Organic Farming Manual

Miracle Farm Blueprint

Michael Sherman is the author of Miracle Farm Blueprints. It is a step-by-step guide depicting how you can create your own Miracle farm, a necessary step in surviving any tough disaster or crisis. It entails simple techniques you can use to invent a miracle system together with your family. With it, you can make the best, delicious protein-rich vitamin-packed food all day every day. This system will help you get more food than you can actually eat daily to last through the toughest of times. As a result of this, it will help alleviate your grocery bills. Imagine having a fresh non-disturbed food supply without any restrictions. Here you are going to find a life-changing technique for creating an automated supply of fresh, high-quality organic foods ever! The product is presented to you in the format of an e-book guide. It is designed for anyone who would be interested in making their effort in food production. Continue reading...

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Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture, therefore, is a viable production system based on environmentally benign agricultural practices. The objective of sustainable agriculture is to enhance and sustain production while improving soil fertility, soil tilth, and soil health. While enhancing production, sustainable agriculture must also address environmental issues with regard to water quality and the greenhouse effect. Rather than being the cause, improved agriculture is a solution to certain environmental problems. Sustainable agriculture implies profitable farming on a continuous basis while preserving the natural resource base. It is not synonymous with low-input, organic, or alternative agriculture. In some cases, low input may sustain profitable and environmentally sound farming. In others, it might not. The addition of organic amendments might enhance soil quality, but may not eliminate the need for the judicious use of fertilizers. Large quantities (10 to 20 ton hectare year) of organic...

Modern AgriCulture And iNDiGenous Farmer

Modern agriculture has also unleashed an array of fresh problems. Increased use of pesticides and fertilisers to boost the yield affected the environment severely and proved to be hazardous with the growing threat from chemical residues in soil, water, air and agriculture produces, pest resurgence and soil degradation and drastic depletion in water table. The over dependency on modern science led to a search for corrective technology and inventions, which in turn created a hopeless no-win situation and an irreversible chain-reaction of side effects was set into motion. The farmers, disenchanted with the recipe of modern agriculture as offered by the agricultural journalism set-up, sought alternative methods of knowledge exchange. Several initiatives exploring alternative agricultural methods all over the world demonstrate certain features like These efforts, countering the archetypal, narrative approach by interpretative and analytical presentation of facts, are considered by farmers...

The Primacy of Yields and Modern Agriculture

Between the Neolithic agricultural revolution and a.d. 1200, farming people probably improved the yields of cereals and other crops by selecting better individuals to save for seed and by improving other farming practices. We can make only approximate estimates, however, on the yields they obtained and the magnitudes of improvements achieved. A variety of estimates suggest that, without manure or fallowing, returns for planting wheat may drop as low as three units harvested for one unit planted. Both fallowing and manuring, however, can yield substantial returns of over fifteen to one. Neolithic yields of wheat may have seldom dropped below 400 kilograms per hectare and more likely were in the area of 800 kilograms per hectare in a climate like England's.39 The first improvements known with more certainty in historic times involve more intensive farming practices. One of the best documented innovations was the switch from the two-field system to the three-field system, a transition...

Characteristics of a postpetroleum food and farming system localized and organic

The widespread uptake of ecologically based, organic farming would see changes in land use and human resources. In order to achieve sustainable stocking rates that can be maintained on homegrown or locally grown feed, some of the land currently put to intensive meat and dairy production would need to be freed up for fodder crops. To improve soil fertility, more land would be put to nitrogen-fixing crops, and human sewage recycled as fertilizer (Harnapp, 1988 Offerman and Nieberg, 2000 Fairlie, 2007). This in turn would necessitate cultural changes to reduce the meat content of diets. Given the biophysical limitations on the capacity to expand and specialize, the average size of land holding would decrease and farm numbers would increase (Campbell and Coombes, 1999). Farm labour would also generally increase, depending on the type of production system. For example, a temperate mixed farm which included on-farm processing and direct marketing would have labour increases of approximately...

Types of farming system in the s

Cuban farms were divided into state and non-state ownership. After the agrarian reforms of the Revolution, approximately 30 per cent of agricultural land was owned by individual farmers, and after that time the state made various attempts to integrate these into the centralized and specialized food planning, production and distribution system, by purchasing or renting this land (Zimbalist and Eckstein, 1987 Ramirez Cruz, 1994). By the late 1980s, these efforts had led to four main types of farm organization state farms, Agricultural Production Cooperatives (CPA), Cooperatives for Credit and Services (CCS), and individual farmers. In 1989, private or non-state production contributed 35 per cent of national production and 48 per cent of export foodstuffs, despite the fact that it covered only 20 per cent of total agricultural area and received lower investments (Nova, 1994 Nova, 2002). Each of these four main types of farm organization is described below.

Learning about more appropriate farming systems Changes in agricultural education

Formal agricultural education remained a priority and to some extent was strengthened over the decade. Schools in the Countryside (Escuelas del Campo) had existed since the 1970s and encouraged an understanding of agriculture amongst the youth (Rosset and Benjamin, 1994). From 1995, basic agriculture was an option on the syllabus of most primary school courses in Cuba. Additionally, ANAP started a programme to teach children within CPA and CCS cooperatives whilst they worked in the fields for half their time. At the start of the Special Period, agricultural polytechnics were instigated in every municipality, each affiliated to a local Mixed Crops Enterprise. Organic agriculture was included as part of the syllabus, and this necessitated a retraining of teachers in this subject (Crespo and Alvarez, 1999). Every university contained a department of agriculture, and of the 600,000 college graduates in Cuba, 27 per cent held agricultural degrees (Lane, 1999). The Agricultural University...

The Cuban interpretation of organic agriculture

Although specific individuals - farmers and scientists - had been working with organic principles since the 1970s and 1980s, organic agriculture emerged in Cuba as part of a broader response to the food security crisis, symbolized by the formation of the Cuban Association of Organic Agriculture (ACAO) in 1993. The emergence and achievements of ACAO are described in Box 9.1. Because of the context within which the organic concept emerged, the concern of the movement was not on the avoidance of agrochemicals or on market returns, but rather on improvements to the production system based on ecological principles, to adjust the prevailing industrialized approach for increased yields. Key interests were the integration of the previously specialized and separate crop and livestock farms, increases in energy, fuel and land use efficiency, and reversal of the degradation of the natural resource base. For example, Monzote et al (2002, p207) described crop-livestock integration thus 'This...

The belated development of certified organic agriculture

In late 1999, MINAG made an internal announcement of its intention to produce organically for export, according to one ministry official, 'An order has come from the top to give the Ministry of Agriculture the green light to pursue organic production for export,' and by 2000 MINAG was attempting to institutionalize certified organic agriculture. That this had not occurred earlier in the decade is attributed to several factors. Organic exports could not be considered until national food deficits had been filled. Perhaps more realistically, for much of the Special Period, the agricultural sector had been simply too busy struggling to feed the population to turn to export activities. Another reason for not having developed organic exports was the insufficient organizational capacity and know-how to meet export quality standards, and the insufficient funds to build such capacity. In addition, higher-level personnel had been unconvinced of the benefits of organic agriculture. Organic...

Agricultural Lands in Annex I Countries A Source or a Sink of CO

Annex I countries, with the exceptions of the United Kingdom and Australia, reported that their land use change and forestry sectors were a net sink of carbon in 1990 and 1995.75 As with CH4 and N2O emissions, however, the inventory data must be used cautiously. Current estimates focus more on forests than agricultural lands and do not include changes in carbon stocks caused by most agricultural activities. Although the land use change and forestry sector detailed in the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories is inclusive in theory,76 countries may have difficulty estimating carbon changes associated with all land uses and land use changes. For instance, in the U.S. inventory of GHG emissions and sinks, only two categories of agricultural land use and land management activities are included agricultural use of organic soils and liming.77 Activities on mineral soils (the majority of arable land), which could either increase or decrease soil carbon, are not yet included...

The Food From Family Farms

The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) represents family farm and rural groups in the U.S. whose members face the challenge of the deepening economic recession in rural communities. The NFFC works closely with international farm organizations to ensure that agriculture policies on both domestic and international fronts maintain farmer livelihoods and rural communities. NFFC promotes an alternative to the current U.S. Farm Bill The Food From Family Farms Act. This Act would establish fair farm prices, create a food security reserve so that bountiful crops won't depress markets, conservation set-asides to avoid wasteful over-production, and provide loans to help farmers own their land and adopt sustainable farming practices. Most importantly, The Food From Family Farms Act includes goals of trade cooperation based on the principle of food sovereignty the right of every nation to devise farm and food policy ensuring food security in keeping with its traditions and need for sound...

Potential driving forces for the scalingup of organic agriculture

Cuba's successes in recovering its food security status and agricultural productivity suggested that, if the political will was there, the country also had the capacity to develop joined-up policy measures and an enabling environment to support a more sustainable agriculture. Such a move would involve not only the strengthening of existing organic strategies, but also modifying those others that conflicted with this goal. The motivation to scale up organic agriculture could come about for several reasons. In a period of just ten years, Cuba had made a transition from facing serious food deficits and shortages in calorific intake, to one in which more than one-third of the population of Havana was considered to be overweight and Western diseases prevalent. For although the state had solved some of the problems of inadequacy of food supply, its focus on quantity over quality issues appeared to be somewhat counter-productive. Cuba was showing that it was possible to ensure food supplies...


Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape, people and appropriate technologies, providing goods, shelter, energy and other needs in a sustainable way. Permaculture is a philosophy and an approach to land use which works with natural rhythms and patterns, weaving together the elements of microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, water and soil management, and human needs into intricately connected and productive communities. Bill Mollison and Scott Pittman, La Tierra Community California Earth Activist Training Earth Activist Training blends a full permaculture certification course with Earth-based spirituality, practical political effectiveness, and nature awareness. Website Permaculture Activist The website for the top print periodical on the...

Underlying challenges to implementing widespread organic systems

2 No policy commitment - neither the state nor the people had chosen to farm organically the situation had been forced upon them. Out of this emerged varying degrees of reluctance to change from the previous industrial approach, and this was strongly influenced by the nationwide drive to maximize production. Any production approach had to prove itself in terms of short-term yield performance. Additionally there was a degree of institutional reticence to change, given the jobs, structures and investments already built up around the industrialized model. As one ministry staff explained, 'Even in the absence of agribusiness, industrialized agriculture in Cuba supports a bureaucratic system which does not want to change.'2 In the absence of policy support, no markets were developed for organic produce and therefore no cost incentives existed for farmers. Additionally, activities to promote organic farming, whether by the grassroots organic movement or individual pioneers, could not...

Social recognition of the need for change

A recurrent theme was that practical change required a corresponding shift in mentality, and that 'attitudes take time to change'. This viewpoint, shared by many, tended to inhibit any attempt to encourage change, because of the anticipated negative response. At the same time, professionals in the agricultural sector had no difficulty in identifying the need for a mental shift by some other group or individual, but never for the professional him- or herself. Perhaps because of this, the provision of training in organic agriculture was targeted largely at farmers rather than support staff, yet in reality many farmers were further down the transition pathway. Given the directive approach of the institutional sector in Cuba, re-training and attitude change amongst agricultural professionals were critical for a more widespread change. Following this, supporters of organic agriculture in Cuba were at the end of the decade emphasizing the need for a shift in consciousness, in order to move...

Overall increase in diversity of farming types

By 1997 there were 1500 UBPCs occupying 21 per cent of agricultural land, 1150 CPAs occupying 9.4 per cent, and 2700 CCSs occupying 12 per cent. In addition, 71,000 individual workers were holding 103,334ha of land in perpetuity (3 per cent of agricultural land), mainly for coffee, cocoa and self-provisioning. These non-state farms became responsible for 90 per cent of sugarcane land and 42 per cent of non-sugar cropping land. Although they comprised the UBPCs, CPAs, CCSs and individual producers, only the CPAs, CCSs and individuals were classified as campesinos (Wroe, 1996 ONE, 1997 MINAG, 1998).

Research perspectives

The material for this book is based on doctoral research that set out to answer these questions. Conducted between 1998 and 2005, this research was based at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and in Cuba at the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, INCA (Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Agr colas). The research objective was to evaluate the implications for the food and agriculture sectors in Cuba of a widespread reduction in petroleum-based inputs. As discussed in Chapter 2, the issues being examined were complex and multidisciplinary, and were categorized into three perspectives for analysis first, a perspective with which to determine the kind of low-petroleum food system that Cuba had developed second, a perspective that addressed the issue of how Cuba managed the transition and change and third, a perspective through which to ascertain the degree to which Cuba had managed to achieve an adequate food system for its people.

Glossary and translations

Industrialized farming system based on concepts of industrialization - high agriculture external inputs, high outputs, homogeneous environment and people, tending to monocropping and large-scale systems La Bodega food ration store La Libreta food ration book Las Placitas capped-price municipal markets latifundio large landed estate organic farming system that uses regenerative husbandry practices agriculture based on the principles and science of ecology synonymous with agro-ecology, ecological, biological and biodynamic agriculture, and natural farming organoponico raised-bed, intensive urban agricultural unit tiro directo direct marketing en usufructo in perpetuity

The Cuban food system in crisis

Food Cuba Crisis

Figure 1.1 International reporting on the transformation towards organic agriculture in Cuba in the 1990s Figure 1.1 International reporting on the transformation towards organic agriculture in Cuba in the 1990s The abrupt changes of 1989 hit the Cuban agricultural sector particularly hard for four reasons. Firstly, Cuba had an extreme industrialized agricultural system, one that was using more tractors and applying more nitrogen fertilizer per hectare (192kg ha) than similar production systems in the USA (Hamilton, 2003). Mechanized irrigation systems covered over one-quarter of all crop land. Secondly, Cuba was importing not just a select few of the inputs and foodstuffs it required for survival but the large majority of them. In 1988, for example, 90 per cent of fertilizers and pesticides, and 57 per cent of food needs, were being imported (Rosset and Benjamin, 1993). Within the country, farms controlled by the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture, which worked 70 per cent of agricultural...

Urban versus rural agriculture

Cuba's transition towards greater food security has been built on a patchwork approach to agriculture in which organic techniques have played a significant, but not exclusive, role. Throughout the Special Period, Cuba adopted several characteristics of a localized, organic farming system. These included more location-specific strategies, a relative increase in participatory extension approaches and institutional decentralization, the promotion of organic inputs, and more localized production-consumption chains. Other characteristics were, however, barely visible, such as widespread ecological literacy, localized seed systems, collective relinquishment of industrialized practices, and the application of holistic and systems principles. A reduction in access to fuel and agrochemicals alone would not necessarily lead to widespread organic production systems. Yet the experience of urban agriculture stands as an example of what Cuban society was capable of achieving. Urban agriculture took...

Degradation of the natural resource base

Ecologically based, organic farming practices show themselves to be more successful at supporting a broad and adapted diversity of crop species and varieties, building soil fertility and plant resistance to disease and infection, and maintaining clean water courses (Greene and Kremen, 2003 SAN, 2003 Marriot and Wander, 2006). Strengthening the natural resource base also enables farms to better withstand external shocks and stresses, including drought and flood (Holt-Gimenez, 2002 Lotter et al, 2003 Ching, 2004). Agriculture accounts for 70 per cent of freshwater use globally, and the UN predicts that, by 2025, 38 per cent of the population will have insufficient water supply (compared with 8 per cent in 2008) (Lang, 2008). Organic practices increase water retention capacity and efficiency by improving soil structure and increasing soil life, by cultivating climatically adapted varieties, and by growing polycultures of deeprooting and ground-covering crops. Evidence also indicates that...

Petroleumbased food systems and food security

Over the next few decades, nations will be experiencing fluctuations and increasing scarcity of fossil fuel supplies, and this will affect food prices. Alternative farming and food systems are required. Industrialized countries in particular have been over-consuming fossil fuels by two-thirds, and their agricultural sectors have contributed this with their heavy dependence on cheap fossil energy for mechanization and as a basis for agrochemical inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers. The corresponding industrial food systems in which these farming systems are embedded are similarly dependent on cheap fossil fuels for the ever-increasing processing and movement of foodstuffs. The low fuel prices, combined with the industry's avoidance of paying clean-up costs of environmental pollution, have enabled the maintenance of low food prices (Vandermeer et al, 1993 Odum, 1994 Tansey and Worsley, 1995 Desai and Riddlestone, 2002 Harrison, 2004). Alternative, organic agriculture shows to...

An ineffective food system

Nonetheless, more ecologically based, organic production approaches are sidestepped by international development agencies and national ministries of agriculture owing to their reportedly low yield performance and, therefore, their apparent inability to meet global food needs or be appropriate in food insecure situations (IAC, 2003). In fact, early yield comparisons between certified organic and industrial agriculture has indicated a yield decline of approximately 20 per cent for organic production. However, these studies were based on the performance of certain market-oriented organic systems in temperate climatic regions. Whereas outputs of any one specific crop may be lower on an organic farm than an industrialized one, total farm yields are higher (Altieri et al, 1998). More recent studies show non-certified organic farming approaches to achieve significant yield increases over both traditional and industrial agriculture, and in particular in resource-poor regions on marginal lands...

Driving forces behind current levels of agricultural sustainability

Several foreign reporters have commented on Cuba's pro-organic policy. 'Organic agriculture has been adopted as the official government strategy for all new agriculture in Cuba, after its highly successful introduction just seven years ago' (The Pesticides Trust, 1998) 'Cuba is perhaps the best example of large-scale government support to organic agriculture It is an integral part of agricultural policy' (Scialabba, 2000). In reality there was, up to 2000, no legislation on organic agriculture, certified or otherwise. Perhaps the most firm, high-level endorsement was in a speech given by Castro at the 1996 World Food Summit, where he stated that 'Enhancing food security demands extending sustainable agricultural techniques so that the various economic units operate as agro-ecological farms.' Therefore, although certain elements of an organic system were present in the country, such as the CREEs, the grassroots organic movement (ACAO), organic training courses, urban organoponicos and...

Change in farmgate prices and markets

Were introduced whereby basic prices for produce were still determined at the time of planning, but any surplus production by the farmer now received a slightly higher price from the state (sugar was an exception to this). The farmer also now had the choice to sell this surplus through other channels. For export crops such as sugarcane and tobacco, part of the purchase price was paid in US dollars. Individual farmers received this in the form of cash, though in the case of cooperative members the cash was kept in a state account that members could access to purchase dollar goods such as tools, inputs and clothing.

Developing ecological knowledge systems The need to increase ecological literacy

The extent of, and capacity for, ecological innovation and experimentation was dependent on the presence of relevant knowledge. The lack of relevant knowledge and training was one of the main limitations to the increased use of organic approaches. Farmers had most commonly received training in bio-pesticides, with some also on bio-fertilizers. The thematic knowledge gaps amongst both farmers and the institutional support sector were those relating to water conservation and usage, to product quality, and to the principles underlying organic agriculture. Many farmers had not heard of the terms 'organic' (organico) or 'agro-ecology' (agro-ecologia). Farmers also identified specific training needs on the following dietary and health requirements of draught oxen, the demonstration of appropriate soil fertility techniques, seed exchange and seed quality control, and the correct use of biological pest control products. In particular, increasing the training opportunities on organic inputs...

Places and people in the field

Field research was undertaken in Cuba between 1999 and 2001, under the auspices of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (INCA) which pertains to the Ministry of Higher Education (MES). The main study regions were the Provinces of Havana (municipalities of San Antonio de los Ba os and Bataban ), Cienfuegos towards the centre of the island (municipality of

Recognition of campesino production

Of equal importance, extensionists and researchers had started to learn from farmers and their practices. This learning included that traditional practices were vitally important as the backbone for a resilient agriculture, that farmers had the capacity to innovate, that changes in husbandry practices might necessitate a change in mentality of the farmer, and that farmer autonomy was important to enable spontaneous adaptation. One social geographer, for example, observed through her own field research that 'Farmers are practising new strategies, neither stemming from the research institutes nor from traditional knowledge, but new innovations such as intercropping with plantain, or planting early varieties because of the demand from the farmers' markets.' Similarly, Guillot Silva et al (2000) documented the emergence and existence of 'spontaneous' organic agriculture, whereby farmers were building up complex, integrated and profitable agro-ecosystems without external support.

Supporting social sustainability and change Common social challenges

Certain social factors were also crucial for the scaling-up of organic agriculture, and two social disincentives in particular required addressing. Some farmers were unwilling to adopt technologies and practices that they felt were unproven or that were not being diffused by the state. For example, at the end of the decade, some farmers indicated that they would wait for the state to re-introduce biological pest controls rather than attempt to obtain them directly from the CREEs. This attitude was a remnant of the previous top-down extension system that had, to some degree, inculcated dependency and even mistrust. The other social disincentive was the incidence of theft from fields and stables, which limited farmers' crop choices, their seed drying and saving activities, and keeping oxen on-farm if a guard could not be afforded. These social issues of theft, mistrust and dependency would require some time to turn around.

Quantity incentive quality incentive

Production plan were not differentiated by quality, and nor was there any financial stimulus for this (except for the tourist market). Any quality differentiation was again based on product size and weight, and secondarily on pest residues. The ration system also limited the opportunity for the development of farmer-consumer relations over quality produce. Far from detracting from good and consistent yield performance, a focus on quality would also bring benefits in terms of residue-free and nutritionally high-value produce. Such a refocusing could also be used as a vehicle around which to raise awareness on human health and nutrition issues, as well as on farming techniques that improved the quality of the natural resource base.

Life after the crisis

The lack of resources soon instigated recycling and energy-efficient campaigns the use of bicycles and larger public buses (camelos), a national school campaign to collect recyclable materials in exchange for school supplies, active neighbourhood recycling centres, new factories to produce domestic items from recycled materials, and a nationwide environmental education campaign. There has been a tendency to interpret this phenomenon as a proactive choice by Cuban authorities to 'go green', and no more so than through the major postcrisis success story the rise of urban organic agriculture.

The ration system and social security

During this period, the state managed to maintain its purchase contracts with farmers so as to guarantee the availability of rationed products. At least 80 per cent of the main crops produced were contracted in this way (Rodriguez, 1998). Agricultural products would be collected by Acopio at the farm, or delivered by the farmer to the local Acopio centre, and then transported to centralized urban markets from where the goods would be transferred to neighbourhood distribution centres which were specialized for crops, meat or dairy (Enriquez, 1994).

Successful state backing

Good access to international knowledge and materials. It also enabled alternative agriculture networks such as the permaculture and organic movements to make significant input into urban agriculture as a serious development option. Sociological studies were also undertaken which may not have been possible in rural areas, such as the work of Murphy (1999) on agriculture and food security, and that of Carrasco et al (2003) on the Agricultural Knowledge and Information System. Finally, this international interchange encouraged foreign reporting to focus on the urban situation.

Lack of petrol renewable energies

The pervading lack of petrol held back the development of organic agriculture in its input-substitution state. Cuban farmers saw petrol as being pivotal to the success of their production systems, to fuel both transport and irrigation. Drought-resistant crop varieties, for example, were measured not so much by their yield performance but by the fuel savings that would be made through the decreased need to operate irrigation pumps. Unless organic alternatives could address farmers' concerns of irrigation and traction limitations, they were less likely to be taken up. Efforts to pilot renewable energies were driven largely by one small NGO feasibility studies indicated that Cuba could meet all its electricity needs from sugarcane bagasse. At the end of the decade, however, progress on alternative energy was negligible and continued to rely on international donor support (Montanaro, 2000), with little state funding prioritized for investing in renewables on a large scale.

The policy dilemma increased yields or longerterm sustainability

Policy development on environmental sustainability emanated from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA). For example, Environmental Law 1997, Section 9, Article 132 was devoted to sustainable agriculture and called for a more rationalized use of locally appropriate industrialized and organic inputs and IPM measures (P rez and V zquez, 2002, pp136-137). However, MINAG, which was in charge of production and management of resources, had a singular mandate to increase production and did not have the resources to police the upholding of the law. The 17 national agricultural research centres had reoriented their programmes toward sustainability, which entailed the promotion of three strategies biotechnology to obtain high yields integrated agriculture and the combined use of biological inputs and agrochemicals (Diaz, 2000). The term 'low input' was ill-defined one researcher attempted to explain it thus 'Low input can be without any or with low amounts of inputs. Low...

Future directions the need for knowledge and intent

Future directions for agriculture in Cuba were still not completely clear, not least because of the continued dichotomy of the productionist mandate versus sustainability objectives. A large minority of farmers had the intention to become more organic and many others were ambivalent about it, being open to this direction if moves were facilitated for them. The conditions of the Special Period had exposed many in the agricultural sector to alternative directions who would not otherwise have looked for them. Policy was becoming geared towards a more integrated farming approach, although terminology was ambiguous depending on whence it was emanating. If organic agriculture is defined not only by the extent of appropriate husbandry practices but also by the intent and the knowledge base (of the farmer), then both knowledge and intent require addressing in Cuba. Nevertheless, investment in human capacity-building takes substantial time to fully manifest and the full potential of the...

The Ministry of Agriculture MINAG and its entities

The Ministry of Agriculture contained 24 departments and 19 national-level research and support institutions that comprised the National Institute of Plant Protection (Sanidad Vegetal), the Soils Institute (Instituto de Suelos), and 17 largely commodity-focused agricultural research centres. For production support and marketing, MINAG operated a nationwide network of institutional entities Agricultural Enterprises, the Cooperative Campesino Sector (Sector Cooperativa Campesino, SCC) and Acopio (described later), as well as running 222 state farms (MINAG, 1999). The Credit and Commerce Bank (BANDEC) provided credit to the state farms and cooperatives.

Industrialized planning ecological planning

Several aspects of agricultural and food planning and organization worked against organic agriculture. The state production plan was based on tonnage and advocated crops that were not always appropriate to the locality. These plans could include the provision of a technology package of agrochemical inputs. The national farm intensification programme worked against the use of green legumes in rotations, intercropping and fallows. In the seed sector, the centralized seed distribution system worked against farmers developing their own skills and expertise for locally appropriate varieties. To reverse these impacts would require a planning system grounded in an ecological perspective.

Facilitating change to localized systems

Understanding Cuba's adapted food and farming system and the way it developed holds relevance from several angles. Even in the face of a crisis, could Cuba have made a transition to a localized and organic food system, one that fed the population If so, what were the factors that supported this, and if it had not made this transition, then why not As well as providing a learning example for the peak-oil challenge, these insights have broad applicability for other resource-poor countries attempting to increase their food security status.

Preface and Acknowledgements

Concerns in the early 21st Century around dwindling oil reserves and their impact on the food system are nothing new and come as no surprise. Way back in the 1970s, for example, school geography classes taught of non-renewable energies, their lifespan and our dependency on them. It was not a fear of oil depletion that inspired the research upon which this book is based, nor any other fear over the state of our food system be it food shortages, human ill-health or environmental degradation. This research was instigated by a deep curiosity to understand why what seemed a more common-sense and logical approach to food and farming was not being practised. For it seemed logical to want to enrich and regenerate the natural resource base for the creation of vibrant, healthy food systems. It seemed logical to want to work in harmony with ecological processes and to avoid destructive activities that continually proved not to work. Yet this logic was not shared by the mainstream, and thus there...

Trends in domestic agriculture and food supplies

By the end of 2006, state farms numbered 6000 and covered 35 per cent of the cultivable land area, a figure similar to the previous decade. Non-state farms numbered almost 5000, and of these, 57 per cent were UBPC farms, which covered 37 per cent of the land area. CPA farms numbered 690, covering 9 per cent of land, and CCS and individual farmers totalled 1400 and covered the remaining 18 per cent of land area. These figures indicate that, since the late 1990s, UBPC farms had increased in numbers and land coverage whilst CPA and CCS cooperatives had decreased. That UBPCs were emerging as the dominant form of production gives credit to the ex-state farm workers who had not only survived the transition to privatization but were apparently consolidating their position, albeit with strong state support. State farms contained a high proportion of pastures, degraded land and forest, while CCS farms had more land given over to mixed crops, coffee and tobacco.

Creation of free farmers markets and private food businesses

Farmers were thus provided with a range of obligatory and non-obligatory outlets for their produce. They were obliged to satisfy their own needs, those of the state plan, their social responsibilities to hospitals or nurseries, and then the needs of export markets, tourism, industry and seed supply. All these commitments vied with supplying the farmers' market, and market officials checked that farmers had first met their production quotas for Acopio before permitting sales. One farm extensionist explained this 'In the future we could get a place on the farmers' market, but not this year. We have and want to meet the national demand first - through Acopio and then Frutas Selectas.' These commitments aside, anyone who worked the land could sell there, either directly or through a sales representative. This raised another problem the elimination of middle men. The state wanted to avoid or reduce speculation on basic food products, and for this reason was experimenting with concentrating...

Lames E Home PhD Maura McDermott

Essential Steps to a Healthy, Sustainable Agriculture TV odern industrial agriculture, 1 VA authors Horne and McDermott tell us, is deservedly on trial. Although it has given us an abundance of food, in the process it continues to cause serious environmental, health, and safety problems that endanger our natural resources, future food supplies, and the well-being of farmers, rural communities, and eventually all citizens. The remedy, their book describes with conviction and clarity, is what people now call a 'sustainable agriculture.' Written in an honest, down-to-earth style, this highly readable book gives us an insightful account of the struggle now underway to make sustainable agriculture a truly viable alternative to conventional farming. The authors' conviction is understandable and contagious. A That kind of agriculture do we need, and how can farmers provide it These are the two questions addressed in Horne and McDermott's book, The Next Green Revolution. The book begins with...

Institutional support for urban agriculture

In Havana Province, the Department of Urban Agriculture employed 292 workers, including 12-14 specialists within each of 13 municipalities. Each region had a Municipal Urban Farm Enterprise, which coordinated production, research and extension activities and networks (Ojeda, 1999). Details of the achievements of urban agriculture were regularly published in the national newspaper, Granma, and this publicity was used to encourage improvement. In each of the municipal people's councils was placed a qualified extensionist who liaised with farmers to develop demand-driven research programmes. Havana City had 67 such extensionists in 1998. INIFAT played a key role in coordinating urban agricultural research, which included, for example, the development of strategies for testing, evaluating and producing commercial quantities of bio-inputs (Wilson and Harris, 1996). The people's councils also All inputs, such as seeds and seedlings, biological pesticides, accessories and tools, could be...

The emerging components of a new type of agricultural system

In the early 1990s, desperation had allowed for a 'try anything' approach which embraced support for the recycling and re-use of agro-industrial wastes, as well as the testing out of alternative agricultural concepts such as permaculture. By the late 1990s, a more sophisticated approach prevailed that was focused around a broadly interpreted concept of integration. Within this, some components of the agricultural support system still adhered to the industrialized perspective, whilst other components embraced an alternative, localized, ecological perspective, and these co-existed in contradictory fashion. Some remnants of the industrialized system remained but were requiring change, such as the top-down extension model and the centralized seed system. Other components of the industrialized system were kept for their continued applicability, such as the supply of agrochemicals. Similarly, some more ecological components had been adopted prior to the Special Period, such as research on...

Attempts at changing the topdown research and extension approach

With the changing nature of farming structures, of resource use, and of differing food needs, so agricultural research and extension also had to change, in Traditional research had focused on the predetermined needs of the planned economy. According to staff in MINAG's Science and Technology Department, 'Researchers used to select those farmers who produced the highest yields and who had leadership characteristics but who were not representatives of the majority of farmers.' Research was deemed to have been successful if there was 'proof from the beneficiaries that the technology had worked, such as a pile of letters.' Towards the end of 1995, MINAG, CITMA and MES started a process of inter-institutional consolidation to revise the aims, objectives and strategies of the 19 research institutes. This led to the establishment of a model network the National System of Agricultural Science and Technological Innovation (SINCITA). SINCITA's mission was 'To contribute to national food...

The historical development of urban agriculture Emergence from the grassroots

Urban agriculture emerged spontaneously out of the hardships of the early 1990s. For urban dwellers who had migrated from the countryside, cultivating urban waste land and keeping small livestock was a natural survival strategy. Possibly the first coordinated effort was the Santa Fe project in the north-west of Havana City, initiated in 1991 by individuals who went on to become co-founders of the Cuban organic movement. Taking advantage of the available resources within the community, they reclaimed empty urban space for food production to help overcome irregular and inadequate food supplies, using the principles of organic agriculture by default. Production tripled over the first three years to supply approximately 30 per cent of local food needs (Windisch, 1994).

The need to support innovation and experimentation

As well as generating knowledge to fill some of the identified gaps, more localized farming systems required an ongoing process of locally appropriate knowledge generation. Pre-identified gaps in knowledge identified by institutional professionals included non-chemical weed management, the use of polycultures, water conservation, alternative energy on-farm, specific pests and diseases, appropriate diversification strategies, allelopathy, minimum tillage and optimum planting dates. In addition, farmers also requested new innovations such as more strategic development projects to encourage a move beyond the use of inputs of any kind, the encouragement of both diversification and regional specialization, and the development of alternative energy sources on-farm. Given the difficulties in accessing knowledge from abroad, generating knowledge in-country was particularly important, and recovering and incorporating traditional knowledge into the research process was seen as being critical....

Cuba the global example of a postpetroleum food system

Or is there Throughout the 1990s, reports were coming through on the resounding success of Cuba in heading-off a major national food crisis, a crisis that had been brought on by drastic shortfalls in imported fuel, food and agro-chemical input supplies (these reports include, for example, Levins, 1990 Altieri, 1993 Carney, 1993 Rosset and Benjamin, 1994 Wilson and Harris, 1996 Rosset and Moore, 1997 Ritchie, 1998 Bourque, 1999 Moskow, 1999 Murphy, 1999). Figure 1.1 lists some of the headlines of these reports which emerged mainly through study tours2 and visits to Cuba by foreign interest groups. Was Cuba demonstrating a post-petroleum food system, feeding its people through state-supported, localized, organic farming

A snapshot of the Cuban experience in the s

This book provides a snapshot of the Cuban food and farming system as it struggled to cope with continued low-levels of petroleum inputs and food imports during the mid-to-latter stages of the 1990s. It is based on research carried out in Cuba during 1999 to 2001. After that period, petroleum and food imports have been steadily increasing into the country. The experiences of the 1990s thus stand unique, for the time being at least. The book first addresses the concept of peak oil and the dependency of the industrialized food and farming system, typified by Cuba. As well as developing and implementing alternative energy supplies, the peak oil challenge provides the opportunity for more creative improvements of the farming and food system in order to achieve equitable access and optimal health for all and over the long term. An analysis of recent Cuban agricultural history explains why the country found itself in such a predicament of dependency at the end of the 1980s. The experiences...

Institutional Coping Strategies Transition and Decentralization

In Cuba more than most other countries, the farming system is both planned and managed by the state. This means that changes in farming practices and processes were both partially determined by, and would affect, state institutions, which would themselves be impacted by the conditions of the Special Period. As Sinclair and Thompson (2001) explain

Increasing the availability of and access to appropriate resources and technology

The second major factor to enable the scaling-up of organic agriculture was the need for improved access to organic inputs such as biological pest controls and manure. This was considered crucial by both farmers and institutional professionals and especially in order to turn around the process of soil degradation. By the end of the decade, agrochemicals were becoming increasingly available and were considered by many to be easier to apply and faster acting, albeit more expensive. It was not only input access but also availability, price and delivery that were of concern to farmers. Specific inputs, resources and technologies Box 9.2 Perceptions and practices of organic agriculture by a pioneer farmer veteran CPA farmer Ricardo Manuel had first encountered organic agriculture back in 1992 at a seminar heralding the inception of the Cuban organic movement. This approach was not new to Ricardo it was similar to traditional agriculture that farmers had practised for centuries, whereas he...

The reported response to the crisis

In response to the crisis, the Cuban government launched a national effort to convert the nation's agricultural sector from high input agriculture to low input, self-reliant farming practices on an unprecedented scale. Because of the drastically reduced availability of chemical inputs, the state hurried to replace them with locally produced, and in most cases biological, substitutes. This has meant bio-pesticides (microbial products) and natural enemies to combat insect pests, resistant plant varieties, crop rotations and microbial antagonists to combat plant pathogens, and better rotations and cover cropping to suppress weeds. Synthetic fertilizers have been replaced by bio-fertilizers, earthworms, compost, other organic fertilizers, natural rock phosphate, animal and green manures, and the integration of grazing animals. In place of tractors, for which fuel, tyres and spare parts were largely unavailable, there has been a sweeping return to animal traction.

Influence of organic production on food availability

Several individual elements of an organic approach were being employed in the food system of localizing production-consumption linkages and enabling the availability of more diverse and fresh produce. With over 80 per cent of agricultural land under permanent crops and pastures, so the remainder was forced under organic-style rotations and biological input use in order to increase the number of short-cycle food crops. However, the steady increase in food production could be attributed to these but also to a whole raft of other factors, and the organic-style of production employed for some crops, such as people's rice, was not easy to assess in terms of productivity gains owing to the informal and complex marketing and self-provision systems that operated around these.

Petroleumdependent agriculture and food systems

These industrialized farming systems use approximately 10 calories of fossil energy to produce 1 calorie of food energy (Hamer and Anslow, 2008). In the USA, for example, 29 per cent of farm energy use goes on fertilizer production, In analyses of alternative farming systems, modern organic agriculture4 generally consumes less energy than industrialized, although more than traditional subsistence farming. Although organic farming may use more machine hours, this is offset by the absence of other fuel and petrochemical uses. Studies report that organic agriculture performs better on a per hectare scale with respect to both direct energy consumption - fuel and oil - and indirect consumption - synthetic fertilizers and pesticides (Scialabba and Hattam, 2002 Ziesemer, 2008). Any increase in labour requirements of organic farming is an employment opportunity. A comparative analysis of energy inputs on long-term trials at the Rodale Institute, USA, found that organic farming systems use 63...

The significance of continued petrol and agrochemical use

Overall, and based on the continued use of petrochemicals and the intention to use them more widely when possible, there were no instances of a rural farm proactively practising organic agriculture across the whole entity. The prioritization system systematically valued agrochemical farming and undervalued organic farming. Yet in the absence of sufficient on-farm vision, knowledge, capacity and motivation to properly implement viable organic systems, this system proved a successful strategy for maintaining production levels during critical years, not only in terms of its physical contribution to yield performance, but also in terms of maintaining a degree of moral cohesion in the agricultural sector. The successes of higher-potential farms served as models for other farmers, and morale and hope were sustained. That some petrol was still available, however slight, indicated to farmers that the situation had not completely fallen apart and was going to get better. At the same time,...

Policy and institutional mechanisms to support local and organic food systems

For centuries, rural farming communities operated their own, localized support systems, involving the exchange of knowledge, goods and services. With the onset of industrialization, these aspects became externalized, so that farmers were perceived as clients for the receipt or transfer of technology that was developed in the research field or laboratory. Industrial science is concerned with knowledge emanating from controlled and repeatable experiments, and by causal relationships between action and reaction. The outcomes are sets of products to sell to the farmer as inputs, with the same product being applied over a large area. Compared with this, organic science is concerned with processes, such as nutrient and energy cycles, decomposition and succession. It takes a holistic approach, seeing the component parts as forming a greater whole (Wolfert, 2002). The outcomes of this science are techniques to manage and work with nature more effectively, and as such need to be more...

Implications of the Cuban experience for global agriculture and food security

Global consensus exists over the need for widespread change in order to deal with peak oil as well as with climate change. It also exists over the need for widespread change in the food system in order to achieve food security, and in the farming system to become more sustainable. Yet although these issues have been on the public radar for at least 40 years, the desired goals and pathways to reach them are unclear, and relatively little has actually been achieved. Cuba is quite unique in its mode of centralized governance, and some might argue that because of this it is difficult to extrapolate from these experiences. Yet in almost every other part of the world, decisions over resources connected to agriculture and the food supply chain are highly centralized amongst a few corporations. The extent of real, conscious choice available to both consumers and producers may be very similar. These apparently different ideologies could in fact be stemming from the same paradigm, and Finn...

Improving rural agricultural conditions

The improvement of rural conditions had a major impact on increasing domestic food availability. Two major land tenureship changes encouraged this the distribution of land in perpetuity, which led to a broader section of the population becoming involved in self-provisioning, and the transformation of state farms into cooperatives called Basic Units for Cooperative Production (UBPCs). By 1999, almost 3000 UBPCs had been formed, and just over two-thirds of agricultural land was held by the private sector.

Opportunities for scalingup organic production Factors affecting scalingup

Funes (2002) identified a number of factors that favoured the development of organic agriculture in Cuba. These included the high number of qualified personnel, widespread experience in community approaches, supportive administrative and social structures, government-sponsored publicity campaigns in the interests of the people, favourable research findings, and the presence of organizations dedicated to the creation of an organic culture. Those working in the agricultural sector - researchers, extensionists, management and policy-makers, and especially farmers - were clear about the type of support necessary to increase organic agriculture in the country, and even bring it into the mainstream. Farm assets such as land and labour were not considered to offer any serious constraints to organic production, although there were regional differences in this respect. In fact, any increase in labour demand that resulted from a change to organic production was seen as a benefit farmers could...

Pesticides and Food Safety

These adverse effects of pesticides on humans and wildlife have resulted in research into ways of reducing pesticide use. The most important of these is the concept of integrated pest management (IPM), first introduced in 1959. This combines minimal use of the least harmful pesticides, integrated with biological and cultural methods of minimizing pest losses. It is linked with using pesticides only when threshold levels of pest attacks have been identified. There is also a move toward sustainable agriculture which aims to minimize use of pesticides and fertilizers based on a systems approach. SEE also Agriculture Bioaccumulation Carson, Rachel DDT (Dichloro-diphenyl trichloroethane) Endocrine Disruption Integrated Pest Management Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic Chemicals (PBTs) Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) WAter Pollution.

Sewage Animal Waste and Fertilizers

A classic example of eutrophication and its treatment occurred in the estuary of the River Thames, near London, England. In the 1950s the water was severely hypoxic for thirty-five kilometers (twenty-two miles) below London Bridge. After several sewage treatment plants were built, the water returned to a well-oxygenated state and migratory fish such as salmon once again ascend the river. In the case of the Mississippi River, treatment of the eutrophication is more difficult because runoff from agricultural land is the major cause of the problem, and more than half of the agricultural land in the United States drains into the Mississippi basin. Cleaning up the pollution would involve changes in farming methods on a national scale.

Farmers Markets and CSAs

Localized agriculture for all practical purposes requires the revitalization of farmers markets. Farmers markets allow farmers to reconnect to local communities, and allow residents to reconnect to the source of their food. They also cut the middleman out of the food system, which is where the profits of commercial agriculture have been increasingly concentrated over the past century.

Political Economy and Political Ecology

The entry of peripheral and semi-peripheral countries into world markets leads to poverty and population growth, and to unsustainable land-use change (Rudel 1989). The decline of traditional subsistence agriculture and its entry into world economic markets from a disadvantaged position lead to poverty among the populations of developing countries. This poverty leads to population growth as children represent a net (economic) benefit to families in the absence of mandatory education and child labor laws. The entry into world economic markets simultaneously causes conversion of land from forest and traditional agriculture to commercial agriculture by increasing the value of land for agriculture and introducing capital-intensive methods of cultivation. The transition from traditional to commercial agriculture in early developing regions of a country leads also to the dislocation of farmers from traditional employment and modes of living (Sassen 1988 Massey et al. 1993). This population...

Who Is David Pimentel

Pimentel is not just an opponent of ethanoi production. He is also an opponent of beef production. He is an opponent of the use of pesticides and of modern agriculture in general, which he has attacked with an endless stream of defective papers since 1974.12 He denounces industry as well, in one paper making the wild claim that we have calculated that an estimated 40 percent of world deaths can be attributed to various environmental factors, especially organic and chemical pollutants. 13 He is also highly critical of housecats and pet dogs, which he deplores as alien species introduced into North America. He's against human immigrants, too both legal and illegal. And then there are babies. Pimentel believes there should be fewer of them. Much fewer.

Further Guidance Sources and Example

An integrated ecosystem assessment synthesizes existing information. A logical starting point is the existing literature, including peer-reviewed, scientific and semi-scientific works. Databases held by government departments or research institutes such as the World Agroforestry Centre and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research are a repository for much unpublished information. However, given the many information gaps regarding ecosystem services and linkages to human well-being, it is often necessary to collect new field data, make use of models and tap local knowledge. Gender analysis frameworks, which provide step-by-step tools to analyse activity, access

Crediting for Agricultural Carbon Sequestration in the United States

Several efforts have been under way in the United States to improve estimates of soil carbon content and carbon sequestration resulting from various agricultural activities. (Although the United States did not participate in the Bonn Agreement, these activities pre-dated the Bonn negotiations, and interest in carbon sequestration continues.) The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Natural Resource Conservation Service and Agricultural Research Service are developing field carbon equations that will incorporate many cropping practices,84 and researchers for the Iowa Carbon Storage Project are collecting data from around the state and using them to calibrate a well-established soil carbon model

Mechanistic Description Of C Lock

Secure links to a regionally validated numerical model that has been designed to quantify carbon sequestration for the ecosystems of the region. The model has been validated by comparing its results with data for land where detailed agronomic measurements have been made for many years (for example, at the national network of USDA and Land-grant University Experimental Agricultural Research Stations).

Initial Estimations for Climate Scenarios from Low Resolution Climate Models

Otter, Description and performance of CERES-Wheat A user-oriented wheat yield model, in W. O. Willis (ed.), ARS Wheat Yield Project, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC, ARS-38, 1985. Three climate change scenarios. These are projections of the world food trade system including the effects on agricultural yields under different climate scenarios (the '2 x CO2 scenarios' for the GISS, GFDL, and UKMO GCMs). The food trade simulations for these three scenarios were started in 1990 and assumed a linear change in yields until the double CO2 concentration was reached in 2060. Simulations were made both with and without the physiological effects of 555 ppmv CO2 on crop growth and yield for the equilibrium yield estimates. In these scenarios, internal adjustments in the model occur, such as increased agricultural investment, reallocation of agricultural resources according to economic returns and reclamation of additional arable...

The Shrinking Backlog of Technology

Although the investment level in agricultural research, public and private, has not changed materially in recent years, the backlog of unused agricultural technology to raise land productivity is shrinking. In every farming community where yields have been rising rapidly, there comes a time when the rise slows and eventually levels off. For wheat growers in the United States and rice growers in Japan, for example, most of the available yield-raising technologies are already in use. Farmers in these countries are looking over the shoulders of agricultural researchers in their quest for new technologies to raise yields further. Unfortunately, they are not finding much.

Converting Cropland to Other Uses

In addition to losing cropland to severe soil erosion and desert expansion, the world is also losing cropland to various nonfarm uses, including residential construction, industrial construction, the paving of roads and parking lots, and airports, as well as to recreational uses, such as tennis courts and golf courses. If for every million people added to the world's population, 40,000 hectares of land are needed for nonfarm uses, adding more than 70 million people each year claims nearly 3 million hectares, part of which is agricultural land. The cropland share of land converted to nonfarm uses varies widely both within and among countries, but since cities are typically located on the most fertile land, it is often high sometimes 100 percent.25

Adaptations to Environmental Sustainability The Story of the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust

The municipality of Delta (British Columbia, Canada) is situated on the outskirts of Vancouver (one of the largest cities in Canada). Delta is part of the Fraser River delta which is essential to the functional integrity of the Pacific Flyway (an internationally significant stopover point for migrating birds). One million migrating and wintering waterfowl and 5 million shore-birds from Asia, Alaska, and Western Canada use the Fraser River delta for feeding and roosting. Delta also has some of the most fertile soil and one of the longest growing seasons in all of Canada. The Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust (DFWT) was founded in 1993 by local farmers and conservationists as a response to ongoing conflict over agricultural and wildlife resources. Government policies appear to have assisted in the formation and initial development of the DFWT, but there seems to be a lack of government policies that support long-term sustainability of such organizations. Ongoing, consistent, and...

Defusing the Population Bomb

In 1968, we were deeply concerned about both the rate of population growth, at that time around 2 percent per year, and the outlook for further growth a possible doubling and redoubling of the population within seventy years. The likely environmental impact of such a huge and rapid population expansion was alarming, with its obvious implications for Earth's ability to sustain so many billions. While some concern had emerged publicly by then about resource limitations (mainly of minerals, fossil fuels, and agricultural land),33 connections between the size and growth of the population and environmental problems had not yet been recognized by many, nor, in any serious way,

Methodology Of Lifecycle Assessment

The starting point of each LCA is to define the goal and scope of the analysis. This includes a decision about the functional unit to which the analysis should refer, the definition of the product system and system boundaries, as well as a choice of allocation procedures, types of impact categories to be studied, and the methodology of impact assessment. The functional unit can either be a certain service or a product, with the latter being the choice of the studies reviewed in this chapter (e.g., 1 kg of polylactic acid PLA , 1 m3 of loose-fill packaging material, or 1 Ha of agricultural land required for the production of biomass). Critical issues for a comparative environmental analysis of biobased versus fossil-based products are typically (a) the cultivation of biomass in agriculture and forestry (intensive vs. extensive practices), (b) the choice of the conventional product serving as a reference, and (c) the waste-

DFWT Stewardship Programs

Medium to fine textured soil and a high water table are common characteristics of the agricultural land in Delta. Laser levelling evens out the topography of the land. This allows farmers to reduce ponding on their fields, improving the establishment and longevity of winter crops and grass fields that are subject to grazing by waterfowl. Laser levelled fields tend to dry out more quickly in the spring. Earlier access gives farmers more options on what to plant in their fields and it also improves the likelihood that a cover crop can be planted on the field once the cash crop is harvested. Delta farmers are eligible to receive 50 of the cost of laser levelling their fields up to a maximum of 309 ha from the DFWT.23

Human development activities and impacts

The large and growing pressures of development are responsible for most of the current stresses on Gulf Coast natural resources, which include water quality and sediment pollution, increased flooding, loss of barrier islands and wetlands, declining fisheries and other factors that are altering biodiversity, productivity and the resilience of coastal habitats (EPA, 1999). Human alterations to freshwater inflows through upstream dams and impoundments, dredging of natural rivers and man-made waterways, and flood control levees have also affected the quantity of water and sediment delivered to the Gulf coastal zone. The pressure on freshwater resources was particularly evident in the summer drought of2000, when cities and agricultural water users suffered from salt-water intrusion and reduced availability of water resources (Twilley et al, 2001). In contrast to salt-water intrusion, which is a problem in the central and eastern Gulf region, human activity has led to a lowering of salinity...

Are local environmental protests ultimately weak

Chris Rootes (1999) also argues that local actions are shaped and their outcomes usually determined by non-local and often transnational forces. Looking at cases of local environmental campaigns in Kent, he shows that it was the action by more powerful actors than environmental campaigners that proved decisive. In one case it was the cash flow forecasts of the developer which led it to reconsider a leisure park development, in another it was only when agricultural land owned by a major insurance company was affected by pollution and the company threatened legal action that the electricity generator decided to close a power station. In the third case it was the intervention of the EU and links to the BSE crisis that pushed an animal rendering plant to national status.

Eating Low on the Food Chain

Walking through an ordinary American supermarket can be a tour of the world, and a universe of food options. Many of them are very carbonintensive. The raising of beef, for example, requires at least 10 times the energy inputs of the vegetable crops we could use as protein instead. What, however, if our veggies come from Chile, Nicaragua, and New Zealand out of season When figuring the carbon footprint of food, the distance it must come to get to your plate is an important factor. Food sold in U.S. grocery stores travels an average of 1,500 miles to reach consumers, according to David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural science at Cornell University. The food industry burns almost one-fifth of all the petroleum

Related Regulations at the Level of Local Legislation

Currently, there are approximately twenty provinces (municipalities and autonomous regions) all over China which have established local regulations concerning the protection of agricultural ecological environments. These regulations do not specifically refer to the integrated utilization of renewable energy. Their objectives are to protect and to improve agricultural environments, to prevent pollution and damage to agricultural environments, to promote sustainable development of agricultural production and to guarantee quality of products 52 and to protect and to improve agricultural ecological environments, to prevent pollution to agricultural ecological environments, to comprehensively develop and rationally utilize agricultural resources and to promote sustainable development of agriculture. 53 It is only the regulations formulated in Fujian, Jiangsu, Shandong, Jilin, Hubei, Hunan, Hebei, Anhui, and Tianjin (nine provinces and municipalities) which contain related articles on the...

Other Sequestration Methods

Based on a report in Environmental News Network, a company called Carbon Sciences has developed a relatively simple technology that puts the mixture under pressure and temperature to create precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC). PCC is a common component of many products used everyday such as paper, plastic, wallboard, food additives, pharmaceuticals, vinyl siding, fencing, agricultural products, and fertilizer.

Hydrogen from Biomass

With regard to greenhouse gas emissions, biomass combustion releases CO2 that was previously captured from the atmosphere, so that in this recycling the net CO2 emission is near zero. However, the cultivation of crops requires fertilizers (that need hydrogen in the form of ammonia) and water, as well as energy for the production, harvesting and transportation. All of these factors, together with their environmental impacts on soil, water supply and biodiversity, must be taken into account and the possible consequences of a large-scale intensive energy-related crop farming carefully assessed. Dedicated high-yield energy crops such as switchgrass, which can be grown with minimal energy input, would be preferable, although biomass for energy would still have to compete for huge areas of land with other agricultural products. Algae grown in the vast expanses of the sea could, however, change this picture in the future. In any case, biomass could only be expected to supply a part of the...

Mechanisms Responsible for the Terrestrial Carbon Sink

Human activities also directly influence terrestrial carbon storage by the production and redistribution of agricultural products, paper, and other wood products. The carbon stored in these products is returned to the atmosphere at a variety of rates that are related to the consumption of food, the burning and decomposition of trash, and the deterioration of wooden structures in buildings, bridges, etc. As a result of trade, many of these products may decompose or deteriorate in places far removed from the site where the biomass was created. Thus, regional terrestrial carbon sinks may be overestimated if this product flux of carbon back to the atmosphere is not considered properly.

Change in Supply Chain Structures

The most rapid opportunities to reduce the amount of energy used in goods transportation would be related to reducing transportation of low-value goods, for which the transportation cost represents a substantial share of the retail price. This is true for agricultural products that are produced in hot climates and transported for consumption in temperate areas. Transportation costs sometimes amount to as much as 15-20 percent of the retail price of fruit and vegetables, which will increase to an even higher percentage, if fuel prices continue to increase. Still the price increase alone is unlikely to cause large-scale changes in consumption patterns. Again, information and marketing of desired changes may be more viable alternatives. The transportation of high-value goods represents a substantially smaller share of what the customer pays for the item and then the probability that a price increase will have a significant impact on sales will be smaller. In the case of a mobile phone,...

Guide For Decision Makers

As individuals we are forced to use existing transportation systems, city plans, buildings, agricultural products and common practices in society. Even if some of us may succeed in dramatically reducing our dependence on these systems, for instance by swapping jobs and moving out into the countryside or by buying only ecological products or reducing consumption, the capacity of alternative systems is limited and someone else will buy the house and take the job that the energy-conscious left behind. If many of us manage to cut down on consumption we may find that unemployment increases and other undesirable effects on society and the economy may arise. This is not just negative and pessimistic bullshit from a conservative who tries to find every possible argument

Farmers Markets and Community Supported Agriculture

Thriving in many parts of the world, farmers' markets are now also being rediscovered and supported throughout industrial countries. These markets are ways of directly connecting consumers with local producers, often organic farmers, who can keep prices lower by avoiding distribution costs.

Paying More for Green

But how many consumers are likely to make this choice Environmentalists are more likely to pay this green premium. People who like the idea that organic farmers are successfully competing against agribusiness might also purchase these products, as would people who value the health benefits of organic produce. But many consumers, even among the relatively wealthy, will prefer to buy brown and find another use for the extra 50 cents.

Global Links Plant Breeding and Nation States

Farmers and other businesspeople who mastered the technical and financial aspects of the capital-intensive innovations were able to use their skill to control the land. Other farmers who were not so technically proficient often sold or lost their land. As a result, modern farms became large, quasi-industrial firms characterized by large yields per hectare and per person-hour of labor. Small farms, providing modest but dignified employment to family labor, increasingly became a relic of the past. This process has been characterized by economists as the operation of an agricultural treadmill.19 Farmers who did not keep up with the changes in technology eventually saw their farms go out of business.

The development of many smallscale highly selfsufficient local economies

We should convert one house on each block into a neighborhood workshop. It would include a recycling store, meeting place, leisure resources, craft rooms, barter exchange, and library. Because we will not need the car very much when we reduce and decentralize production, we could dig up many roads, thereby making perhaps one-third of a city's area available as communal property. We can plant community orchards and forests and put in community ponds for ducks and fish. Most of your neighborhood could become a permaculture jungle, an edible landscape crammed with long-lived, largely self-maintaining productive plants such as fruit and nut trees.

Outline of the Argument

Wheat breeding was fully formed and recognized as an important activity by 1940 in the United States, Britain, and India. Events after 1940, however, sharply accelerated the pace of work and amplified the science's strategic importance. Chapter 5 begins this part of the story by explaining how and why the Rockefeller Foundation launched a major agricultural science project in Mexico, which launched wheat breeding into international prominence. This chapter also recounts how the Mexi

The Value of Rural Agricultural and Undeveloped Lands

To be sure, one of the reasons compact urban form is considered necessary in many European countries is the value attached to rural and undeveloped lands. In contrast to attitudes (and resulting regulatory systems) about land use in the United States, which historically view farmland and undeveloped land as a temporary use, in Europe rural and agricultural lands are not seen as transient or residual activities but as important primary societal uses. To be sure, generous European Union agricultural subsidies have helped as well. Rural land, especially agricultural land (such as in Switzerland) is preciously guarded. Generally, only agricultural uses are allowed in these areas. One Swiss planning academician described the importance of Swiss history in understanding protections given to farmland he explained that it was actually closely tied to national security a feeling that Switzerland must be prepared to be self-sufficient to the furthest extent possible. Protecting farmland is...

The Neolithic period c ka to c ka BP

During the Neolithic period, human society achieved some remarkable progress in its struggle for survival. In the first place, certain societies in the Middle East adopted agriculture and domesticated animals as the dominant strategy in their struggle for survival. This agriculture, as will be discussed below, was based on irrigation. By using irrigation human society became less dependent on the natural environment, where productiveness is dependent on the randomness of climate changes, especially in regions bordering the arid belts of the world. In the second place, pottery was invented. This enabled the storage and cooking of agricultural products and of those that were gathered or hunted. The third achievement was the creation of urban centers, which enabled the efforts of a large community of individuals to be concentrated for cooperative projects, such as a defensive wall against artificial or natural hazards, such as floods. In due time, such communal effect enabled diversion...

Raising Water Productivity

Remainder of the century, they saw both enormous projected growth in world population and little new land to bring under the plow. In response, they joined with international development institutions in a worldwide effort to raise land productivity that was replete with commodity price supports, heavy investment in agricultural research, extension services, and farm credit agencies. The result was a rise in world grainland productivity from 1.1 tons per hectare in 1950 to 2.9 tons in 2004.31 Some countries can realize large water savings by restructuring the energy sector, shifting from fossil-fuel-powered thermal plants, which require large amounts of water for cooling, to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. In the United States, for instance, the 48 percent of total water withdrawals that is used for thermal cooling exceeds the 34 percent withdrawn for irrigation. Most of the water used for thermal cooling is river water that returns to its source once it is used,...

William A Kerr Foundation Office St Louis Missouri

4 Is the site located on prime agricultural land Are there alternative sites that are nearby but are not on such a critical resource (Note in certain areas, such as California's Central Valley, without building upward, it's almost impossible to avoid using prime agricultural land for development.)

Floods in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a country not only crippled by decades of conflict, but also prone to natural disasters. Earthquakes, droughts, floods and extreme snowfall affect the lives of thousands of Afghans. Severe flooding in 2005 and 2006 made thousands homeless, and destroyed agricultural land, livestock and infrastructure. In the post-Taliban era alone 50 floods have already been reported. However, except for short situational reports many of these floods are not well documented, thus little is known about the Afghan flood issue.

Future Considerations

Perhaps most significantly, because of increases in human population size and food demand, land use will continue to change in ways that affect soil carbon storage. As more land is converted from forest or grassland to cropland or pasture, especially in developing countries (Table 12.3), soil carbon storage will decline. Even in developed countries, taking land out of production, as is currently done in the European Union and the United States, is possible only if adequate supplies of food, fiber, and energy can be produced from the remaining area, often to feed people in both Annex I and non-Annex I countries. This is currently possible in many Annex I countries through intensive farming on existing agricultural land, but increases in human population size and political or environmental factors could preclude this possibility in the future.

Population and Environment Theories

Just as research on population and environment has come to focus on households as key units for understanding processes of environmental change (Entwisle et al. 2005 Liu et al. 2003 Mackellar et al. 1995), research on migration from rural agricultural communities considers the household the key decision-making unit (Schmink 1984 Stark and Lucas 1988 Stark 1991 Ellis 1998 Fox et al. 2003). In conceptualizing analyses of rural-urban migration, and related land use and off-farm employment decisions, one might draw on the New Economics of Labor Migration (Stark and Bloom 1985 Stark 1991). This approach treats migration as a response to the failure of various markets, primarily insurance and credit. Migration (and, similarly, off-farm employment) allows households to diversify income across sectors, protecting against shortfalls in income due to crop failure (for the household members remaining in the rural area) or unemployment (for migrants or household members working off-farm) (Stark...

Mariculture requirements and methods

In the UK, experiments in the rearing of juvenile flatfish in tanks were initiated in the 1950s by the Lowestoft Fisheries Laboratory and the Marine Biological Station in the Isle of Man. This early work was later used as a basis to provide young plaice and Dover sole for further rearing. Fish of marketable size were produced in less than half the time taken in the sea, by keeping them in tanks supplied with warm water from the cooling system of the power station at Hunterston, Ayrshire. Other power stations also supported small farms but they were all uneconomic and none is in production today. However, the use of warm-water effluents is still being pursued in France and the Graveline nuclear power station near Calais supports one of the largest European culture units for bass and turbot.

Water Harvesting Techniques

Classification Rainwater Harvesting

The most famous pitting system is the zay system used in Burkina Faso. This form of pitting consists of digging holes 5-15 cm deep. Manure and grasses are mixed with some of the soil and put into the zay. The rest of the soil is used to form a small dike, down slope of the pit. Pits are used in combination with bunds to conserve runoff, which is slowed by the bunds. Pits are excellent for rehabilitating degraded agricultural lands. However, labor requirements for digging the zay are high and may constitute a large financial investment, year after year. This is because the pits have to be restored after each tillage operation. A special disk plow may be adjusted to create small pits for range rehabilitation. Macro-catchment systems collect runoff water from relatively large catchments, such as natural rangeland or a mountainous area, mostly outside farm boundaries, where individual farmers have little or no control. Water flows in temporary (ephemeral) streams called wadi and is stored...

Climate Justice Vulnerability and Adaptation

These possible effects of climate change cannot be understood independently of larger social and economic changes. For example, rising global food prices, driven by rising demand and the conversion of agricultural land to growing feedstock for biofuels, will interact with climate stresses to significantly increase food prices. Larger social processes such as the liberalisation of trade, investment, and public goods provision may also change the costs of accessing the goods and services households and communities need to adapt to climate change. Small farmers who farm for a living, on the other hand, will also adapt, but possibly less well due to their lower capital reserves, with the result that small farmers may cease to be viable, and income from farming continues to accumulate in the hands of the wealthiest enterprises.9

The Impact of the Boll Weevil

Department of Agriculture established Agricultural Experiment Stations in the land grant colleges and hired Cooperative Extension Service agents to work directly with farmers. With the appearance of the weevil, the Service began to distribute information on how to control The effects of the boll weevil on southern agriculture were not entirely negative, inasmuch as it forced the diversification of crops and the improvement of farming methods. In Enterprise, Alabama, for example, farmers began to raise peanuts, which, by 1917, had become the area's major crop. Farmers prospered, harvesting more than a million bushels a year, and marked their success by erecting a statue of the boll weevil, the world's only monument celebrating a pest.

What Were The Main Conflicts During The Little Ice

Simple technological advances built over time, and slowly the rural lifestyle became urban. This led to the Developmental Pueblo Period, which capped a long process of evolution. Anasazi populations reached their maximum around the year 1000, largely through more efficient farming techniques. The Pueblo Period marked the culmination of this urban lifestyle.