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Organic food is $63 billion global industry
18 May 2013 - 2011 is the most recent year for statistics on the growth of the organic industry worldwide, but here's an update. Organic food is a $63 billion industry globally, according to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). From 2002 - 2011, the industry grew 170 per cent, or about 19 per cent a year. The US is the largest single market for organic food (and beverages), but developing countries are the biggest producers. Germany and France are the other dominant markets for organic food and Switzerland, Denmark, and Luxemburg consume the most organic food per capita. (more)
US: Rising consumer demands aids organic industry sway
18 May 2013 - The organic food industry is gaining influence on Capitol Hill, prompted by its entry into traditional farm states and by increasing consumer demand. Representative Kurt Schrader of Oregon, a former organic farmer, offered an amendment to make it easier for organic companies to organize industry-wide promotional campaigns. The amendment was adopted. Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican who owns a farm equipment business and a corn and soybean farm, said she supported the amendment not only because helping organics is good for agriculture but because many of her constituents eat organic foods. The amendment would allow the organic industry to organize and pay for a unified industry promotional campaign called a 'check-off' that is facilitated by the Agriculture Department but is no cost to the government. (more)
Germany: Promoting biodiversity with organic agriculture
15 May 2013 - About now, 25 farmers in the Lüneburger Heide - Wendland area will be sowing many flower strips and areas with a flower mixture put together specially for the project by the advisors on nature conservation at the Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau Niedersachsen, an organization that promotes organic farming and does consultancy. (more)
UN's FAO and Slow Food to boost livelihoods of small farmers
15 May 2013 - The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the international non-profit organization Slow Food have agreed to promote traditional cooking and locally produced food as part of a project to boost incomes for small farmers and rural communities. 'Slow Food and FAO share the same vision of a sustainable and hunger-free world, safeguarding biodiversity for future generations,' said FAO, Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva, signing a three-year Memo of Understanding with Slow Food. (more)
India: 'Revolutionary' rice-growing method gets much more for less
10 May 2013 - Known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the rethink on traditional ways of growing is raising the bar on crop yield, with one Indian farmer reported to have set a new world record using the SRI method. The grower, from the northern state of Bihar, has harvested 22.4 tonnes of rice from just a single hectare of land and did so using only farmyard manure as a fertilizer. That's close to ten times the average yield per hectare achieved by India's farmers. (more)
USDA says more review needed for new Monsanto, Dow GMO crops
10 May 2013 - The Department of Agriculture said Friday it will extend its scrutiny of controversial proposed biotech crops developed by Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, and Monsanto Company after receiving an onslaught of opposition to the companies' plans. The news frustrated Dow officials who had hoped to have secured regulatory approval and have their new herbicide-tolerant corn called 'Enlist' on the market by 2013 or 2014 at the latest. Critics of the chemical companies applauded the move. 'USDA is taking the issue...seriously,' said Paul Towers, a spokesman for the Pesticide Action Network. 'We're hoping that a thorough review... will ultimately result in denials.' (more)
US: Vermont should follow Bhutan's lead to all-organic farms
7 May 2013 - The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, a truly progressive state with failing farms and persistent water pollution, has announced that it will convert all its farmers - all of them - to organic, making Bhutan the first nation in the world to defend its environment against the scourge that is conventional agriculture. Bhutan has a population of just over 700,000, about the same size as Vermont. What about Vermont following Bhutan to salvation? (more)
Australia's almond industry makes a comeback
29 April 2013 - Australia has overtaken Spain to become the world's second biggest producer of almonds. The industry has recovered from several miserable years with a record harvest and the opening of the largest processing plant in the Southern Hemisphere. Managed investment schemes have helped launch the local nut onto the world stage. (more)
Scotland: Sheep the secret weapon in Giant Hogweed battle
29 April 2013 - It is a ferocious weed that can blister and burn unsuspecting victims while also causing havoc in its surrounding environment however the unique genetic make-up of the humble sheep means it may have met its match. Scots environmentalists have launched an innovative bid to destroy the spread of Giant Hogweed by introducing sheep to decimate the plant. (more)
Peru says no to GMO
25 April 2013 - Peru is the first country in the Americas to ban genetically modified foods, putting its food policy closer to that of Europe, than the United States or many of its South American neighbours. Peru was the cradle of the Inca Empire, and today it's home to many crops indigenous to the Americas. It has 400 varieties of potato alone, and a geography that allows farmers to grow almost anything. It's also the only country in the Americas to put a 10-year ban on genetically modified food, with a law that was first introduced in 2011, and went into effect at the end of last year. Its basic intention is to protect Peru's biodiversity, as well as the practices that have kept it intact for so long. (more)
Success of Maharishi's Programmes
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories
LIVE WEBCAST - 'Feeding Our Future': Bhutanese Vedic Organic expert speaks at Maharishi University of Management - 15 May, 8pm US CDT
15 May 2013 - MUMTV presents a free live webcast--'Feeding our future: What we must do to nourish our bodies, our communities, and our planet'--by Dr A. Thimmaiah, developer of Bhutan National Organic Standards and senior advisor to the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, a division of Bhutan's Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. He is a respected global expert in organic and Maharishi Vedic organic agriculture. Tonight's talk is presented by the Distinguished Lecture Series at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. (more)
'Feeding our future': MUM hosts Bhutanese Vedic Organic Agriculture expert - Live webcast on MUMTV, Wed 15 May
14 May 2013 - As part of Maharishi University of Management's Distinguished Lecture Series, MUMTV will webcast a live presentation on Vedic Organic Agriculture by Dr A. Thimmaiah, developer of Bhutan National Organic Standards and senior advisor to the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, a division of Bhutan's Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. The title of his talk is: 'Feeding our future: What we must do to nourish our bodies, our communities, and our planet'. Dr Thimmaiah's visit is being hosted by the MUM Sustainable Living Department. (more)
India: New Delhi conference features Maharishi University of Management professor
30 April 2013 - Dr Jim Schaefer, director of the Maharishi University of Management Agriculture Institute, USA, recently presented a paper in New Delhi, India, titled 'Sustainable and Consciousness-Based Rural Educational and Economic Development'. (more)
Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture course offered at Europe's first Maharishi Peace Palace
9 April 2013 - Europe's first Maharishi Peace Palace, in Erfurt near the centre of Germany, is hosting a course in Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture. Dr Eckart Stein, Peace Palace director and one of the project leaders for its recently completed construction, explained that Dr Peter Swan would be giving a public lecture on Vedic organic farming and gardening. 'Everyone who has a garden, who is just growing tomatoes or flowers on his windowsill, who has a farming house, or all those who just want to learn about the intelligence of nature--they all should come to the public lecture.' (more)
Noted entrepreneur and organic herb producer to teach MUM Rotating University course in Costa Rica
15 March 2013 - Tom Newmark, the former CEO of New Chapter, Inc, one of America's most respected and successful organic vitamin companies, is co-owner of Finca Luna Nueva, an eco-resort and biodynamic organic herb farm in Costa Rica that provides tropical-grown botanicals for some of New Chapter's products. This April, the Sustainable Living Department at Maharishi University of Management is offering an MUM Rotating University course on tropical organic agriculture and rainforest ecology, which will be co-taught by Mr Newmark on the Finca Luna Nueva farm. Mr Newmark recently gave a talk at MUM on 'Organic Agriculture to the Rescue: Using Ancient Farming Wisdom to Heal Our Broken Atmosphere'--about organic agriculture as a simple solution to global warming. (more)
Nepal: Certified organic tea produced with care for the environment
11 January 2013 - The Kanchanjangha Tea Estate and Research Centre (KTE), the first cooperative organic tea plantation in Nepal, is committed to conserving the environment through using organic farming methods and conducting regular training for farmers. KTE's founder, Dr Deepak Baskota, who is national director of Nepal Maharishi Vedic Foundation, has organized conferences on Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture in recent years, drawing leading members of the Nepalese government and farming community who are interested in seeing all of Nepal's agriculture converted to organic. (more)
Nepal's first organic tea plantation raises villagers' standard of living
6 January 2013 - The story of how Kanchanjangha Tea Estate (KTE) in Nepal came into being is an inspiring testimony to the dedication of one individual to the welfare of his nation. The idea came to Dr Deepak Baskota that if a tea plantation could be set up in his locality, it would be a way to raise the villagers' standard of living while maintaining their independence and traditional way of life. After some years of developing the idea and gaining village farmers' support, in 1984 the enterprise was launched on a cooperative model, with over 100 farmers pooling their land holdings and becoming joint owners of Nepal's first organic tea plantation, covering nearly 94 hectares. (more)
Maharishi University of Management farm passes organic certification inspection
23 December 2012 - For the eighth year in a row, Maharishi University of Management's farm has renewed its certification by meeting the rigorous federal guidelines of the USDA-accredited Nature's International Certification Services. In her report the inspector wrote, 'The organic agriculture program at MUM is amazing. The soil building, composting, greenhouse operations are second to none.' The farm uses Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture principles. In addition to avoiding toxic chemicals, this approach enlivens the plant's inner intelligence, so that the vegetables have maximum nutritional value and promote growth of consciousness. (more)
Mozambique: Former President Chissano's organic farm a model of simplicity, profitability for his country
8 October 2012 - A 600-hectare organic farm near Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, established by former President Joaquim Chissano, was one of several places Dr Bevan Morris visited in Mozambique earlier this year. Dr Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management, learned about how the farm employs local labour and utilizes simple harvesting methods. With these methods farmers can grow crops efficiently and sell the harvest at a profit. President Chissano wants to set an example for the country of how to farm profitably using this system. (more)
Actual results with GM crops fall short of biotech companies' claims: Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture expert
29 September 2012 - Continuing his recent lecture about the dangers inherent in genetic modification of food, Dr Peter Swan, an expert in Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, described striking differences between large biotech companies' claims of safety, reduced pesticide use, higher yields, and other benefits of crops grown from their GM seeds--and findings of current research that often show opposite effects. (more)
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories
GMO corn strain threatens Mexico's indigenous corn
16 May 2013 - Mexico has 59 strains of native corn. While the country has some GMO corn as well, activists are concerned about expanding its reach. (more)
Idaho company wants to reintroduce biotech potatoes
15 May 2013 - A dozen years after a customer revolt forced Monsanto to ditch its genetically engineered potato, an Idaho company aims to resurrect high-tech spuds. This month, tuber processing giant JR Simplot Co. asked the US government to approve five varieties of biotech potatoes. They're engineered not to develop ugly black bruises. McDonald's, which gets many of its fries from Simplot, rejects those. They're also designed to have less of a natural but potentially cancer-causing neurotoxin, acrylamide. Bill Freese, science policy analyst with Washington, DC-based Centre for Food Safety, said Simplot's potatoes join a litany of other genetically engineered crops that don't face rigorous-enough USDA or FDA testing. Freese says genetic engineering is a noisy, unpredictable process, where the best-intentioned genome tinkering could be accompanied by unforeseen effects on human health and the environment. Freese said the absence of long-term animal feeding trials and labelling requirements is also cause for worry, since potatoes are staple crops people eat directly. (more)
Some 800,000 people to need food aid in Niger - UN
12 May 2013 - Some 800,000 people will require food aid in Niger in the coming months despite a good harvest last year due to problems supplying cereals to markets, which have pushed up prices, and an influx of Malian refugees, the United Nations said. The UN office for humanitarian coordination (OCHA) said they would need food from now until the start of the rainy season, which is usually in July, July, and August. It said the situation was critical in 13 regions surveyed by the government in March, where 84,000 people needed emergency food aid. The agency cited problems with supplying food to markets in some areas, such as the northern mining region of Arlit and Tahoua in central Niger and Tillabery in the west, which had driven up cereals prices. The presence of some 60,000 refugees from Mali -- where a French-led international mission has battled Islamist rebels since January -- has exacerbated the food shortages in Tillabery and Tahoua, OCHA has said. (more)
Honey bee losses up 42% this past winter, threatening millions in US crops
7 May 2013 - Nearly one-third of the managed honeybees in the United States died last winter -- up 42 per cent from the previous winter and a level of loss that threatens about 70 agricultural crops that depend on pollination. According to a survey released Tuesday by the US Department of Agriculture and two industry groups, the Bee Informed Partnership and Apiary Inspectors of America, 31.9 per cent of managed bee colonies were lost last winter. Losses in the winter of 2011-12 totaled 21.9 per cent. (more)
US: Honeybee woes are costly for Valley almond growers
5 May 2013 - Every January the world's biggest honeybee migration begins, as beekeepers around the country make their way to California with millions of hives to pollinate the state's vast almond orchards. Lately, it's been a troubled migration. The worry stems from colony collapse disorder -- a poorly understood phenomenon in which the majority of bees disappear from a hive in rapid fashion, usually within two weeks. No sign of the bees is found. Usually, when bees die in the hive they are deposited outside by the other bees. The sight of empty trays inside a bee box is chilling for beekeepers and the brokers who help place the bees on almond farms. And it is unwelcome news for almond growers, who must pay more for increasingly scarce bees. Almond trees depend wholly on the bees for pollination. (more)
Insecticide firms in secret bid to stop ban that could save bees
28 April 2013 - Europe is on the brink of a landmark ban on the world's most widely used insecticides, which have increasingly been linked to serious declines in bee numbers. The prospect of a ban has prompted a fierce behind-the-scenes campaign. In a letter released to the Observer under freedom of information rules, the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, told the chemicals company Syngenta last week that he was 'extremely disappointed' by the European commission's proposed ban. He said that 'the UK has been very active' in opposing it and 'our efforts will continue and intensify in the coming days'. The chemical companies, which make billions from the products, have also lobbied hard, with Syngenta even threatening to sue individual European Union officials involved in publishing a report that found the pesticides posed an unacceptable risk to bees. (more)
Heavy use of herbicide Roundup linked to health dangers-US study
25 April 2013 - Heavy use of the world's most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson's, infertility, and cancers, according to a new study. The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of 'glyphosate,' the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food. Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D Little, Inc. 'Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,' the study says. (more)
The curse of fertilizer
16 April 2013 - Nitrogen fertilizer fuels bountiful harvests, more than a hundred million tonnes are applied worldwide every year. Yet this modern miracle exacts a price. Runaway nitrogen is suffocating wildlife in lakes and estuaries, contaminating groundwater, and even warming the globe's climate. As a hungry world looks ahead to billions more mouths needing nitrogen-rich protein, how much clean water and air will survive our demand for fertile fields? (more)
Canada: GMO fears do not 'translate to the average consumer'
11 April 2013 - Although many farmers took up placards this week to protest the possible introduction of genetically modified alfalfa into Canada, experts say that for the average Canadian consumer, the issue of bioengineered foods barely registers. 'These concerns among farmers and informed groups of consumers does not translate to the average consumer. They are too far removed from the concerns of the farming community,' says Andreas Boecker, an associate professor at the University of Guelph whose research includes studying consumer acceptance of GM foods. (more)
Hunger stalks villagers in drought-hit west India
11 April 2013 - Millions of people in India's western state of Maharashtra are at serious risk of hunger after two years of low rainfall, coupled with poor management of water resources, have left dams empty, farmland parched, and cattle emaciated, aid agencies warned on Thursday. Charities say the problem is partly climatic, but also due partly to poor management of water resources, so that dams once used to irrigate farmland are increasingly being diverted to service the state's rapid industrialisation. As a result, more water from the dams is going to sugar factories and newly built luxury residential areas complete with golf courses, while farmers are losing out on water for crop irrigation and relying more on erratic monsoons, they say. Aid groups say increasing numbers of people are also now migrating to urban centres in Maharashtra in search of work. (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.
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