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Refugees sow crops with Kenyan hosts - and reap integration
10 August 2018 - Kenyan villager Ekeno Pedo never considered that golden fields of sorghum -- or indeed any crop -- might one day flourish on the outskirts of his village in drought-stricken Turkana county. A 14-year project aims to provide refugees with sustainable livelihoods through agriculture, while helping them integrate with the local Kenyan community. The fields that have sprung up in this vast and arid scrubland in Kenya's northwest are in part due to the hard work of refugees, who have come here from neighbouring South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda in recent decades. Residents and refugees alike say it has worked well. (more)

African refugee grows homeland's bitter eggplants in Vermont
9 August 2018 - After surviving refugee camps in Africa, Janine Ndagijimana settled in Vermont and began to dream of farming. When she considered what to plant, she thought back to her time in Tanzania and settled on the African eggplant, also called bitter ball or garden egg. It wasn't found in Vermont, and she remembered how it garnered a good price at the refugee market. These days, Ndagijimana's farming of the oblong white fruit and other varieties has turned her into a refugee success story in Vermont, one of the least culturally or racially diverse states . . . She's part of a growing number of farmers from other parts of the world who have used social media, the internet, and niche markets often in big cities to successfully sell crops native to their home countries. (more)

India: Festival to showcase over 350 traditional seeds
27 July 2018 - The second Auroville Seed Festival happening on Saturday (28 July) at the Bharat Nivas in the universal township. It will simultaneously be a celebration of traditional seed varieties, local farming communities and organic agricultural practices. The event will showcase over 350 traditional varieties and will be hosted by the Sustainable Livelihood Institute (SLI), Auroville. (more)

India: State level training on organic farming held
23 July 2018 - With an objective to make agriculture sustainable, restore ecological balance, improve soil quality and health, promote indigenous crops and put an end to chemical farming, a two-day State Level Training Program on Organic/Natural Farming began on Monday (23 July). Speaking on the concept of organic farming, founder and director Rural Connect (RC) Botoshe said organic agriculture was an integrated production management system which promotes agro-eco-system health, while also enhancing biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. (more)

Kazakhstan goes organic in bid to build niche in grains market
19 July 2018 - Kazakhstan is tapping growing consumer demand for organic crops to help it better compete in the food-export market. The country wants to use much of its vast uncultivated lands to grow soybeans and other non-genetically modified crops for markets such as China and the European Union, Agriculture Vice Minister Gulmira Isaeva said. By offering non-GMO and pesticide-free produce, it hopes to carve out a niche in a crops market dominated by giants such as Russia, Australia, or the U.S. (more)

Why ancient farming practices have resurged in a storied part of Mexico City
19 July 2018 - Xochimilco is a network of ancient, man-made canals and floating islands in southern Mexico City -- an area that was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Today it's known for its crowds of tourists and brightly painted party boats. But Lucio Usobiaga is focused on something else here: ancient farming practices. 'Farming organically is the best way to preserve the chinampas,' he says of the islands. Mr. Usobiaga co-founded a nongovernmental organization, Yolcan, in 2011 to preserve and spread this kind of farming in Xochimilco. (more)

India: Government to showcase Sikkim's success in organic farming
13 July 2018 - In a move aimed at giving a push to organic farming across the country, the Agriculture Ministry has decided to showcase the performance of Sikkim in organic farming as the model for its Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY). As per officials, the initiative would help in encouraging farmers to adopt organic farming. ... Sikkim, a small state in the northeastern region that borders China, has achieved the tag of organic state under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who had taken the decision to bring the state's entire agriculture land under organic farming in 2010 and the state was declared an organic state in 2016. (more)

India: Rising demand for chemical-free produce, farmers encouraged to adopt new practice
9 July 2018 - In view of rising demand for chemical-free fruits and vegetables in the local markets, farmers' groups in and around Pune are encouraging cultivators to adopt such practices of production. Tushar Agarwal, the director of Swami Samarth Farmer Producer Company, that runs 20 weekly farmers' markets in Pune and Mumbai said they are making efforts to push for agricultural practices to meet the increased demand from urban customers. (more)

India: Goa's agriculture minister wants farmers to use 'cosmic farming' instead of fertilizer
4 July 2018 - For the past week, farmers in the tourist haven of Goa have been getting WhatsApp videos promoting a new technique to improve crop yields -- by chanting ancient Hindu mantras. Goa's crop mantras are part of a nationwide effort to find alternatives to chemical fertilizers and return to traditional farming amid rising alarm in India about the effect of fertilizer on human health. The mantras demonstrated in the WhatsApp videos are said to reinvigorate microorganisms in the soil so that fertilizers can slowly be phased out. (more)

US: Solar power gaining popularity on South Arkansas farms
4 July 2018 - Fields across Arkansas seem to be sprouting solar panels as multiple growers take advantage of the one thing they can count on: the sun. Solar energy is catching on with Arkansas farmers, which is a trend that is very promising for the state, said Rick Cartwright, head of the Cooperative Extension Service for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. (more)


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


Maharishi Vastu home, organic farm featured in Westchester County, New York
17 May 2018 - With the help of an architect versed in Maharishi Vastu, or ancient Vedic principles of architecture, the owner built a stunning 5,000-square-foot home northeast of New York City, reports LoHud (New York). Maharishi Vastu architecture ensures that a building will have only nourishing influences on its occupants. This results from the use of several key natural law-based, Vedic principles. Then she set out to create an organic farm and orchard on the nearly 5-acre property. Each year, Amba Farms yields nearly 10,000 pounds of produce; some goes to local restaurants for farm-to-table dining, but much is donated to local food pantries. There are also eggs from chickens and nearly 100 fruit trees. (more)

Maharishi University of Management faculty present in India, Rwanda, South Korea, and Bali
15 May 2018 - Maharishi University of Management (MUM) faculty have been making an impact worldwide in recent months, giving presentations in a number of countries around the world, including India, Rwanda, South Korea, and Bali. (more)

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)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Red Cross warns of food crisis in North Korea as crops fail in heat
10 August 2018 - A heat wave in North Korea has led to rice, maize, and other crops withering in the fields, 'with potentially catastrophic effects', the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Friday (10 August). The world's largest disaster relief network warned of a risk of a 'full-blown food security crisis' in the isolated country, where a famine in the mid-1990s killed up to three million people. (more)

Straw prices soar, piling pressure on northern Europe farmers
9 August 2018 - Livestock and dairy farmers across northern Europe are paying soaring prices for straw used in food and bedding for cattle, as hot, dry weather across the region reduces crops. The higher bills put further pressure on farmers already facing one of their toughest summers ever; many have had to purchase more hay for fodder because the grass on which their herds normally graze has not grown. (more)

Beekeeping in Yemen becomes a dangerous profession in war
7 August 2018 - Yemen's beekeepers risk air strikes and land mines as they traverse the country's valleys, transporting their hives on pick-up trucks to produce some of the world's finest honey. The impoverished Arab state, known for its Sidr honey made from the jujube tree, has endured three years of war that have pushed it to the verge of famine and shattered the economy. (more)

Switzerland: Ongoing drought and heatwave imperils cows
7 August 2018 - Swiss army helicopters began airlifting water on Tuesday (7 August) to thousands of thirsty cows who are suffering in a drought and heatwave that has hit much of Europe. Some 40,000 cows graze in the summertime in high-altitude pastures in Vaud canton (state) in western Switzerland and each needs up to 150 liters (40 gallons) of water a day, authorities said. (more)

Heatwave ravages European fields, sending wheat prices soaring
2 August 2018 - Searing heat has devastated wheat fields across northern Europe while a combination of dry conditions and extreme rain in the Black Sea have hit output estimates, with prices soaring on fears of further crop damage. Evidence of serious harm to crops is growing as harvesting heads north in Germany, the European Union's second largest wheat producer, and in Scandinavia, prompting further cuts to estimates for the 28-member bloc. 'The situation is catastrophic in northern Europe,' Strategie Grains head analyst Andree Defois said on Thursday (2 August). (more)

Toxic algae spreads in Baltic waters in biggest bloom in years
1 August 2018 - A huge bloom of toxic algae has spread in the Baltic Sea, forcing people off beaches but delighting scientists who research cancer and antibiotics. The blue-green algae or cyanobacteria is primarily caused by the excess of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus used in food production, in the water. (more)

Europe's blistering heatwave is ruining this year's harvest
16 July 2018 - EU grain growers brace for smallest harvest in six years. Looking out over his parched fields south of Berlin, dairy and grains farmer Thomas Gaebert is wishing for rains to save his crops after relentless hot weather. He's one of many farmers battling for survival after a heatwave and drought swept across northern parts of the continent, damaging crops from wheat to barley. Many German growers could go bankrupt if they suffer another crop failure, and too much rain in France is set to reduce output there. All combined, it's shaping up to be the bloc's smallest grains harvest in six years. 'It looks like a desert out there,' Gaebert said of his farm in Trebbin. His colleagues, who have been farming for 40 years, say they've never seen anything like this. (more)

In India's parched Bundelkhand, drought brings a tide of migration
5 July 2018 - As ever-lengthening drought becomes the new normal, Bundelkhand, a parched region split between India's Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh states, is clearing out. The central Indian region of nearly 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) once received about 800 to 900 mm (31-31 inches) of rain a year, according to India's Meteorological Department. But over the last six to seven years, in particular, that total has nearly halved, with the number of monsoon rain days falling from 52 to 24 over the June to October monsoon period, according to D.K. Dubey, a scientist with the agency. That has caused repeated and widespread crop failures -- and a growing tide of farmers abandoning their land to try to find work in nearby cities. (more)

Iraq bans farming summer crops as water crisis grows dire
5 July 2018 - Iraq has banned its farmers from planting summer crops this year as the country grapples with a crippling water shortage that shows few signs of abating. Citing high temperatures and insufficient rains, Dhafer Abdalla, an adviser to Iraq's Ministry of Water Resources, told The Associated Press that the country has only enough water to irrigate half its farmland this summer. But farmers fault the government for failing to modernize how it manages water and irrigation, and they blame neighboring Turkey for stopping up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers behind dams it wants to keep building. (more)

Tens of thousands of Kenyans go hungry after floods - aid agencies
4 July 2018 - Tens of thousands of survivors of Kenya's worst floods in recent years are living on the brink with barely enough food to eat two months after the disaster, aid workers warned on Wednesday (4 July), calling on authorities to provide increased funding and support. Incessant heavy rainfall in March and April caused dams and rivers in parts of the East African nation to overflow, submerging crops, and washing away homes. At least 186 people died and more than 300,000 others were forced to flee. (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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