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Positive Trends
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Viet Nam: Organic product demands keeps rising
20 June 2017 - Demand for organic farm and other products has increased significantly both in Viet Nam and globally, and this is good news for businesses investing in the field, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Deputy Minister Trần Thanh Nam said many countries had begun to adopt organic agricultural practices, and the area under organic farming is increasing. (more)

Room in the middle: the Africans repopulating Spain's dying villages
11 June 2017 - Native population in the Spanish interior is shrinking but new arrivals are helping keep village schools and farms running. With its abandoned houses, empty streets and ageing, shrinking population, Visiedo in northern Spain could be the poster village for European rural decline. But salvation may be at hand, and from an unlikely quarter. (more)

US: University of Nebraska aims to protect bees
10 June 2017 - Bee hives at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are destined for research that could help Nebraska's beekeepers better understand bees, their benefits, and how to tailor habitat to protect them. The studies will involve protecting bees from drifting pesticides with tree stands and the benefits of roadside flowers. (more)

US: Vice President's wife installs beehive at official residence
6 June 2017 - Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen, has opened their government residence to more than a few new inhabitants: honeybees. At least 15,000 of them. Mrs. Pence showed off the beehive Tuesday [6 June], partly to draw attention to a decline in managed bee colonies that she and other officials say could negatively affect U.S. agricultural production. The bees at the Pence's residence will help the flower and vegetable gardens on the property . . .The honey they produce will be given away as gifts. (more)

Tulips bloom in Kashmir as Indian farmers discover flower power
1 June 2017 - As the Himalayan region [Kashmir] struggles with unemployment and the loss of large swathes of its agricultural land to construction, local farmers are being won over to floriculture. Rubeena Begam, a flower grower in central Kashmir's Budgam district who once dreamed of a government job, now has more than 60 people working for her. Cut flowers from her farm are picked up by distributors who take them to major urban centers like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad, where flowers for religious festivals, marriage ceremonies, and temple offerings are in high demand. Officials said growers are reporting interest from buyers in other Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan. Imtiyaz Nazki, a researcher at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, said flower cultivation offers 15 times more profit than traditional farming, and requires far less land. (more)

US: Organic farming expert John Mesko talks about how, despite barriers, it's still a growth industry
27 May 2017 - John Mesko, executive director at Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), has a broad background in both conventional and organic farming. He worked in product development, fertilizer sales and biotechnology research early in his career, led the Sustainable Farming Association in Minnesota for several years, and joined MOSES last September. The Spring Valley-based nonprofit works to promote sustainable and organic agriculture, and is best known for playing host to the nation's largest organic farming conference each year in La Crosse, Wis., and for numerous educational programs. Mesko spoke recently in Minneapolis about the demand for organic food and barriers to organic producers, and answered questions in an interview afterward. [Excerpts of interview in full article:] (more)

London's Chelsea Flower Show in full bloom
26 May 2017 - Britain's most prestigious flower show is taking place this week with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of floral delights from Alium to Zantedeschia. The highlight of Britain's horticultural calendar, the annual Chelsea Flower Show in London's sprawling Royal Hospital complex features a host of elaborate gardens designed by experts and is famous for its unusual installations. (more)

RHS Chelsea Flower Show: Gardens bloom into action with a Royal Visit
22 May 2017 - Take a look around the Chelsea Flower Show, a day before doors open to the general public. The world's most famous gardening event, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, attracts around 165,000 visitors every year. This year's event will be the 104th show. The Queen is the patron of the Royal Horticultural Society. During her reign, she has attended all but 12 Shows. (more)

US: Why Congress should make organic agriculture a national priority
20 May 2017 - Organic crop and farm bill discussions wait for no man. Even as U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue gets settled into his new role, Congress is talking about agriculture policy and listening to stakeholders. A key emerging theme is that many food producers and rural communities are struggling. At a transitional moment such as this, it's important to remember that organic agriculture leads to more profitable farms and job creation. A recent study from Pennsylvania State University shows that when there is a density of organic operations, annual median household income increases by more than $2,000 and county-level unemployment goes down. (more)

Go inside the Chelsea Flower Show 2017 in London
15 May 2017 - It's no secret: The English adore their gardens. And this month, the most enthusiastic, including Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, can be seen in their element at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show in London. The Chelsea Flower Show (which has, since 1913, been the Royal Horticultural Society's main event) is scheduled to return to London on May 23-27. There, 157,000 people will be admitted to admire the billions of blooms, which are bound to include the nation's flower, the Tudor rose. (more)


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


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)

Compass Green: Maharishi School graduate plants seeds of sustainability
15 March 2015 - Justin Cutter is a young, visionary, ecological gardener and educator who found a unique way to bring the message of sustainability to communities across the country. Several years ago Justin and Nick Runkle, his schoolmate from Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, set out to realize Nick's idea of creating a mobile greenhouse in a box truck. This became the Compass Green project, which has been featured on the Disney Channel and backed by leading national brands such as Dr Bronner Soaps, Frontier Natural Products, and Chipotle. Justin now travels the USA teaching thousands of students how to grow their own food and inspiring administrators to start school gardens. (more)

Maharishi University of Management, USA: Applied Soil Technology graduates in demand
27 November 2014 - Graduates of the Applied Soil Technologies track of Maharishi University of Management's Sustainable Living department are in demand worldwide. Many are working on leading edge projects both in the US and abroad, educating growers in determining which beneficial soil organisms are missing from soils, and restoring the land's health and vitality. One MUM graduate involved in long term research said, 'It will not be determined by how clean and renewable our energy is and how much we curb greenhouse gas emissions, but rather by what we do with the carbon already in our atmosphere. That is why we are doing this research, to see if agriculture is the solution, rather than the main contributor of climate change and global warming.' (more)

Student organic farmers harvest thousands of pounds of produce
16 November 2014 - Over the summer students of Maharishi University of Management, USA, produced thousands of pounds of vegetables that were sold locally. Under the guidance of Dr Steve McLaskey, students had the opportunity to learn state-of-the-art organic farming which included planting, transplanting, driving tractors, harvesting, soil management, composting, and marketing the produce. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


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)

Arctic stronghold of world's seeds flooded after permafrost melts
19 May 2017 - It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world's most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity's food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel. No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide failsafe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change. (more)

Rising cashew demand fuels smuggling from Ivory Coast
21 March 2017 - Rising demand for cashew nuts has fueled smuggling from Ivory Coast to Ghana and other countries, damaging the quality of exports from the world's top producer, farmers, and exporters said on Tuesday, 21 March. Ivory Coast is on track to produce a record 715,000 tonnes of raw cashews this year thanks to good weather, but exporters estimate that about 100,000 tonnes, including the best-quality nuts, could be smuggled out of the country. (more)

World's last wild frankincense forests are under threat
24 December 2016 - In a tradition dating to Biblical times, men rise at dawn in the rugged Cal Madow mountains of Somaliland in the Horn of Africa to scale rocky outcrops in search of the prized sap of wild frankincense trees. When dried and burned, the sap produces a fragrant smoke which perfumes churches and mosques around the world. But now these last intact wild frankincense forests on Earth are under threat as prices have shot up in recent years with the global appetite for essential oils. Overharvesting has led to the trees dying off faster than they can replenish, putting the ancient resin trade at risk. (more)

More bad news for honey as U.S. seeks to get handle on glyphosate residues in food
2 November 2016 - Testing for residues of an herbicide developed by Monsanto Co. that has been linked to cancer has turned up high levels in honey from the key farm state of Iowa, adding to concerns about contamination that have triggered at least two lawsuits against honey industry players and prompted scrutiny by regulators. Research by FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem and John Vargo, a chemist at the University of Iowa, shows that residues of glyphosate - the chief ingredient in Monsanto's branded Roundup herbicide - have been detected at 653 parts per billion, more than 10 times the limit of 50 ppb allowed in the European Union. Other samples tested detected glyphosate residues in honey samples at levels from the low 20s ppb to 123 parts per billion ppb. Some samples had none or only trace amounts below levels of quantification. Previous reports had disclosed glyphosate residues in honey detected as high as 107 ppb. The collaborative work was part of an effort within FDA to establish and validate testing methodology for glyphosate residues. 'According to recent reports, there has been a dramatic increase in the usage of these herbicides, which are of risk to both human health and the environment,' Chamkasem and Vargo stated in their laboratory bulletin. (more)

Little evidence that genetically modified crops improve yields
29 October 2016 - An extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. An analysis by The Times using United Nations data showed that the United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields - food per acre - when measured against Western Europe, a region with comparably modernized agricultural producers like France and Germany. Also, a recent National Academy of Sciences report found that 'there was little evidence' that the introduction of genetically modified crops in the United States had led to yield gains beyond those seen in conventional crops. At the same time, herbicide use has increased in the United States, even as major crops like corn, soybeans, and cotton have been converted to modified varieties. And the United States has fallen behind Europe's biggest producer, France, in reducing the overall use of pesticides, which includes both herbicides and insecticides. (more)

US: North Carolina's noxious pig farms
25 October 2016 - In states where hog farmers use waste lagoons, like North Carolina and Illinois, flooding is a serious hazard that may become more frequent as climate change leads to more severe storms. Even under normal conditions, lagoons can produce dangerous gases, noxious smells, and dust containing hog waste. People living near these lagoons are at increased risk of asthma, diarrhea, eye irritation, depression, and other health problems. (more)

Does big agribusiness really feed the world? New data says not so much
5 October 2016 - A new study suggests that U.S. agribusiness is mainly providing processed food and animal feed to the wealthiest nations. Ever since the U.N. announced that the world population is projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050 and global food production will have to more than double by that time, U.S. agricultural and agribusiness interests have been making the case that America's farmers will have to double their production of grain and meat to 'feed the world.' Those who make this argument maintain that industrial farming -- which relies heavily on biotechnology and pesticides -- is the only way U.S. farmers can double production, while organic and other agroecological methods will only put countless people at risk of hunger and malnutrition. But new data compiled by Environmental Working Group (EWG) makes it clear that we're not really feeding the parts of the world that need it. In reality, most agricultural exports from the U.S. go to countries whose citizens can afford to pay for them. Our top five export destinations are Canada, China, Mexico, the European Union, and Japan -- all countries with 'high' or 'very high' UN development scores and 'very low' or 'moderately low' Food and Agriculture Organization hunger scores. (more)

US: EPA says glyphosate, used in Monsanto Roundup herbicide, likely not carcinogenic
16 September 2016 - Glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto Co's Roundup herbicide, is not likely carcinogenic to humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday as it outlined its current position on the controversial chemical. Other government authorities have issued a variety of opinions. The European Food Safety Authority last November said glyphosate was 'unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.' (more)

Foreign GMO seed firms rally behind Monsanto in Indian alliance
26 August 2016 - Major international seed companies in India formed an alliance on Friday, seeking the support of their peers after a flurry of regulatory steps in recent months by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. Executives from companies including the local businesses of Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Dupont Pioneer, and Syngenta announced the alliance in a crowded Press Club of India conference room. India is Monsanto's biggest market outside the Americas. Monsanto objected to a government proposal that would force it to share its technology with local seed companies. It has also taken the government to court over a cut in the royalty it gets from seed companies for licensing use of its patented technology. The New Delhi press conference was a show of solidarity with Monsanto... on Friday its India head, Shilpa Divekar Nirula, said there was a need to align Modi's goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022 with what firms like Monsanto can offer. (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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