock uses 30 percent of the Earth’s total land mass, including nearly 50 percent of the U.S. mainland. The growing demand for animal farmland is responsible for 80 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction. (Palm oil production is second). With 160-million acres cleared or degraded annually for the animal industry, 40 percent of the rainforest will be destroyed in 20 years, affecting species survival and carbon sequestration.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. All forms of land, air and ocean transportation total 13 percent. Transportation industry air pollution is overshadowed by animal agriculture air pollution.


Seventy billion animals are raised annually worldwide.
Everyday 144 million animals are killed for food. U.S. farm animals produce 7 million pounds of excrement every minute. Our lakes, oceans and psyches cannot sustain animal agriculture.

Too many environmental groups are dodging this issue, but the cattle industry is steaming. One cattle association blogger reminds its members that it also takes a lot of water to make a T-shirt or produce a car.

Seventy-five percent of Americans consider themselves environmentalists. Only 5 percent of Americans are vegetarian or vegan, however their percentage has quintupled in five years.

The average American consumes 209 pounds of meat each year. Everyday, a person that eats a plant-based diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq. ft. of forested land, the equivalent of 20 lbs. of CO2 and one animal’s life.

This issue is an environmental advocate’s dream come true. It requires no political action money, no corporate boardroom decisions, no re-negotiated food policy, no tax incentives. When we eat meat, dairy and eggs, we feed this growing catastrophe. Change will happen as quickly as we convince each other to change what we eat. While producing his film, Kip Andersen became a vegan.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret was self-funded by the producers and crowdfunded via Indiegogo. The marketing efforts for the film depends on community organizations to sponsor the film, promote ticket sales through their networks and fill a local theater. They bear no cost, only effort, and it is working. Cowspiracy showings are accelerating all over the country—during the last two weeks in October, the film will be seen in 35 locations.

Click here for a list of upcoming events or to host a screening.

Ward Pallotta is retired from social justice, nonprofit fundraising in Cleveland, Ohio. He and his life partner, Ann Urick, are members of VegSarasota and Transition Sarasota in Sarasota, Florida, and are advocates for safe and healthy food. Nine years ago they realized they were eating dangerously and switched to a plant-based diet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqZTaaGSKg0&feature=player_embedded

http://ecowatch.com/2014/10/10/cowspiracy-exposes-animal-agriculture/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 13, 2014, 02:19:15 pm »

Growing Gourmet Mushrooms From Coffee Grounds 

Stefanie Spear | October 13, 2014 8:14 am

Here’s a company with a very noble goal: keep coffee grounds out of landfills and use them to grow gourmet mushrooms. GroCycle, the UK’s first urban mushroom farm, is a social enterprise focused on social and environmental good, rather than profit.

Started more than two years ago, GroCycle collects used coffee grounds from local UK coffee houses and takes them back to an old abandoned building to grow oyster mushrooms.

In the UK, people drink 18 million cups of coffee every day, but only 1 percent of the coffee biomass ends up in their cups, leaving plenty of nutrient-rich grounds to grow a business.

Meet Adam and Eric, and see how the GroCycle process works.

Video at link:

http://ecowatch.com/2014/10/13/gourmet-mushrooms-coffee-grounds/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 06, 2014, 09:08:34 pm »

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 07, 2014, 06:31:46 pm »

Are Weeds the Future of Food?
Lisa Palmer, Yale Environment 360 | June 7, 2014

Weeds that resemble knee-high grass grow in planter pots in a small room at a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lab just outside Washington, D.C. Light, heat and carbon dioxide reach the plants at steady levels. For more than a month, the weeds have sustained the same conditions expected to be Earth’s norm 35 years from now—carbon dioxide levels equivalent to an urban traffic jam, and temperatures tipping into the dangerous zone for the planet’s health.


On the left is bushy red rice, technically a weed, under standard growing conditions at a USDA lab near Washington, DC. On the right, red rice at the USDA lab grows taller and thicker after being exposed to elevated levels of CO2 and higher temperatures, mimicking conditions plants will face this century as the world warms. Photo credit: Lisa Palmer

But rather than choking from such treatment, the weeds—a wild plant called red rice—are thriving. The test lab mimics conditions expected around the world by 2050, when an additional 2.6 billion people will be wondering what’s for dinner.

Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, studies, among other things, weeds in food production and human health. Weeds beguile Ziska. Weeds may be the largest single limitation to global crop yield. But they also have traits that are useful to plant growth. Red rice, for instance, can adapt to more carbon dioxide and heat by producing more stems and grain—red rice has 80 to 90 percent more seed than cultivated rice.  :o


Now, plant breeders and plant physiologists are capitalizing on those traits and counting on all possible sources of genetic variation, including weedy lines of rice, to improve productivity in cultivated crop varieties. Such cross-breeding could play an important role in helping the world’s staple food crops better adapt to a warming climate.

Plant physiologists such as Ziska usually put weeds in two categories: “an unwanted or undesired plant species” and “early vegetation following soil disturbance.” Ziska thinks a third definition could be more suitable: the unloved flower. “A weed is a plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered,” he says, paraphrasing Emerson.


Ziska is not the only one with this perspective. Many scientists now believe that weeds may be part of the solution to boosting harvests in a warming world. Wild lines of wheat, oats and rice—which are, in fact, weeds—have genetic characteristics that may be useful to adapt their domesticated cousins to an uncertain future.

Why weeds? When other plants are wilting at extremes of temperature and rainfall, weeds thrive.    Ziska studies weeds for their redemptive qualities. His research in this area was bolstered on a sweltering day in an abandoned industrial lot in Baltimore, 25 miles from his USDA research center, where he observed weeds that were two to four times bigger than weeds growing on his rural test plot. The urban weeds prompted further research on weeds that could be valuable to raising crops in high-carbon, high-heat scenarios.

Ziska tries not to call red rice a weed. Sometimes he calls it skanky rice, but mostly he refers to it as wild or feral rice. All crop plants were wild at some point. They became domesticated in the same way cows and pigs became domesticated on farms: through breeding and selection. Wild and feral crop relatives are the original source of raw genetic material from which all modern crop varieties were first developed, but these reservoirs of natural variation have not been well studied.

Breeding from wild, ancestral plant populations may hold the key to creating crops of the future. Wheat breeding has already made significant progress in producing weedy lines, which have led to the cultivation of edible wheat. Because it has a large genome, wheat can incorporate traits that better withstand heat and drought. Matthew Reynolds, head of the wheat physiology program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico City, says that wheat producers are fortunate because they are slightly ahead of the curve in developing heat- and drought-resistant varieties.


The value of using wild relatives of crops as sources of environmental resilience and resistance to pests and diseases led to an estimated $115 billion in annual benefits to the world economy by 1997, primarily through increased production, according to research at Cornell University.

Although seeds are readily accessible in 1,700 gene banks throughout the world, “they are not used to their full potential in plant breeding,” said Susan McCouch, a plant geneticist at Cornell. “There are still vast reserves of valuable genes and traits hidden in low-performing wild ancestors and long forgotten early farmer varieties that can be coaxed out of these ancient plants by crossing them with higher-yielding modern relatives. These crosses give rise to families of offspring that carry a myriad of new possibilities for the future.”

McCouch says the plant breeder’s job is to utilize a combination of insight, field experience, technology and innovative breeding strategies to select the most promising offspring and prepare them for release as new varieties. The breeding system allows ancient traits and genes to be constantly recycled and recombined, giving rise to an infinite range of new possibilities with every generation.
“The same process happens in nature,” McCouch said, “but the plant breeder can bring together parents from diverse sources that would never have found each other in the wild.”

http://files.cdn.ecowatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Gealypic5-800.jpg

Wild red rice, technically a weed. The plant is hardy and aggressive. Scientists are working to breed these hardier traits of red rice into rice grown as crops, improving productivity and yields. Photo credit: USDA

Improved rice breeding has a long way to go. It takes about 10 years for a crop to go from breeding to production, and another five years to bring it to distribution to farmers. That’s because it is a painstakingly slow process to select populations of offspring that contain combinations of traits and genes that have never been utilized in agriculture before, then test their resiliency to environmental stresses.

But through such work weeds may become the unlikely hero of food production. Take red rice. As the name implies, weedy red rice looks like cultivated rice—the staple food for more than 3 billion people in the world—but it is an Asian wild grass. If it gets into a field of cultivated rice, it’s a fierce competitor. Because it looks so similar to rice, it develops incognito. It grows vigorously. It propagates quickly. As it matures, it grows taller than other rice plants.

Then the wind blows its seeds all over a field and the crop plants itself. Red rice can’t be controlled by herbicides because it is so closely related to most cultivated rice. Once it’s established in a field, it is so aggressive that it will cut a field’s rice yield by 80 percent. Within five years it can become the dominant species in a field. Technically, red rice is edible but almost impossible to harvest because once it develops a seed, the seed falls to the ground and shatters.

The goal, says Ziska, is to transfer the traits that make red rice so hardy into the more commonly cultivated rice crops.

With a growing global population projected to reach 9.6 billion by mid-century, the demand for rice and other cereals is expected to rise by 14 percent per decade. But climate change is expected to cut into some of those crop yields. Today’s high temperatures stress the rice plants, limit growth and shorten growing seasons. Increasing carbon dioxide causes weeds to outpace crop growth. Coastal deltas are major rice-growing areas worldwide, and repeated coastal flooding is worsening with rising sea levels and intensifying storms; Vietnam, one of the top exporters of rice globally, already is losing land in the Mekong Delta.

To surmount these many challenges, new tools and technologies are being developed that allow plant breeders to utilize ever-more distantly related wild and exotic relatives and to liberate the potential that remains locked up in these reservoirs of natural variation.

However, crop resilience does not come in the form of a silver bullet. “It will not be one new trait, one super crop variety or one new management system that allows us to meet the world’s demand for food,” McCouch says. “It takes time, effort and training to make significant genetic progress when utilizing these ancient sources of variation.”

But Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science said agricultural science must move quickly to keep pace with climate change. “This adaptation needs to be fast,” said Boesch. “It is not something we can gradually work on. We need to have our science to support adaptation done at the same time as the rapid change that is occurring. And that poses tremendous risks for food security.”

Ziska believes weeds will likely be a key part of the solution. “The feral cousins of today’s crops may allow us to adapt to meet food security needs,” he says. “This paradox of weeds I find fascinating. Let’s turn lemons into lemonade.”

http://ecowatch.com/2014/06/07/weeds-the-future-of-food/

Agelbert Comment:

Great Article! I just want to add the  tiniest flowering plant known to science (Lemna minor - Duckweed), also has great promise as a source of nutrition and bioremediation of the environment at the same time.

This wonder plant grows almost everywhere on earth, can be fertilized with pig feces, thereby avoiding chemical fertilizers and nitrogen waste farm runoff, grows in shallow ponds with no need of continual water resupply once the initial pond is set up, does not replace crop land because ponds can be placed over non arable land all over the world to help sequester carbon, can be used as feed for animal and nutrient supplements for humans to prevent malnutrition, have even been used as environmental markers to detect heavy metal pollutants in water and, last but not least, are a known natural water purifier (lowers the fecal coliform count to acceptable levels).

The Chinese have actually proposed Duckweed refineries because, as long as crude oil costs more that $80 a barrel, biofuel hydrocarbons form the Duckweed carbohydrates are profitable. Duckweed, unlike many cellulose biofuel plant sources is extremely low in lignin . This makes the extraction process far simpler, cheaper and more environmentally friendly that making biofuel out corn (a horrible choice only a fossil fuel lover could like) or even sugar can, which is eight times more efficient as a biofuel source than corn. Even switchgrass varieties have more lignin than Duckweed.

I am firmly convinced this humble plant is part of a human future in a viable biosphere.

Duckweed, The Little Green Plant that Could.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 04, 2014, 04:16:58 pm »

Rusty Waves of Grain



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeuP5IYP5HA&feature=player_embedded

One more reason why MONOCULTURE predatory capitalist profit worshipping agriculture at the expense of the biosphere is STUPID.  >:(

This video illustrates PERFECTLY (without wanting to do so!) the stupid, reductionist, profit mentality of "modern" (as in mono-culture idiocy) agriculture. You will note that the Melinda Gates Foundation (GMO champion for corporate profits disguised as "helping feed and protect humanity"  ;))  is funding this latest GMO target ( wheat fungus).



Why is this exactly the wrong approach? First of all, because, rather than question monoculture practice as the MAIN CAUSE of an opportunistic fungus going hog wild when a large, concentrated food source is available (something nature normally avoids in its vast plant diversity for that VERY REASON - preventing organism population unbalances in the biosphere), the scientists merely state that the fungus reproduces rapidly when "the conditions are suitable".

Well, no kidding! These worthies have a tremendous capacity for the obvious! Unfortunately, their blind spot in elementary logic is just as big! And that is, If you have a huge concentrated food supply, you just left the proven method that nature uses to keep balance in the biosphere behind! You profit loving fools are asking for a fungal, bacterial and or insect "plague" to UNDO THE UNBALANCE IN THE BIOSPHERE. Oh, but it is corporate capitalist heresy to question monoculture so the "suitable conditions" for the fungus to feast on the wheat are not considered "the problem"   

The "problem" is now the fungus!  "It's a new strain! It EVOLVED! iT'S DANGEROUS!" 

 Never mind that LOTS of opportunistic life forms in nature ALWAYS go after a concentrated food source, there's money to be made by GMOing the wheat to resist the fungus or GMOing the fungus so it won't eat the wheat!

So, these bought and paid for "luminaries" set out do us all a big "favor"  by "saving the wheat from the fungus". 

As you will see in the video, that pesky  ;D fungus has quite a few tricks up its "sleeve", so to speak. It even lives on surrounding vegetation for a while before pouncing on the wheat.

Of course, if they manage to slow the fungus down, there will be a thousand other species of life forms out there lining up to repair the UNBALANCE IN THE BIOSPHERE known as a concentrated monoculture food supply.

Scientists, because they are so abysmally ignorant (while egotistically and pridefully claiming they have nature mostly figured out - NOT!) of the incredible complexity of the biochemical processes in the biosphere, MUST work WITH the biosphere's laws, not against them. Of course the Profit over Planet IntelliMORONS don't want to hear that...   ;)


Monoculture needs to be eliminated. Various crops must grow mixed. Soil must not be plowed, perennial grains, not annuals must be grown. Then there will never be a concentrated food supply for any single organism and they, predators and prey, will balance out and NO GMO will be necessary. The HEALTH of humanity, as well as the biosphere, will then be SUSTAINABLE.



What WON'T be sustainable, is corporate GMO monoculture profit over planet. 

Pass it on. The planet you save may be your own. 





Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 13, 2014, 11:47:26 pm »

11 Edible Flowers to Grow in Your Garden
Anna Brones, Care2 | May 12, 2014 1:57 pm

It’s not just fancy chefs that can use flowers to add a little color to a meal; you too can grow your own edible flowers at home. In fact, while you may find edible flowers on sale at a farmers market every now and then, there’s nothing like walking into your garden and picking them fresh.


Nasturtiums
Calendula
Chive blossoms
Borage
Lilacs
Violets
Roses 
Squash blossoms
Basil blossoms
Fennel blossoms
Lavender


SLIDESHOW  and HOW TO PREPARE AND EAT THEM at link: ;D
http://ecowatch.com/2014/05/12/11-edible-flowers-garden/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 12, 2014, 01:25:32 am »

LEDs Can Triple the Efficiency of Greenhouse Lighting  ;D

Solid-state lighting could improve the world food supply.
Doug Widney
February 21, 2014
 

LED greenhouse lighting is poised on the hockey stick of the adoption curve, saving electricity while potentially improving the world food supply.

The past year has seen production-scale deployment emerge out of years of trial grower installations, at users such as Rainbow Greenhouses in British Columbia, Clean Fresh Food in Wisconsin, Butter Valley Harvest in Pennsylvania, and many others.

The scale of modern greenhouse operations is visible in places such as Almeria, Spain, where greenhouses are actually changing the regional climate. In attempting to reproduce the energy flux of the sun over many acres, inefficient legacy lighting ends up drawing a staggering amount of electricity -- well into the megawatt range. There are growers that have to notify the local power company of their operating schedule. Lumigrow has a Canadian customer which operates its lights sixteen hours a day, seven months a year, and has a winter electricity bill that is ten times higher than it is in summer.

Growers also encounter local power caps. A commercial greenhouse complex in Indiana lost an entire summer’s worth of plants when its electricity was curtailed during a heat wave.   :( To this should be added the approximately 1.3 quads (quadrillion BTUs) of energy spent hauling food, an amount nearly equal to the energy in the food itself  :o  ???. Roses and salad delicacies are hauled many thousands of miles to northern Europe, Canada, and Alaska, with the roses often transported by air.  >:(

LEDs have a unique efficacy advantage in horticulture. Plants appear green because they absorb red and blue, the bandgap energy of the two primary photosynthetic reactions. With LED lighting, the color of the light can be tuned to “horticultural red” (660 nanometers) -- deeper than the standard traffic light or brake light.


So why on earth has everyone been feeding plants orange high pressure sodium (HPS) light, the dominant horticultural lighting technology?  The answer is that from a total output, lifespan and cost point of view, HPS used to be just the best of a bad lot.

Spherical emitters such as HPS lose up to 40 percent of their photons getting the light stream turned around in a downlight application. As with street lighting, LEDs have the advantage of being a natural downlight emitter.


PAR is for plants, lumens are for humans

An LED luminaire, for example, could put out red and blue photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) slightly greater than a standard 1,000-watt HPS luminaire, while consuming only 325 watts. The PAR unit of measurement is standard in horticultural lighting, since it is weighted for plant photosyntethic response. The lumen unit is useless in this context, as it is based solely on human visual response.

Obvious greenhouse lighting candidates are facilities located in cloudy northern areas with long winter nights. But any locale can employ year-round supplementation for especially light-hungry crops such as corn and tomato. There are a surprising number of tropical uses, including stretching the never-long tropical summer daylight, and the raising of crops that are intolerant of humid heat. All lettuce consumed in the tropics must either be grown in greenhouses or shipped in from a higher latitude.

LED horticultural lighting may yield one of the more financially viable greentech investment niches. Sector sales are growing rapidly, with market saturation still only in low-single-digit percents. While the total available market is respectable at $4.8 billion for North America, the far larger streetlight and residential lighting markets have distracted the attention of worldwide lighting majors and Asian exporters (with one or two significant exceptions).

Challenges include the technology's higher initial cost and the tendency of farmers to deliberate carefully before gambling an entire crop cycle on something new. Economics at present are channeling LED applications towards boutique areas such as flowers, seed stock growing, and salad herbs and delicacies. However, costs are falling. Payoff time is now often less than three years, and the latitude line for the viability of greenhouse lighting has dropped from Indiana southwards to Santa Barbara.

Beyond the energy savings, LED greenhouse lighting offers hope for continued technical progress in world food production. Observers such as Lester Brown and the Worldwatch Institute have noted that the years after the new millennium saw a reversal of some of the progress of the 1990s in eliminating world hunger. Drought in California is currently driving up food prices regionally; reportedly, the state government is considering diverting research funds to investigate greenhouse growing for saving water. The potential of LED lighting in the greenhouse is a bright spot for a hungry world. 


***

Doug Widney is Manager of Engineering for LumiGrow, based in Novato, Calif. He has previously been a consultant in solar, batteries, and LEDs. LumiGrow, which recently achieved profitability, is funded by Clean Pacific Ventures. Reach him at doug@lumigrow.com.


http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/leds-can-triple-the-efficiency-of-greenhouse-lighting
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 06, 2014, 04:24:31 pm »


Almost 60,000 US Farms Have On-Site Renewable Energy  ;D


SustainableBusiness.com News

 As of 2012, 57,299 of our nation's farms produce on-site renewable energy, according to the USDA Census, more than double the 23,451 in 2007.

 Solar is the most popular resource, used by 36,000 farms, followed by geo-exchange systems and wind turbines, each used on about 9,000 farms. About 1300 farms use small hydro and 537 have biogas systems.

 That's pretty impressive even if it still makes up a small percentage of US farms. USDA's 2012 census, released last week, shows there are 2.1 million farms taking up 914.5 million acres.

 USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funds up to 25% of a renewable energy system (solar, wind, biogas) or energy efficiency upgrades and provides additional support through loan guarantees. 8,250 projects have been installed under the Obama administration, with more to come because it made it into this year's Farm Bill. 

Compare the number of farms with renewable energy to all the organic farms in the country. Even thought it's booming, with $31.5 billion in sales (up from $1.7 billion in 2007), organic acreage is tiny with 17,600 organic farms spread over 4.6 million acres -  0.8% of the total value of US food production. Amazing how long it takes to make a dent in conventional farming.  :( 

Lots of conventional farms have moved to conservation tillage or no-till practices, however - 474,028 farms covering 173.1 million acres. 

And 144,530 farmers sell direct to consumers with sales over $1.3 billion (up 8.1%).
   

"Once every five years, farmers, ranchers and growers have the unique opportunity to let the world know how U.S. agriculture is changing, what is staying the same, what's working and what we can do differently," says Dr. Cynthia Clark, head of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Some interesting statistics:
•Both sales ($394.6 billion) and production expenses ($328.9 billion) reached record highs in 2012;
•75% of farms are small, producing 3% of products with sales under $50,000. 4% of all farms produce 66% of products with sales over $1 million;
•Corn and soybean acres topped 50% of all acres harvested for the first time;
•Cows raised for beef are the biggest food category, accounting for 29% of farms and ranches (619,172);
•Not surprisingly, farming is concentrated geographically. California has 9 of 10 top counties for sales, led by Fresno with $5 billion;
•Top 5 states: California ($42.6 billion); Iowa ($30.8 billion); Texas ($25.4 billion); Nebraska ($23.1 billion); and Minnesota ($21.3 billion);
•87% of US farms are operated by families or individuals, on average 58.3 years old and predominantly male;
•Young farmers increased 11.3%, however, to 40,499 people, and minority-operated farms are increasing, especially Hispanics at 21%.

One of the newer risks on farms is aquaculture, particularly for their negative impacts on wild salmon. Last year, the USDA  opened the door to expand British Columbia's open net-cage industry, accepting 13 applications for the Pacific Northwest.

Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch and Canada's SeaChoice program both rated that industry with a "avoid buying" designation. There are many problems: what they feed farmed salmon, disease transmission between farmed and wild salmon, and concentrations of many farms in small areas. Over 90% of wild salmon die before they return to freshwater to spawn - most of them in the first months after they enter the ocean, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.

"Aquaculture must stop using the ocean as a free waste-treatment system," says Dr. Suzuki. "Closed-containment - in the ocean or on land - is better at controlling water and removing feces and chemicals like antibiotics and pesticides used for sea lice. One British Columbia open net-cage company lost more than $200 million in one year because of disease, enough to build 10 closed-containment farms. Yet the industry claims closed alternatives cost too much."

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/25690
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 06, 2014, 11:05:06 pm »

Azolla: Another floating, fast growing wonder plant like duckweed with great promise in a variety of applications that will aid us in establishing a sustainable civilization. 


Azolla BioSystems Ltd

Azolla BioSystems uses a natural biological process to reduce the threat of man-made climate change by converting the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) directly into a unique free-floating plant called Azolla.


Azolla Biosystems is currently developing opportunities and commodities in eight sectors:

Design including architectural development of Azolla Hubs

Sequestration including the development of new Azolla strains

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) including Azolla’s conversion into bioplastics and biopolymers

Biofuels produced from Azolla, and its integration with the production of algoil (algal-oil) and other
renewable biofuels

Biofertilizers including its use in rice production and other crops

Livestock Feed including the production of long shelf-life Azolla pellets

Food including hydroponics, and aquaponics

Research & Development including high-value pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, bioplastics and biopolymers.


These form the basis of the Azolla BioSystem that we have developed – a flexible, modular biological system that can be adapted to local needs anywhere in the world.

We welcome your input and interest in joining us on our exciting journey.


About Azolla

Azolla is a unique freshwater fern that is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet due to its symbiotic relationship with a cyanobacterium (‘blue-green alga’) called Anabaena. Anabaena draws down the atmospheric nitrogen that fertilizes Azolla, and Azolla provides a nitrogen-filled home for Anabaena within its leaf cavities. This enables the plant to double its biomass in as little as two days free floating on water as shallow as one inch (2.4 cm).


Azolla‘s rapid growth makes it a potentially important sequester of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide which is converted directly into Azolla‘s biomass. This provides local livestock feed, biofertilizer and biofuel wherever Azolla is grown, so that this remarkable plant has the potential to help us weather the Perfect Storm – the related threats of man-made climate change and shortages of food and land as our population passes seven billion.

Why is Azolla Unique?

Azolla is unique because it is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet – yet it does not need any soil to grow. Unlike almost all other plants, Azolla is able to get its nitrogen fertilizer directly from the atmosphere. That means that it is able to produce biofertilizer, livestock feed, food and biofuel exactly where they are needed and, at the same time, draw down large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, thus helping to reduce the threat of climate change.

How is it able to do this?

Azolla and Anabaena – the Perfect Marriage

Azolla is able to do this because it has a unique mutually beneficial ‘symbiotic relationship‘ with a cyanobacterium (blue-green alga) called Anabaena.


The symbiotic relationship between Anabaena on the left and Azolla on the right.

Each partner gives something to the other in this Perfect Marriage. Because oxygen is poisonous to cyanobacteria, Azolla provides an oxygen-free environment for Anabaena within its leaves. In return, Anabaena sequesters nitrogen directly from the atmosphere which then becomes available for Azolla’s growth, freeing it from the soil that is needed by most other land plants for their nitrogen fertilization.

The oldest Azolla fossils are more than 70 million years old, representing the remains of plants that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. They occur in sediments that were deposited in quiescent freshwater bodies, such as lakes, ponds and sluggish rivers, identical to those inhabited by modern Azolla.



Fossil Azolla (left) has leaves (circled above in red) and tendrils (circled in blue) that are identical to those of modern Azolla (right). The fossil is from the Green River Formation of Colorado, dated between 50.5 and 55.5 million years. The photograph was kindly provided by Dr Ian Miller of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Several other symbioses are known between plants and cyanobacteria – for example in legumes – but the Azolla-Anabaena relationship is the only known symbiosis in which a cyanobacterium passes directly to subsequent generations via the plant’s reproductive sporangia and spores.


So Azolla and Anabaena have never been apart for 70 million years. During that Immense period of time, the two partners have co-evolved numerous complementary ways that make them increasingly efficient.

Agelbert NOTE: IF the above symbiosis has been continuous for 70 million years, I question the "co-evolve" assumption. The evidence points to the same relationship without changes. I don't see evidence of co-evolution, or evolution, for that matter, in this marvelous symbiosis of genetically disparate and unrelated life forms. It looks more like they started out the way.

The Azolla Superorganism: A unique biological system

In 2010, our Associate Francisco Carrapiço proposed that Azolla-Anabaena should be designated as a superorganism “because of its unique symbiosis in which the two partners have successful co-evolved into a system that makes important contributions to ecology, biofertilization and biotechnology” (Carrapiço, 2010).

The Challenge

The challenge, then, is to work with Azolla and use its remarkable properties to help us weather the Perfect Storm that now threatens us and the other species with whom we share our planet.
You can find more details about Azolla, its history, and its multiple uses on our information website The Azolla Foundation.

http://azollabiosystems.co.uk/

Agelbert NOTE: Azolla can be feed to chickens, cows and other livestock. Ducks love Azolla as much as they love duckwweed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9qgznNeA4M&feature=player_embedded
Baby ducks eating Azolla
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 21, 2013, 06:14:59 pm »


For those who may be a bit depressed about our Homo Hubris Civilization trajectory because it looks more like Home Erectus morphed into Homo Defectus;D


Perhaps this fellow, who lives in much less beneficent surroundings than you, sees a great deal of filth, decay and Homo defectus trashing of the biosphere in the modern inner city cluster**** day in and day out YET, is making "lemonade" out of "toxic lemons", will cheer you up.


Urban Aquaponics pioneer grows mercury free Tilapia and Lake Perch to sell to restaurants nearby. ALL the feces from the fish is used with the water to fertilize food plants grown year around. He even grows edible flowers (Nasturtiums) he sells to restaurants. He continually reuses the SAME water and has ZERO effluent from his urban farming and aquaponics system



Everything is organic with zero chemical fertilizers. He has, because of his success in sustainable urban farming in an inner city high crime area, become famous and travelled the world giving lectures and training on his sustainable business model.


Will Allen receiving Honorary Degree awarded by Marquette University.

Will Allen is evidence to me that no matter how bad things are, we must always try to make a go of it, not as some quixotic, mindless gesture of futility, but as a function of our existence. We are here for a lot of reasons; one very important one is to make sure others of our species can be here too. Don't give up on Homo "defectus". It ain't over yet.

Will Allen is now also teaching organic methods to leach city soil of heavy metals and other toxins and recreate the organic soil that was there before the city was. People like him give me hope.  I hope his efforts lighten your mood too. 

Here's a cool video about Will Allen and Urban Farming. After the video, I post a jpg as food for thought for you. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5zP4WPgcqY&feature=player_embedded





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