Biodiversity: Past and Future in Organic Farming

It was in the fertile crescent of Anatolia, a mere 10,000 years ago that the world changed forever. One of our hunter-gathering relatives noticed a few errant wheat seeds sprouting on the footpath where she had previously carried her bounty. She soon realized that saving a few seeds and purposely planting them would lead to regular forages of future wheat.

The dawn of agriculture began thus modestly one seed and species at a time. Agriculture and the taming of all-things-wild spread like a bushfire transforming human culture and the landscape. The very biodiversity of the planet was in peril as agriculture took hold and it’s taken us quite some time to look back. Continue reading

The Dirty Dialogue in Organic: Where Do “Ponics” Belong?

shutterstock_283999568A few weeks ago I trundled off to yet another National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in DC. This is a place where a dedicated assortment of organic disciples (and hooligans) spends countless hours deliberating and commentating on the intricacies of organic production. How to balance the needs of the farmer and manufacturer with the expectations of the consumer and be true to the spirit of the organic regulations? The discussion is sometimes laborious and often pointedly impassioned. The latest feverish dialogue spurred on by a cavalcade of differing views is: where if any do new ways of producing food fit into the organic world? Does Hydroponics, Aquaponics or Bioponics belong?   Continue reading

Why Getting Dirty Can Help Save the World

I owe soil an apology.2015 Year of Soil 2

For many years I only considered soil as dirt, mud, insignificant, yuck! If you were like me, the only time you thought about soil was when you were washing it off your boots after a hike in the woods or perhaps you cursed it as you removed weeds from your garden. I have walked all over soil, literally and philosophically. Now I know better, and I want to share why. Continue reading