Farmers are on the front line of climate change and to some extent they are accelerating it (deforestation and extensive pesticide use), but smart farmers are fighting climate change and improving their crop yield at the same time. A very successful natural intervention farmers can use are known as praire strips. These are long thin strips of land on a farmer’s field that hosts native species and provide lots of benefits to the surrounding land. They attract insects that help crops, help retain water, and keep the soil healthy in a way that chemical interventions can’t.
Insect and bird populations are more than 2x in prairie strips compared to mono-crop fields – providing vital defense against pests and other ecosystem services
Pollinators increase at around the same rate
Prairie strips turn a veritable green desert into a thriving ecosystem
Anyone can be a gardener and you can too! All you need is a balcony or small plot of land and you can start growing your own food. To some people, the very idea of caring for other living things can be scary – what if all the plants die? Here’s the trick: start small and grow plants that can thrive in your area naturally. No green thumb is needed if you plant local.
An expert gardener has provide ten simple tips for first timers. You can do it!
2. START SMALL
If you are planning how to start a vegetable garden in your backyard then the potential size is likely dictated by what yard space you have. Some people may have grand plans when planning a kitchen garden, though if you are new to vegetable gardening then it may be best to start with a small space.
Starting with focusing on small vegetable garden ideas allows you to learn and get that satisfaction without the risk of getting frustrated by a large vegetable garden that gets weedy and out of control quickly. By starting small it means you can get a feel for how long things take to grow and nurture and the time involved in weeding, watering, fertilizing and harvesting.
It can take up more time than first expected and no-one wants to get disillusioned by turning over a huge space in their backyard to a vegetable garden that they don’t actually have the time in their busy lives to tend. If you do want to transform a large area, then it can be done slowly or sections not cultivated covered with thick cardboard or plastic to smother weeds.
In the UK the average person wants to get off fossil fuels, but the Conservatives in power want the opposite. Obviously this is not good, and it gets worse: the new PM Liz Truss wants to ban solar panels on farms, Conservatives clearly don’t understand how the world works.
The good news comes from research proving that agrivoltaics (agriculture + solar voltaic panels) are a boon to farmers. Solar panels on farms are good for revenue for farms, renewable energy, and the very crops farms are growing. Yes, solar panels on farm increase crop production!
“One study foundcertain peppers will have three times the production,” said Bousselot. “That’s a shocking number.”
As global temperatures rise, the panels can also help to conserve dwindling freshwater supplies by reducing evaporation from both plants and soil.
What evaporation does occur underneath the panels has the added benefit of cooling the PVs andboosting their electricity production, according to Randle-Boggis, a research associate at the University of Sheffield.
Barley, like many other plants, faces worse growing conditions thanks to the ongoing climate crisis. Also like other plants, researchers are looking into ways to help the plant survive unpredictable weather changes. Biologists in Japan have modified the barley plant to survive early flooding which will help farmers get a good price for their crop while also ensuring we have a reliable source of a key ingredient for beer.?
The researchers are ecstatic to have hit gold in their plant biotechnology endeavor. Dr. Hisano exclaims, “We could successfully produce mutant barley that was resistant to pre-harvest sprouting, using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Also, our study has not only clarified the roles of qsd1 and qsd2 in grain germination or dormancy, but has also established that qsd2 plays a more significant role.”
Overall, this study serves as a milestone for present and future crop improvement research, using efficient gene manipulation like that offered by CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers are hopeful that they may be able to solve the food and environmental problems that human beings are currently facing worldwide, using their enhanced biotechnology techniques.
Food price volatility and production due to climate change is upon us already, and you’ve probably noticed it at your local grocer through increase costs. Farmers are grappling with climate change’s impact on predictable weather, meaning crops are have a harder time growing and farmers have a hard time planning.
Historians provide a solution. By looking into how agrarian societies survived (and failed) in the past we can better see what our future holds. There are techniques, policies, and trading routes that we may need to revive from hundreds of years ago to ensure we can feed all on Earth.
Such policies and community projects, some of which I have had the privilege to be involved with, deal mostly with the present and the future. Yet for decades, climate historians have also looked to the past to more fully understand the relationship between human history and the Earthâ€™s climate systems. Agriculture has been at the center of many of these studies, as many pre-industrial societies relied largely on arable crop outputs whose success was contingent on specific meteorological and ecological conditions. All methods of food production, from farming to hunting, fishing, and foraging, were intimately linked to seasonal, annual, and decadal variations in weather and climate. For agrarian societies who relied on arable staple crops such as wheat or rice, the success or failure of a harvest had multifold ramifications for individuals, communities, and economic systems.