Springfield, Colo., farmer Ryan Loflin on Monday planted the nation’s first industrial hemp crop in almost 60 years.
Loflin’s plans to grow hemp already have been chronicled, and Monday’s planting attracted the attention of more media in southeastern Colorado and a documentary film crew.
Hemp is genetically related to marijuana but contains little or no THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. Hemp has dozens of uses in food, cosmetics, clothing and industrial materials.
Read more: First major hemp crop in 60 years is planted in southeast Colorado – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23232417/first-major-hemp-crop-60-years-is-planted#ixzz2TEAdX95z
There isn’t much local Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino won’t eat. His highly accliamed Amaz restaurant is devoted to finding and using Amazonian food native to the country, like a 600-pound freshwater fish or a little-known fruit nicknamed “cannonball” that tastes like a cross between a guava, coconut, and melon.
But a year ago Mr. Schiaffino stopped eating supermarket tomatoes.
Even though Peru is the birthplace of the crop, it’s difficult to find anything other than hard, pale Roma tomatoes in supermarkets, and Schiaffino says that worried him.
“They’re a big monoculture, which is why people usually end up using [genetically modified organisms] GMOs. Because when you have monocultures, the crops end up getting diseases, and you have to look for these extreme ways to fix them,” he says.
Peru was the cradle of the Inca Empire, and today it’s home to many crops indigenous to the Americas. It has 400 varieties of potato alone, and a geography that allows farmers to grow almost anything.
It’s also the only country in the Americas to put a 10-year ban on genetically modified food, with a law that was first introduced in 2011, and went into effect at the end of last year. Its basic intention, say Schiaffino and others, is to protect Peru’s biodiversity, as well as the practices that have kept it intact for so long.
Europe is on the brink of a landmark ban on the world’s most widely used insecticides, which have increasingly been linked to serious declines in bee numbers. Despite intense secret lobbying by British ministers and chemical companies against the ban, revealed in documents obtained by the Observer, a vote in Brussels on Monday is expected to lead to the suspension of the nerve agents.
Bees and other insects are vital for global food production as they pollinate three-quarters of all crops. The plummeting numbers of pollinators in recent years has been blamed on disease, loss of habitat and, increasingly, the near ubiquitous use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
The prospect of a ban has prompted a fierce behind-the-scenes campaign. In a letter released to the Observer under freedom of information rules, the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, told the chemicals company Syngenta last week that he was “extremely disappointed” by the European commission‘s proposed ban. He said that “the UK has been very active” in opposing it and “our efforts will continue and intensify in the coming days”.
It would seem that millions of eggs had been sold under false pretences over the last few years, exploiting the willingness of some customers to pay extra for produce from more humanely kept birds.
Prosecutors in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, told Der Spiegel magazine they were investigating around 150 firms in that state and around 50 elsewhere. Frauke Wilken, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office told the magazine that initial investigations had begun in the autumn of 2011, and had revealed ever more suspect operations.
“The suspicion is that this is a case of systematic fraud. It is no minor matter – it would be deception of consumers,” said Christian Mayer, the new Lower Saxony agriculture minister.
He said if the suspicions were proven, he would move to withdraw operation licenses from the relevant farms.
Those under suspicion were largely conventional farms, but some organic farms were also affected.
Chickens and their eggs can only be described as free-range if each animal has access to at least four square metres of space, while the description organic, or “bio” in German, requires further specific conditions.
A young architect hopes a developer will decide to build his 23-acre farm in the center of San Diego. Unlike most farms, this one would reach 500 feet into the sky.
Brandon Martella, 24, graduated from the New School of Architecture and Design last year and quickly finished his plans for the Live Share Grow tower. He told KPBS San Diego on Tuesday that his vertical farm was an attempt to revolutionize the industry, placing consumers closer to their food.
Half of the tower would contain residential units while the other half would contain growing space. Martella estimated that his farm could produce 500,000 thousand pounds of food every three months. The farm doesn’t require pesticides and could reuse the residents’ excrement as fertilizer, making environmentally friendly.
Has Capitol Hill suddenly gone green?
Just a day after Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky introduced another bill Thursday in support of industrial hemp, currently illegal in the U.S. because it comes from the same plant as marijuana.
And now, Sen. Rand Paul’s office tells Whispers it could introduce companion legislation in the Senate “as soon as next week.”
In late January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’d throw his support behind industrial hemp, a surprise endorsement from the long-time opponent of marijuana. McConnell cited conversations he’d had with Paul, and the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim points out the change came after the Kentucky senator hired Jesse Benton to run his 2014 re-election campaign. Benton is the former campaign manager of Paul’s father, former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Who controls the rights to the seeds planted in the ground? A 75-year-old farmer takes the agricultural giant to court to find out
As David versus Goliath battles go it is hard to imagine a more uneven fight than the one about to play out in front of the US supreme court between Vernon Hugh Bowman and Monsanto.
On the one side is Bowman, a single 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who is still tending the same acres of land as his father before him in rural south-western Indiana. On the other is a gigantic multibillion dollar agricultural business famed for its zealous protection of its commercial rights.
Not that Bowman sees it that way. “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong,” Bowman told The Guardian in an interview.
Either way, in the next few weeks Bowman and Monsanto’s opposing legal teams will face off in front of America’s most powerful legal body, weighing in on a case that deals with one of the most fundamental questions of modern industrial farming: who controls the rights to the seeds planted in the ground.
With recreational marijuana now legal in Colorado, small-scale pot shops will open up soon in places like Denver and Boulder. But that’s not the only business that could get a boost: Large-scale commercial farmers may also be in line to benefit.
Why? When Colorado voters legalized marijuana last November, they also legalized hemp.
As plants, marijuana and hemp look related, and they are. But while marijuana is bred to get its users high, hemp is all business — grown for food and other everyday uses. Hemp contains very little of the chemical THC, the active ingredient in pot.
That might be news to farmer Michael Bowman’s neighbors. “When they hear that we’re growing hemp, they think we’re growing marijuana,” he says.
Bowman is from Wray, a small town on the eastern Colorado plains. He thinks hemp needs some rehabilitation and that he’s the man to do it.
A lawsuit has been filed in what is leading up to a battle of epic proportions between the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association vs Monsanto. On July 10th dozens of family farmers will meet in Washington DC to take Monsanto head on in court. Tonight I’ll be heading into the belly of the beast to cover the event and also to explore the many occult buildings and locations in Washington DC.
You’d be forgiven for not noticing—unless you live in California, where you’ve likely been bombarded by geotargeted web ads and TV spots—but this election could spur a revolution in the way our food is made. Proposition 37, a popular Golden State ballot initiative, would require the labeling of food containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients. The food and agriculture industries are spending millions to defeat it, and with good reason: As we’ve seen with auto emissions standards and workplace smoking bans, as California goes, so goes the nation.