Energy Forests, the Feminine Art of Reforesting – IPS ipsnews.net

Energy Forests, the Feminine Art of Reforesting – IPS ipsnews.net.


The project benefits about 50 families – 300 people – and the energy forest component will be expanded from Los Lagartos to other participating communities.

In Los Lagartos, population 5,000, the women work in their family gardens, where they grow vegetables with organic compost that they themselves produce. They also use it in their plots of corn and beans, staples of the Salvadoran diet, and on fruit trees in the forest.

The compost is helping change planting techniques in the area, in favour of the environment. And the women plan to start selling their organic fertiliser in the future, to earn funds for the project.

The forest is less than one hectare in size, but it has a special importance for the women in Los Lagartos because they have managed to regain control over the area and replant it, after a sugar mill destroyed it 10 years ago to plant sugar cane.

“For 10 years we have been fighting for this forest,” said Muñoz, a married mother of four. When she and the rest of the women saw that the forest was being cut down, they complained to the authorities and managed to rescue a small portion – but the damage was already done.

So they began to replant. They planted avocado, mango and nance (golden spoon) trees. And this year they began to grow plantains (cooking bananas), and trees that can be used for their wood, like conacaste (elephant ear tree).

“Now we don’t let anyone cut down our forest,” Álvarez said during a break in the planting work. “We exploit it ourselves, but only the dry branches and what is cut in the pruning process.”

The concept of energy forests followed here is not based on planting trees to cut them down later for lumber, but on the sustainable use of trees, by using dry branches as firewood, and planting fruit trees.

The House Version of the 2012 Farm Bill | Eat Drink Better

The House Version of the 2012 Farm Bill | Eat Drink Better.

The “let them starve or just eat fast food” farm bill. Soylent Green – here we come!

The House of Representatives is just starting their work on the 2012 Farm Bill. The House Agriculture Committee has been gathering information and testimony for some time now, but they were waiting to see the Senate version before putting forward their ideas.

This Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture will hold a hearing on specialty crops and nutrition programs.

The Senate version of the Farm Bill cuts about $4 billion from nutrition programs like Food Stamps over the next ten years. The House version is expected to contain more cuts, with estimates of cuts up to $200 billion over the next decade.

Nutrition programs aren’t just food stamps, though. Nutrition programs also include school lunches, increasing access to fresh foods in food deserts, nutrition education and research, and other programs.

If a certain amount of money isn’t cut from the federal budget, automatic cuts will take place, due to an agreement last year where Congress avoided making tough budget decisions. A large chunk of the automatic budget cuts will be in the defense budget. By cutting enough out of the food budget, some representatives hope to avoid defense budget cuts altogether.

Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The bulk of the Farm Bill (not just this year, but all previous farm bills) is concerned with large commodity crops, such as wheat, corn, rice, peanuts, etc.

Funding for specialty crops goes to programs that impact entire industries, rather than just a few individuals or organizations. Some specialty crop programs include research into local varieties and plant health, buy local programs, trade assistance, promotion (think of the “Got Milk” campaign), and marketing.

Just as fruits and vegetables are part of a well-balanced diet, they’re also part of a well-balanced agricultural economy.