From Fishing To Farming

It’s well known that the fishing industry is, err, fishy. Slaves are used in international waters by large multinational corporations and overfishing around the world is rampant – pushing many species close to extinction and totally ecosystem collapse. Basically, fishing is a bad thing.

One fisherman has seen his practice change over time and has altered his ways. Instead of culling fish he’s cultivating plants in what is referred to as a “3D farm”.

Bren Smith, a former fisherman, developed an unique, vertical 3-D ocean farming model that is currently revolutionizing our seafood plates while restoring our oceans.

After working as an industrial fisherman for decades and witnessing the devastating effects of mass-fishing, Smith developed his own ocean farm: a sort of underwater garden composed of kelp, mussels, scallops and oysters. Those species are not only edible and in high demand but they also are key in rebuilding our natural reef systems.

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To Save Bees, Humans Need to Learn From the Past

Bees are having a hard time in the 21st century everything from radio waves to pesticides are messing with their honey creation. The poor creatures are also suffering from a massive colony collapse disorder. What’s more native species need to compete with colonies that are shipped around for farmers.

Fortunately there are still ways to help bees! Farmers in Mexico and India are using techniques learned over a millennium ago to keep their local bee populations surviving. No more pesticides or bizarre treatment of bees – instead these farmers help the bees help themselves (and humans).

On the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, where large swaths of native forests are still intact, scientists interested in restoring that function are working with Mayan farmers to revive traditional beekeeping. The researchers’ long-term studies of bee populations and surveys of beekeepers in remote Mayan villages showed that the practice is no longer being passed down through families. To help preserve a tradition they saw as essential to preventing local extinction of these stingless bees Buchmann, Roubik, Villanueva-Gutiérrez, and other colleagues from the University of Yucatan started annual workshops to train a new generation of beekeepers.

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Cuba Shows Off Its Biotech Industry

Cuba has an amazing farming system which is impressive from farm to fork. The way they grow crops to how they ensure that food distribution is effective is impressive to say the least. The island nation was hit hard with the collapse of the USSR and the embargo from the USA, as a result they have a robust and advanced farming system in the nation.

At one of the largest farming conferences Cuba is showcasing its advanced biotech. Cuba has had to use natural (and locally produced) ways to increase farming production instead of relying on imports.

Among them was, “Gavac,” an immunogen that provides for better control over ticks and tick-related infections in cattle, according to Doctor Hector Machado of Cuba’s Heber Biotec company.

Cuba has been attracting attention in recent years for its model of agriculture, as it has been able to develop cheap and eco-friendly technologies that have helped the country to reach a certain level of food security without damaging the environment. With the environmental and financial challenges the world is now facing, the Cuban model – built in a time of crisis, after the USSR collapsed – is seen as offering potential solutions to many countries in the world.

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Detroit to Have the Largest Urban Farm in the USA

Detroit was once a great city, then the economic collapse of car-dominated industry in the city happened. Because of the prescence of Ford and GM in Detroit the city’s urban planning focused on cars; this led to poverty and neglect of needed infrastructure.

The collapse of Detroit occurred, and now they are rebuilding. One aspect of remaking Detroit is to bring it into the 21st century by focusing on people instead of cars. An example of this is the recent announcement that Detroit will host the largest urban farming setup in America.

One surprising growth industry in the city is urban farming. Recovery Park, a nonprofit, confusingly runs a program called Recovery Park Farms, which is a for-profit. Anyway, Recovery Park and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced last week an ambitious plan to create a 60-acre urban farm (35 acres of which comes from the government, through the Detroit Land Bank Authority) to be settled not with new houses for people but greenhouses and hydroponic systems for specialty produce. Recovery Park already operates a pair of smaller urban farms, growing vegetables like radishes, greens, and edible flowers and selling them to restaurants in the city.

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Improve Your Soil to Fight Climate Change

Suburbanization and poor land policy have done incredible damage to soil and food systems. It turns out that the damage down to the soil itself is a contributing factor to the increased speed in human-created climate change. So to slow down the rate of climate change we can improve our soil and you can do so locally or on a large scale.

“We need to focus on the carbon dioxide supply into the atmosphere, but we really need to focus on the demand side as well,” says Larry Kopald, co-founder of The Carbon Underground, a nonprofit that’s advocates for soil carbon storage. “We have to put the CO2 back into a sink where it’s demanded and where it is useful, and improve the reabsorption of the carbon that is already out there.”

Constant plowing causes erosion, allowing soil content to flow into waterways or be blown away. And climate change itself exacerbates soil carbon loss, recent research has shown.

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