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Positive Trends
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


US: From coal to kale -- saving rural economies with local food
21 September 2017 - A new book co-published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis says the time has never been better for thriving regional food systems, given Americans' increasing interest in fresh, local food. For example, Delta County, Colorado officials and business leaders have been driven to envision life and business in Delta County after coal. The county is already home to one of the state's largest concentration of organic produce farms and livestock ranches. What they need is more efficient distribution channels. (more)

Coffee growers in Laos are turning to organic farming
19 September 2017 - Rural coffee farmers across southern Laos are sharing sustainable agricultural practices to protect both their land and health from chemical farming methods. Families from the Lao Tribe in the south are leading the way by turning away from a number of non-organic fertilisers that are used widely in the coffee industry to boost crop yields. (more)

US: Study finds organic farming better at sequestering carbon
13 September 2017 - A new study shows organic farms store more carbon in the soil and keep it out of the atmosphere longer than conventional farms. The findings of the study by Northeastern University's National Soil Project [Boston, Massachusetts] and The Organic Center suggest organic farming could help reduce one of the causes of climate change. (more)

US: Number of organic farms increases in Iowa
12 September 2017 - The number of organic farms in Iowa is growing rapidly . . . Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Iowa has seen a 42 percent increase in organic farms from 2008 to 2015. The state had more than 670 organic farms in 2015, which was less than 1 percent of the farms in the state. (more)

Ireland: Cork organic farmer on slow farming and a strong market
10 September 2017 - A County Cork organic farmer whose apple juice is enjoying the taste of success, has been awarded funding from the Heritage Council's Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme for conservation work on a walled 4ac orchard. The 145ac farm converted to organic in 2002. 'We farm using traditional methods, but can also achieve intensive production, especially in the 4ac vegetable plot. Using green manures and animal manure, we have highly fertile and workable soil and can intensively space crops and still get great results with little pest or disease problem,' said award-winning farmer, Patrick Frankel. (more)

Bees on the roof are all the buzz in Slovenia's capital
31 August 2017 - Since 2011, the main congress center in Slovenia's capital -- Cankarjev Dom -- has been hosting bees on its roof, producing about 120 kg (265 lb) of honey per year which are used for gifts to business partners. It started at the Apimondia world congress of beekeepers in 2003, held at Cankarjev Dom. Franc Petrovcic, head of maintenance of mechanical equipment at the center, who last week won an international agriculture fair award for the quality of his honey, started a movement that is spreading fast. It is estimated that bees are now to be found at about 150 locations in 300,000-population Ljubljana, mostly in gardens, on roofs, and terraces. Gorazd Trusnovec keeps bees on 15 locations in the capital ... 'Ljubljana has a huge potential (for beekeeping) because it is very green and located in the middle of forests,' Trusnovec said. Petrovcic, meanwhile, says recent tests showed that urban honey is very healthy. For one thing, it has no traces of pesticides since there are no large fields in the vicinity. (more)

Netherlands: This tiny country feeds the world
31 August 2017 - Almost two decades ago, the Dutch made a national commitment to sustainable agriculture under the rallying cry 'Twice as much food using half as many resources.' Since 2000, Dutch farmer van den Borne and many of his fellow farmers have reduced dependence on water for key crops by as much as 90 per cent. They've almost completely eliminated the use of chemical pesticides on plants in greenhouses, and since 2009 Dutch poultry and livestock producers have cut their use of antibiotics by as much as 60 per cent. (more)

Sunflowers prepare US farm for organic future
29 August 2017 - Fifty acres of sunflowers bloomed in northwest Barrington Hills, Illinois in one August week to create a unique carpet of bright yellow. But in addition to providing a vibrant visual along the village's country lanes, these sun-worshipping plants play a practical role in the conversion of the nearly 700-acre Barrington Hills Farm to purely organic. Among the criteria for such certification is the soil must be found to be chemical-free -- and sunflowers are among the species that can help expedite that process, experts say. (more)

Syrian schools grow edible playgrounds to boost children's diets
29 August 2017 - School playgrounds across Syria are being transformed into vegetable gardens where children whose diets have been devastated by six years of war can learn to grow -- and then eat -- aubergines, lettuces, peppers, cabbages and cucumbers. So far the 17 primary schools, which began planting in May, have produced 12 tonnes of fruit and vegetables. Another 35 schools are expected to start transforming their playgrounds soon in Aleppo and in rural areas around Damascus. (more)

US: Iowa grocery store grows 10-15 lbs of produce on outdoor vertical garden every week
29 August 2017 - It doesn't get much more local than this. In Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee grocery store commissioned Friday's Fresh Market (FFM) to install and maintain two eight-tower Grow Walls (hydroponic vertical gardens) on the outside of their store -- and they sell the produce inside. Owner Andrew Freitag told Inhabitat they can obtain between 10 and 15 pounds of fresh produce every week, depending on the crop. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Creating 'an army of future farmers' to redesign, restructure food and agriculture systems
9 September 2017 - Students in the Regenerative Organic Agriculture Certificate programme at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA started selling the fruits of their harvest at the Fairfield Farmers Market just a few months after they began working on the student farm. The 10-month programme's purpose is 'to create an army of future farmers who can redesign and restructure the current food and agriculture systems', said Dr. Appachanda Thimmaiah, programme director. 'Graduates will have confidence to farm or start their own business in regenerative organic agriculture.' (more)

Veteran plants the seeds of a dream in the new MUM Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program
15 August 2017 - US military veteran Kyle Amsberry was introduced to Transcendental Meditation (TM) and its beneficial effects on combat veterans while serving his country. He soon learned about Maharishi University of Management (MUM) and was drawn to the idea of studying Sustainable Living while also working toward becoming a TM Teacher. Enrolling in the new MUM Regenerative Organic Agriculture programme, Kyle worked for weeks on a business plan to open a TM Retreat and Education Center for Veterans that included a working organic farm in southern California. 'Right now it's just an idea and a dream', he said, 'but through the Regenerative Organic Agriculture programme, I know I can make it a reality. The networking opportunities and possibilities are endless in this programme and at this university.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management pioneers first complete farm-to-fork program in Regenerative Organic Agriculture
25 July 2017 - Maharishi University of Management in Iowa has launched the world's first complete programme to train the next generation of farmers in an agricultural paradigm that can fully reverse climate change and provide abundant and healthy food for our planet's growing population. Termed 'regenerative organic agriculture', this 10-month certificate work-study programme is a collaborative effort among five internationally renowned organizations in the field of organic and biodynamic agriculture - directed by Dr. A. Thimmaiah, an expert in climate-smart agriculture who has developed many low-cost farming solutions using natural resources that are benefiting thousands of farmers in different countries. He says few schools or organizations offer even one course in regenerative organic farming systems, which he distinguishes from common organic farming. Regenerative agriculture is a self-sufficient, closed-loop system in which farmers, on their own farms, produce all the inputs required, using only naturally available resources there. (more)

Maharishi University of Management launches Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program
28 December 2016 - Maharishi University of Management is launching its new certificate programme in Regenerative Organic Agriculture this month. Under the directorship of Dr Appachanda Thimmaiah, the 10-month programme is the first of its kind in the US and will give students the knowledge and hands-on experience to master a system of agriculture that embodies the best and most sustainable aspects of organic and biodynamic agriculture, as well as traditional agricultural knowledge systems from around the world. 'From home gardening, to transforming the urban landscape with neighborhood food forests, to professional organic farming and food entrepreneurship, to food activism and advocacy - this programme is a great first step in taking on each of these missions,' said Dr Thimmaiah. Students will also learn Transcendental Meditation, which is a powerful tool that they can use to get in direct touch with the deep laws of nature that govern agriculture, thereby improving their effectiveness in farming. (more)

Infosys founder offers scholarships for Regenerative Agriculture students at Maharishi University of Management
26 October 2016 - S.D. Shibulal, a cofounder of technology giant Infosys, and Mrs Kumari Shibulal, announced recently that their foundation will provide scholarships totaling US$100,000 for students from India who enrol in the new Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program beginning in January at Maharishi University of Management, USA. (more)

Maharishi University of Management: Certificate in regenerative organic agriculture to be offered
21 October 2016 - Those interested in being part of the next generation of organic farming will be able to enroll in a 10-month certificate programme in regenerative organic agriculture at Maharishi University of Management in the USA, beginning this January. This regenerative method of organic farming is a self-sufficient, closed-loop system in which all the inputs required for production are supplied and grown using only the naturally available resources within the farmstead. 'This course will be of interest to anyone who has a passion to create radical change in the current food and agriculture systems,' says programme head Dr A. Thimmaiah. 'The students can be food activists, farmers, food advocates, home and urban gardeners, or future organic farmers.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management's Dr Thimmaiah is helping Bhutan adopt organic agriculture
6 October 2016 - Bhutan is the first country in the world that is becoming 100 percent organic. The man behind this transition is Dr Appachanda Thimmaiah. Currently an associate professor of sustainable living at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, from 2008 to 2013 he served as the organic agriculture consultant to Bhutan. His biodynamic agriculture consultancy company in India was the first to develop large agricultural projects transitioning to organic agriculture. Helping farms in Bhutan maintain self-sufficient, 'closed-loop' systems where no outside products need be purchased has caught on with the government, along with 'no-cost' organic certification for farmers, and training programs for instructors in organic farming methods. Dr Thimmaiah upholds that for a country that puts great emphasis on its unique Gross National Happiness metric, which measures progress through the spiritual, physical, social, and environmental health of its citizens, switching to organic agriculture would have an enormous positive influence on its citizens. (more)

Providing food security to families in developing countries
3 September 2016 - Kim Strubell had several careers in his life, but was motivated to obtain a master's degree in Maharishi University of Management's Sustainable Living program after seeing environmental devastation while on a business trip to Panama. 'The Sustainable Living program is excellent,' said Kim. 'The professors are the most important part. We had some teachers that gave us world-class education. This program is for change-makers.' With his organization called Charity Seeds, he has partnered with a business that teaches sustainable, mini-farming methods in Africa. Kim also extends his influence to South America and plans to support local artists and offer internships to MUM's sustainable living students in permaculture and biodynamic agriculture. This is currently being featured on the Excellence In Action page of Global Good News. (more)

Maharishi University of Management faculty present at Harvard on Sustainable Agriculture
2 June 2016 - Faculty from Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, USA recently had the opportunity to present a more profound view of agriculture at a conference on 'The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture' hosted by Harvard Divinity School in Boston, Massachusetts. Three natural approaches to agriculture were presented in a workshop: 'integral agriculture' by Dr Travis Cox, Dr John Fagan introduced Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, and Dr A. Thimmaiah's presentation advocated Biodynamic agriculture. Dr Thimmaiah also addressed the plenary session saying, 'It's agriculture such as Vedic and Biodynamic agriculture that gives deep respect and reverence for - and humility toward - farmers and farming'. He said, 'Many had not heard about MUM before, and afterward we were mobbed by people eager to talk to us and ask questions . . . they appreciated the universal laws of nature articulated by the MUM faculty.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management alumnus develops sustainability programmes
10 July 2015 - Shane Zisman, graduate of Maharishi University of Management and Vermont Law School in the USA, says the main benefit of MUM and Consciousness-Based Education for him was 'learning how to become clear within myself'. He accepted a position with Earth Open Source, a nonprofit organization that supports agro-ecological, farmer-based systems that conserve soil, water, and energy and that produce healthy and nutritious food free from unnecessary toxins. Shane couldn't be happier doing this kind of work, which uses both his legal skills and his passion for sustainability and social justice. 'I couldn't have scripted a more perfect job for my interests,' he says. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


EU rules Italian ban on GMO crop unlawful
13 September 2017 - Europe's top court ruled on Wednesday (13 September) that Italy had been wrong to ban cultivation of an EU-approved genetically modified (GMO) maize as it had failed to show there was a serious risk to public health or the environment. The European Union approved use of the GMO maize, Monsanto's MON 810 in 1998, but the Italian government asked the European Commission in 2013 to ban it after two Italian scientific studies questioned its safety. (more)

US: Twenty-eight states make it illegal for counties and cities to pass seed laws
18 August 2017 - More than two dozen state legislatures have passed 'seed-preemption laws' designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs. ... Nearly every seed-preemption law in the country borrows language from a 2013 model bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The council is 'a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on 'task forces' to advance their legislative wish lists,' essentially 'voting as equals' with state legislators on bills, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. ALEC's corporate members include the Koch brothers as well as some of the largest seed-chemical companies -- Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont -- which want to make sure GMO bans, like those enacted in Jackson County, Oregon, and Boulder County, Colorado, don't become a trend. (more)

Austria finds some egg products contaminated with insecticide
14 August 2017 - Tests show that some imported egg products in Austria have been contaminated with a potentially harmful insecticide, Austria's food safety agency said on Monday (14 August) adding to the list of countries affected by an international health scare. Millions of chicken eggs have been pulled from European supermarket shelves as a result of the scare over the use of the insecticide fipronil, and hundreds of thousands of hens may be culled in the Netherlands. ... fipronil is considered moderately toxic and can cause organ damage in humans. Germany received at least 28 million possibly contaminated eggs, nearly three times the number previously reported . . . (more)

Toxic waste from U.S. pot farms alarms experts
6 August 2017 - Pollution from illegal marijuana farms deep in California's national forests is far worse than previously thought, and has turned thousands of acres into waste dumps so toxic that simply touching plants has landed law enforcement officers in the hospital. Growers use fertilizers and pesticides long restricted or banned in the United States, including carbofuran and zinc phosphide. In previous years, it was commonly sold fertilizers and pesticides that were used illegally, law enforcement officials said. Use of any chemicals in national forests is against federal law, as pesticides have killed sensitive species and fertilizers can cause algae blooms and bacteria problems in rivers and streams. (more)

US: Research in Hawaii links beehives, pesticides
6 August 2017 - Another study looking at pesticides in beehives is underway in Hawaii. And results are showing a connection between agriculture-dense areas and an increase in the chemical glyphosate -- the active ingredient in Roundup -- in honey. Concentration within the samples that tested positive was an average of 80 parts per billion -- ranging from zero to 330 parts per billion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't set a tolerance limit for glyphosate. In the European Union, the tolerance level is 50 parts per billion. ... The purpose of the study is to monitor the migration of pesticides from their point of introduction, and relationships between urban development, golf courses, and industrial areas were also analyzed. (more)

Keith Kloor's Endearing Love Affair With GMOs
19 July 2017 - Few science writers have worked as hard as Keith Kloor to impact public opinion on genetically modified organism (GMO) agriculture. An adjunct professor at New York University and former editor for Audubon and blogger for Discover, Kloor has spent years championing GMO products and portraying skeptics and critics as scientifically illiterate quacks. Kloor's one-man crusade to paint environmental advocates as nitwits includes a classic of the Kloor canon: his self-aggrandizing piece in Issues in Science and Technology comparing demands for GMO transparency to the tactics of the Trump campaign and the anti-vaccine movement (a favorite bugbear). The public has known for some time that Keith Kloor loves GMOs. What they haven't known, until now, is how hard he's worked with industry-funded 'experts' ' to present corporate talking points as journalism and then try to cover his tracks. (more)

US: Drought in High Plains the worst some farmers have ever seen
15 July 2017 - Drought in North Dakota is laying waste to fields of normally bountiful food and hay crops ... Some longtime farmers and ranchers say it's the worst conditions they've seen in decades -- possibly their lifetimes -- and simple survival has become their goal as a dry summer drags on without a raincloud in sight. (more)

One of worst droughts in decades devastates South Europe crops
14 July 2017 - Drought in southern Europe threatens to reduce cereal production in Italy and parts of Spain to its lowest level in at least 20 years, and hit other regional crops including olives and almonds. Castile and Leon, the largest cereal growing region in Spain, has been particularly badly affected, with crop losses estimated at around 60 to 70 percent. Spain and Italy are also among the world's top producers of olive oil. Production in both countries is expected to fall, but the decline is likely to be particularly steep in Italy, where drought is the latest headache for olive growers already plagued by insects and a bacterial disease in recent years. Other crops have been damaged, and Italy's agricultural association Coldiretti has estimated the drought could cost the nation's farmers more than 1 billion euros. (more)

Dow launches new GMO corn after landing China import approval
14 June 2017 - Dow Chemical Co [U.S.] secured import approval from China for its next-generation Enlist corn variety and announced it would be commercially available in the United States and Canada next year, but the company was still awaiting approval of Enlist soybeans from the world's top soy importer. China on Wednesday [14 June] approved two new varieties of genetically modified (GMO) crops for import from June 12, including Dow's Enlist corn, engineered to combat weeds resistant to the widely used herbicide glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Monsanto's ... Roundup herbicide. (more)

Brazil approves world's first commercial GM sugarcane
8 June 2017 - Brazil has approved commercial use of a genetically modified sugarcane, setting a milestone for the country's highly competitive sugar industry as this is the first time such permission has been granted anywhere in the world. Brazil exports sugar to about 150 countries and some 60 percent of them do not demand regulatory approval to import sugar made from genetically modified organisms. (more)


Global Good News provides the latest information on agriculture

Worldwide demand for natural, organic food is growing. Many scientists, farmers, and consumers are concerned about the health and environmental risks associated with agricultural chemicals and genetically modified foods. Educated consumers are seeking natural approaches to health, economically viable solutions to global hunger, and sustainable practices for the health of our planet.

Global Good News provides the latest information on the benefits of organic agriculture, organic gardening, and Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture—a programme of the Global Country of World Peace for harnessing the full potential of Nature's intelligence in the field of agriculture, to create healthy food for a happy life.

Genetically modified foods (GM foods, also called genetically engineered and genetically altered) are plants, animals, and bacteria in which the genetic material has been directly manipulated and distorted. Natural processes—such as selective breeding, grafting or splicing—do not directly manipulate the DNA. Many experts fear the irreversible loss of our food crops' diverse gene pool. Altered plants easily cross-pollinate with conventional crops, making it impossible to separate the natural from the unnatural.

Agricultural companies began aggressively marketing GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in the mid-1990s, claiming an increase in crop production. They cite evidence of pest resistance and crop spray tolerance, meaning the crop can be sprayed with amounts of pesticides that would normally kill the plants.

However, research has found that traditional crop cultivation delivers better results. Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD, a biologist in the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Food and Environment Program, says, 'The biotech industry has spent billions on research and public relations hype, but genetically engineered food and feed crops have not enabled American farmers to grow significantly more crops per acre of land.'

In March 2009, Dr Gurian Sherman published a report entitled, Failure to Yield—Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops in which he states, 'This report is the first to evaluate in detail the overall, or aggregate, yield effect of GE after more than 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization in the United States. Based on that record, we conclude that GE has done little to increase overall crop yields.' The report continues, 'Recent studies also suggest that organic and other sophisticated low-external-input methods can produce yields that are largely equivalent to those of conventional agriculture, even though limited investment has been made in these agro-ecological methods.'

Organic gardening is the time-honoured approach to working with Nature's intelligence. Some studies have shown that organic foods have much higher nutritional value than genetically modified and conventionally grown crops, which use pesticides and fertilizers.

Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture goes beyond the most rigorous existing standards for pure, organic food. It includes the understanding of how Nature functions, and how to align man's intelligence with Nature's intelligence to support health, happiness, and abundance.

Vedic Organic Agriculture is an important part of Maharishi's Programmes for creating a disease-free society, and eradicating poverty. Practices which are economically viable for farmers worldwide can supply the growing demand for pure, natural food.

Global Good News is the source for positive news and education pertaining to organic gardening, organic food, and the development of organic agriculture around the world.

See: www.mvoai.org

www.globalgoodnews.com/environmental-news.html



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