Rodale Institute executive director Coach Mark Smallwood will be out at Expo West this week talking about honeybees and other pollinators. Catch him Friday March 8th from noon to 1pm (PST) at Attune Foods’ booth #2863 where he will be chatting with folks at the latest “buzz” in the world of honeybees: What’s the buzz about honeybees?. Or between 2:30 and 5pm (PST) at Whole Food’s Share the Buzz event also on Friday March 8th. (more…)
One of our Facebook friends asked us: “Any good book recommendations besides Organic Manifesto and Pay Dirt which I’ve read and which are excellent?” So we took an informal poll here at Rodale Institute and compiled a short list of top book recommendations based on the personal reading lists of our staff. What “organically minded” books have inspired you? (more…)
Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Anna MacDonald Dobbs is the first voice from the Carolinas you can expect to hear over the coming months as we welcome the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA). This first post is a little primer on CFSA, but upcoming entries from both their staff and farmer-members will give us a taste of food systems, policy and daily farm life in their neck of the woods. Enjoy!
By Anna K. MacDonald Dobbs, CFSA Membership Coordinator
Our name is a mouthful. Trust me, I know because I answer the phones. Try saying, “Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, this is Anna. Can I help you?” three times fast or 20 times in the day! All kidding aside, we’re proud of our name because it reflects our history and who we are as an organization. It all boils down to helping people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic food. (more…)
Meme Thomas, instructor for the Honeybee Conservancy classes at Rodale Institute and founder of Baltimore Honey, says there are seven simple ways to help both the honeybee and native pollinator populations in your area right now.
1. Include nectar- and pollen-rich plantings in landscapes. Focus on plants that bloom during the important feeding windows of late winter, pre-spring (February – April) and during the high summer when there is usually a dearth of nectar (June – November). (more…)
Building a more sustainable food system requires rethinking how we produce, transport and consume food. It means considering multiple facets of sustainability – ecological, economic, social – and acting in ways that best promote these throughout the whole system. To do this, farmers, entrepreneurs, researchers and advocates across the country are developing innovative strategies. One in particular seems promising: connecting sustainable agriculture to the health care sector to promote healthier consumption. An example of this kind of partnership is the community supported agriculture (CSA) health insurance rebate. (more…)
By Coach Mark Smallwood
Originally appeared at www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com
The end of 2012 raised quite a few eyebrows and much ire as some quiet and some not-so-quiet snubs were aimed at organic foods. First, the Stanford meta-analysis, which claimed organic foods were “no better” than conventional foods (though their actual findings showed some clear organic benefits). Then, the timid report from the American Academy of Pediatrics hesitantly providing a wishy-washy statement for pediatricians to use as a guide when discussing organic foods with patients. And, finally, the betrayal of Dr. Oz, a formerly staunch supporter of eating organic, who tucked tail and spouted support for GMOs (and venom at “elite” organics) like a well-paid industry mouthpiece. (more…)
The statement about injecting human waste into the soil [in the TIME article What If the World’s Soil Runs Out?] concerns me. How does Rodale [Institute] feel about this issue? ~ Lisa
Treated human waste (otherwise known as sewage sludge or biosolids) has been floated as the “solution” to everything from the topsoil loss to dwindling supplies of mined phosphorus. But it has also been indicated as a risk to human and environmental health for a multitude of reasons. Heavy metals, although declining in recent years, are still a concern as are antibiotics, hormones, steroids and other pharmaceuticals, or things like triclosan, flame retardants and solvents that end up poured down drains. (more…)
To what degree does composting decompose pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals? Totally? Partially? To safe levels? How usable is the resulting compost as fertilizer that contained pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals. Are there leftover residues that can be taken up by crops? What are the chances for pesticides and antibiotics specifically? (more…)
An update on the brown marmorated stink bug research at Rodale Institute created for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) meeting, January 7, 2013. (more…)
The brown marmorated stink bug is a relatively new agricultural pest. It was accidentally introduced to Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s from Asia and can damage fruit and vegetable crops alike. Numbers of brown marmorated stink bugs have jumped considerably in recent years leading researchers to fast track work on how to combat them, especially for organic farmers.
Brown marmorated stink bugs belong to the family Pentatomidae which includes everything from other pests like the rice stink bug to beneficials such as the predatory soldier bug, so proper identification is an important first step in battling this growing threat. Following are some easily identifiable characteristics that differentiate the brown marmorated stink bug from other members of the same family. (more…)