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Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest

 

 

Seattle is planning to build a new city park filled with hundreds of edible plants – such as fruit trees, vegetables plants, herbs, etc… Free to “anyone and everyone.” If successful, it will be the first “food forest” of the nation.

 

An inspiration and a model for everyone!

 

Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.

 

Read more at Take Part

 

Seeds of Freedom

 

 

The story of seed has become one of loss, control, dependence and debt.
It’s been written by those who want to make vast profit from our food system, no matter what the true cost.
It’s time to change the story.

Seeds of Freedom from The ABN and The Gaia Foundation on Vimeo.

A landmark film narrated by Jeremy Irons. Find out more at seedsoffreedom.info

Produced by The Gaia Foundation and The African Biodiversity Network, in collaboration with MELCA Ethiopia, Navdanya International and GRAIN.

Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip

 

A short animated film about the feedback loops likely to lead to catastrophic climate change, by Leo Murray.

 

Worldwide Crop Yields Are Decreasing

 

The global demand for agricultural crops is expected to roughly double by 2050, driven by increases in population, meat and dairy consumption and biofuel use. However, between 1985 and 2005, the total global crop production increased by only 28%.

Clearly, these recent gains in global crop production fall short of the expected demands, leaving us with an important question: Which crops and which geographic regions offer the best hope of meeting projected demands, and where are improvements most needed?

 

Adding to this concern, some authors have suggested that yields for many important crops may be stagnating in some regions around the world. In particular, there are concerns that yields may be stagnating or declining for three key crops – maize, rice and wheat – which together produce ~ 57% of the world’s agricultural calories.

A slowing, or worse, stagnation or collapse in the yield gains in these crops would have profound implications for the world food system.

Continue reading the story at Nature Communications

 

Urban Aquaponics – The Future of Farming | Kijani Grows

The genius behind Kijani Grows – Eric Maundu is trying to farm in West Oakland, a land covered with freeways, roads, light rail and parking lots.

In an environment where there is not much arable land and the soil is contaminated. So Maundu doesn’t use soil. Instead he’s growing plants using fish and circulating water.

It’s called aquaponics – a gardening system that combines hydroponics (water-based planting) and aquaculture (fish farming). It’s been hailed as the future of farming: it uses less water (up to 90% less than traditional gardening), doesn’t attract soil-based bugs and produces two types of produce (both plants and fish).

Using sensors (to detect water level, pH and temperature), an Arduino micro-controller, relay cards, and social media (Twitter and Facebook), Maundu has programmed his gardens to tweet when there’s a problem (i.e. not enough water) or when there’s news (i.e. an over-abundance of food to share).

Today he runs Kijani Grows (“Kijani” is Swahili for green), a small startup that designs and sells custom aquaponics systems for growing food and attempts to explore new frontiers of computer-controlled gardening.

Aquaponics – the future of farming

Learn more at Kijani Grows

Biohybrid Solar Cell Runs On Spinach – Popeye Would Be Proud

 

 

Scientists at Vanderbilt University have combined spinach’s photosynthetic protein, which converts light into electrochemical energy, with silicon in a new “biohybrid” solar cell.

 

“This combination produces current levels almost 1,000 times higher than we were able to achieve by depositing the protein on various types of metals. It also produces a modest increase in voltage,” says David Cliffel, associate professor of chemistry at Vanderbilt University, who collaborated on the project with Kane Jennings, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “If we can continue on our current trajectory of increasing voltage and current levels, we could reach the range of mature solar conversion technologies in three years.”

 

Plants like spinach, used in this biohybrid design – are much cheaper than the materials used in many microelectronic devices.

Ever since researchers discovered that a photosynthesis protein (PS1) continues to function outside the plant, teams have been working to improve the biohybrid cells. “Nature knows how to do this extremely well. In evergreen trees, for example, PS1 lasts for years,” says chemist David Cliffel. “We just have to figure out how to do it ourselves.”

 

Read the full story at

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2012/09/spinach-power-a-major-boost/

 

Image Credit: Amrutur Anilkumar/Vanderbilt