Farm Bill 2012 – Senate Version | Eat Drink Better

Farm Bill 2012 – Senate Version | Eat Drink Better.

Unthinkable to put some 50 million on a forced diet and cut funding to food banks at same time! Much of the Farm Bill is focused on food assistance, either directly or indirectly. Food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) will be reduced, with an average of $90 less monthly benefit per household. The current average benefit is $287 per month. This would amount to a nearly 25% reduction in grocery money for about 49 million Americans.

Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry – NYTimes.com

Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry – NYTimes.com.

Like many of the rural members of Mirman Baheer, a women’s literary society based in Kabul, the girl calls whenever she can, typically in secret. She reads her poems aloud to Amail, who transcribes them line by line. To conceal her poetry writing from her family, the girl relies on a pen name, Meena Muska. (Meena means “love” in the Pashto language; muska means “smile.”)

Meena lost her fiancé last year, when a land mine exploded. According to Pashtun tradition, she must marry one of his brothers, which she doesn’t want to do. She doesn’t dare protest directly, but reciting poetry to Amail allows her to speak out against her lot. When I asked how old she was, Meena responded in a proverb: “I am like a tulip in the desert. I die before I open, and the waves of desert breeze blow my petals away.” She wasn’t sure of her age but thought she was 17. “Because I am a girl, no one knows my birthday,” she said.

Noa: darkness falls upon the land

Noa: darkness falls upon the land.

My friends, I am writing all this to you because it is important that you know that Israel is now going thorough one of the darkest periods of her short history. The amount of brainwashed people walking the streets here, the amount of RACISM and blind hatred, is simply mindboggling (and this goes for both the Jewish and the Arab population within Israel). I am but one of a long list of people and organizations with views similar to mine who have been bashed, banned, ostracized, ridiculed and marginalized, virtually OUTLAWED, since the present right-wing government has been in office. AN entire country has turned to talking in slogans, our minds have become little advertising sound-bits: we’re right, they’re wrong, they’re terrorists, we’re angels, god’s on our side, we did everything for peace, they refused, it’s their fault, there’s no partner, you’re either with us or against us etc etc ect. The ensuing witch hunt, evoking medieval times, an Israeli take on McCarthyism, is a dangerous slippery slope that will lead Israel straight to oblivion. SO, to all you Jewish/Israeli friends and family, I urge you, do not blindly support anything and everything Israel does! In such you are contributing to her demise! Rather, strengthen the sane, the humane, the caring and loving!

Tribal Farming Beats Climate Change – IPS ipsnews.net

Tribal Farming Beats Climate Change – IPS ipsnews.net.

For Harish Saraka and other subsistence farmers in 70 Niyamgiri villages in Rayagada, adapting to changing conditions meant reverting to traditional farming methods such as mixed cropping, the use of organic fertilisers and trusted seed varieties.

So, while farming has been failing elsewhere in Odisha, Harish Saraka has been cultivating not three but 14 crops on his half-hectare land since the last two years – enough to see his family through the lean August-December season.

“I now harvest 300 kg of food grains, a 200 percent increase from the earlier single-crop high-yield paddy farming,” says Saraka.

In Kerandiguda village, Loknath Nauri, 58, is the first to try mixed farming on a portion of his one-hectare hilly stream-fed land that he got under a government programme for the landless rural poor.

“Seeing my good harvest, ten other households here have decided to try their luck this year,” says Nauri, who is ready to share his seeds with them.

Will climate change kill off Washington state’s oysters? | Grist

Will climate change kill off Washington state’s oysters? | Grist.

Could do in more than just oysters… Ocean acidification has been traced to two primary sources — carbon dioxide in the air and nitrogen-laden nutrients seeping from cities, septic tanks, and agriculture into the ocean. Carbon dioxide is also known as “the acid gas,” because it increases the acidity of the water it’s in, says Shallin Busch, a research ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center. NOAA set up the lab in Seattle two years ago to study ocean acidification. There, scientists are examining the effect of variables such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, and temperature on more than a dozen species of fish, shellfish, crabs, and squid.

Scientists have found that the ocean’s increased acidity corrodes calcium carbonate — the stuff that shellfish shells are made out of. Winds, currents, water depth, time of day, seasonal shifts, and even geographical features have all been linked to the ebb and flow of acidic sea water.

IRIN Africa | MADAGASCAR: The “less is more” philosophy of rice production | Madagascar | Economy | Environment | Food Security

IRIN Africa | MADAGASCAR: The “less is more” philosophy of rice production | Madagascar | Economy | Environment | Food SecurityDevelopment of SRI 


The SRI method was developed in the 1980s by the French Jesuit priest Henri de Laulanié, who challenged accepted norms of rice production. Traditional farmers flood their rice fields and plant bunches of mature rice plants, while SRI farmers transplant young seedlings with greater spacing on soil that is moist but not flooded. Proponents of SRI claim this system uses 25-50 percent less water, requires 80-90 percent fewer seeds, and can sometimes double or even triple the yields. 

Afghan Women’s Writing Project | My Little Angel

Afghan Women’s Writing Project | My Little Angel.

When she is walking in our yard it seems
like all the world is hers,
I love her childhood world,
No pain, No injustice, No hate, No war
and nothing to stop her dreams.
Her smile,
when she is sleeping reminds me there is still an angel
coming to visit a holy soul.
Her laugh sounds like the best music
in the world.
Her small hand is like a dandelion
flying in the air
and coming to give you the real meaning
of love.
When she is trying to say a word, giving you the sense
of being in front of the heaven’s door,
You cannot wait
till it is going to be open.

Fifty Five – Olive. Olive. OLIVE!!!! | Anna Gay Photography’s Blog

Fifty Five – Olive. Olive. OLIVE!!!! | Anna Gay Photography’s Blog.

Nowadays, I eat way too many olives, and find myself in a constant state of dehydration due to sodium overload. Evan knows to ask me, every time we go to the store, “Do you need to buy olives?” just to prevent a potential meltdown at 2am when I decide I have to have olives. When we are on vacation, the first thing I put in the condo? Alcohol? Nope, olives. Maybe I have some sort of vitamin issue that causes me to crave a salt lick in olive form, or maybe I just like, no – love – olives.

Last Christmas, my mom bought me two 1 gallon jars of olives. 2011 was the best Christmas ever.

Cameroonian Farmer Won’t Let Low Rainfall Defeat Him – IPS ipsnews.net

Cameroonian Farmer Won’t Let Low Rainfall Defeat Him – IPS ipsnews.net.

“It is our fault that water sources are drying up,” he says. “We discovered that the marshy lands here were so fertile that we cultivated them without thinking of the consequences. Gradually, the water receded, and now we are paying the price. This year, I did not cultivate the marshy land on my farm and that is why I still have some water.” 

Meanwhile, the regional department for agriculture also believes water harvesting is a short-term solution for farmers. 

“As a matter of urgency, we plan to construct water storage facilities so that the little available water can be harvested and stored for eventual use by farmers to irrigate their crops,” Awah says. He adds that a long-term strategy is to plant trees that can help protect water sources.