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Positive Trends
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


US: Iowa farmers use organic crops to get greater profits
24 February 2018 - Although still a small piece of Iowa farming, more and more growers are shifting to organic corn, soybeans, and other crops to improve their bottom line. The number of Iowa farms and acres certified as organic have each climbed about 5 percent last year over 2015, U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys show. Sales climbed 9 percent to $131.2 million. Altogether, the organics industry is closing in on $50 billion annually. (more)

US: Senators want to bolster research of organic agriculture
24 February 2018 - A pair of U.S. senators is introducing legislation designed to improve organic farming research. Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine say their legislation would reauthorize and incrementally increase funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. (more)

Canada: Saskatchewan organic sector leading the country
23 February 2018 - The Canadian organic sector was responsible for more than $5.4 billion in retail sales in 2017, and much of that success can be traced back to Saskatchewan, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. There are 824 certified organic farmers in Saskatchewan, and 29 per cent of all certified organic land in Canada is based in Saskatchewan. (more)

Federal government to help fund Canadian Organic Standards review
23 February 2018 - The federal government will commit $250,000 towards a review process of the Canadian Organic Standards, a procedure that must be conducted every five years. Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAuley announced the funding January 26 acknowledging the Canadian organic industry is one of Canada's fastest-growing agricultural sectors, with more than $5.4 billion in retail sales in 2017. Growing the Canadian organic sector will contribute to the government's goal of reaching $75 billion in annual agri-food exports by 2025, he said. (more)

Promoting the development of Canada's organic sector
23 February 2018 - The Canadian organic industry is one of Canada's fastest growing agricultural sectors ... Speaking last month at the Guelph Organic Conference and Tradeshow, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced that the Government of Canada is providing essential support to update the Canadian Organic Standards. (more)

There are climate solutions in our soil
23 February 2018 - If you're looking for a way to combat climate change, look no further than your kitchen table. Our food system accounts for approximately 20 to 30 per cent of human-made greenhouse gasses emitted globally, and most of those emissions are directly tied to agriculture. ... Numerous studies have found that organic farming methods reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency in agriculture. (more)

US: Court upholds Arkansas' ban on Monsanto farm chemical
16 February 2018 - An Arkansas judge on Friday (16 February) dismissed a Monsanto Co lawsuit aiming to stop Arkansas from blocking the use of a controversial farm chemical the company makes, dealing a blow to its attempts to increase sales of genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto, which is being acquired by Bayer AG, filed the lawsuit last year in a bid to halt the state's ban on sprayings of the weed killer known as dicamba from the period spanning April 16 to October 31. (more)

Canada: Organic Alberta brings conference, a growing industry to Red Deer
9 February 2018 - A fast-growing industry, organic farmers gathered in Red Deer for their annual conference. The two-day event, held by Organic Alberta, brought in farmers from across Alberta, Canada to learn more about organic farming. Becky Lipton, Organic Alberta executive director, said Alberta has the strongest organics industry in the country and it is growing. (more)

Organic food provides significant environmental benefits to plant-rich diets
9 February 2018 - A major new study confirms that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is better for the planet than one high in animal products. The study also finds that organic food provides significant, additional climate benefits for plant-based diets, but not for diets with only moderate contribution from plant products. This is the first-ever study to look at the environmental impacts of both food choices and farm production systems. (more)

Plant-based and organic diets have significant benefits for the environment, study confirms
9 February 2018 - New research is the first to examine the environmental effects of both diet and farm production systems. A landmark new study has provided the strongest evidence yet that a predominantly plant-based diet has less environmental impact than one that is high in animal products. In addition, the research indicated that organic food was also beneficial for the planet, but only for those who consume a plant-based diet. (more)


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


Teaching regenerative organic agriculture to Bhutan refugees: Maharishi University of Management faculty
2 January 2018 - During a recent workshop on regenerative organic agriculture, Maharishi University of Management (MUM) faculty Dr. A. Thimmaiah helped a group of Bhutanese refugees learn to grow their native food while also learning to heal themselves and the planet. The workshops with Dr Thimmaiah are sponsored by Lutheran Social Services in Fargo, North Dakota. Dr. Thimmaiah is associate professor of sustainable living at MUM and heads the BA in Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program. He is a former agriculture advisor to Bhutan and a top expert in organic and biodynamic agriculture who authored the national organic standards for Bhutan. (more)

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)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


India's farmed chickens dosed with world's strongest antibiotics, study finds
1 February 2018 - Chickens raised in India for food have been dosed with some of the strongest antibiotics known to medicine, in practices that could have repercussions throughout the world. Hundreds of tonnes of an 'antibiotic of last resort' -- only used in the most extreme cases of sickness -- are shipped to India each year to be used, without medical supervision, on animals that may not require the drugs but are being dosed with them nevertheless to promote the growth of healthy animals. (more)

Crop munching pest in Africa raises hunger threat
26 January 2018 - A crop munching worm that can fly up to 100 km (60 miles) at night is spreading rapidly across Africa, threatening food production and the livelihoods of millions of farmers already struggling with conflicts and drought, experts said on Friday (26 January). The larvae form of fall armyworm prefers maize, but can feed on more than 80 plant species including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops, and cotton, said the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). (more)

US: Study blames marijuana farms for poisoning of threatened owls
11 January 2018 - Rat poison is contaminating threatened northern spotted owls in California forests, and marijuana farms appear to be to blame, according to a study published Thursday (11 January). The study published in the journal Avian Conservation and Ecology focused on owls in Northern California's Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties, part of the so-called Emerald Triangle, where remote farms -- many in old-growth forests -- produce much of the marijuana grown for the U.S. black market. (more)

As climate threats grow, Iraq battles a new enemy: Water shortages
12 December 2017 - After years battling Islamic State militants, Iraqi farmers -- many of them military volunteers -- are now returning to their homes and fields only to find a new threat: a shortage of water. Construction of dams and other water-holding facilities in upstream Turkey and Iran, combined with increasingly erratic rainfall across the region, mean the amount of water flowing in key Iraqi rivers has fallen by at least 40 percent in recent decades, said Hassan Janabi, the country's water resources minister. (more)

Monsanto offers cash to U.S. farmers who use controversial chemical
11 December 2017 - Monsanto Co will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use. (more)

Argentina permits new enetically modified soybean seed as EU debates weed-killer glyphosate
24 November 2017 - Argentina authorized on Friday (24 November) the use of genetically modified soybean seeds resistant to herbicides other than glyphosate, as the European Union (EU) debates whether to extend the license of weed-killers containing the ingredient. The EU debate comes amid concerns the active ingredient in Monsanto Co's popular weed-killer Roundup causes cancer. That has caused concern in the South American country, the No. 1 exporter of soybean meal and soybean oil and No. 3 raw soybean exporter, that its exports to the EU could be in jeopardy. (more)

US: Mental health issues cropping up as financial stress continues on farms
18 November 2017 - Organic dairy farmer Kevin Stuedemann knows how it feels to be on the verge of calling it quits. After several producers in his area went out of business, Stuedemann's milk buyer ended its contract with him on 30 days' notice because there were no longer enough organic dairies nearby to justify sending a truck. .... Minnesota's farmers are worn down, both financially and emotionally, after nearly half a decade of soft prices that have upended the economics of one of the most important segments of the state's economy. Many have done their best to cut costs, rebalance debt, and stretch out loan payments, but they have also burned through savings and are running on empty. There is no indication that things will get better soon ... Farmers are no strangers to stress. They cope with unpredictable weather, physically demanding work, soaring health insurance costs, and other pressures. But four consecutive years of stagnant prices and barely making a profit -- or losing money -- is difficult to endure. ... For Stuedemann, things seem to have turned around. But some of his neighbors are not so fortunate, he said. (more)

AP Explains: Farm runoff and the worsening algae plague
16 November 2017 - Harmful algae blooms have become a top water polluter, fueled by fertilizers washing into lakes, streams and oceans. Federal and state programs have spent billions of dollars on cost-sharing payments to farmers to help prevent nutrient runoff, yet the problem is worsening in many places. . . . The U.S. isn't alone. Many countries are experiencing 'disturbing trends of increasing bloom incidence' and growing economic losses, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. (more)

Scale of 'nitrate timebomb' revealed
10 November 2017 - Huge quantities of nitrate chemicals from farm fertilisers are polluting the rocks beneath our feet, a study says. Researchers at the British Geological Survey say it could have severe global-scale consequences for rivers, water supplies, human health, and the economy. In a paper in Nature Communications, the scientists from BGS and Lancaster University estimate that up to 180 million tonnes of nitrate are stored in rocks worldwide -- perhaps twice the amount stored in soils. They say this is the first global estimate of the amount of nitrate trapped between the soil layer and the water-bearing aquifers below. They warn that over time the nitrate will inevitably slowly seep into the aquifers. (more)

Pesticide residue on fruits and veggies tied to infertility
31 October 2017 - Women who eat more fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue may be less likely to get pregnant than women whose diets don't include a lot of this type of produce, a U.S. study suggests. ... women who ate the highest amounts of these foods ... were 18 percent less likely to have a baby. 'We already knew that women occupationally exposed to pesticides and women exposed to pesticides used in agriculture by virtue of living in or near agricultural production areas experience greater risk of infertility, pregnancy loss, and other adverse reproductive outcomes,' said senior study author Dr. Jorge Chavarro, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. 'Our study is the first to show that exposure to low doses of pesticide residues, such as those achieved by consuming conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, may also have adverse health effects,' Chavarro said by email. ... buying organic fruits and vegetables makes sense for foods that typically have high levels of pesticide residue, he said. (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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