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Tag archives for Agriculture

Marigolds: an (agri)cultural staple

The first seeds I ever saved were marigold seeds. At the time, I was a garden educator at a small neighborhood environmental nonprofit in Camden, New Jersey. The Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET) is situated in the South Waterfront neighborhood, an old urban community enclosed by industrial facilities which not only restrict access to the nearby waterfront, but…

A Market-Based Strategy for Sustainable Water Management

By Brian Richter, Chief Scientist, Water, The Nature Conservancy Australia is one of the driest inhabited places on Earth. Yet nearly two-thirds of the country’s land area is devoted to agriculture, generating 93 percent of the domestic food supply. The country is only able to sustain this level of food production through irrigation and an…

Common Land, Common Ground

By Justin Adams, Global Managing Director for Lands at The Nature Conservancy. Edward Loure and The Nature Conservancy have a common story. The story is one of reducing conflict by finding common ground—in this case both literally and metaphorically. All over the world – in fact, for 2.5 billion people – lives depend on land…

Forests in 25 Words or Less

By Alison Clausen

Today marks the U.N. International Day of Forests. I was asked recently for an “elevator pitch” in 25 words or less on why we should invest resources in saving tropical forests and, in particular, in tropical forests in Madagascar. To those of us working in conservation, this question seems like a no-brainer, so at first I took the question with a grain of salt. However, my questioner persisted and it made me realize both that it is not a no-brainer for everyone – particularly given the competing priorities for peoples’ attention – and that for the conservation community we need to be able to answer such questions if we are to engage people in our work.

The Maya Forest: From the Underworld to the Sky

We are here to fly. Today we begin our 5,000-mile “megaflyover” through Central America to document the state of the region’s great forests, starting in the vast Maya Forest of Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico. We are interested in preserving these forests not only for the vital services they provide to humanity, but also because they provide habitat for some of the world’s most impressive wildlife, including the jaguar, Baird’s tapir, and scarlet macaws.

Apocalypse Paused: Scenes From Soviet-Era “Ghost Farms”

Picture two giant farms: one the size of France; the other the size of Wisconsin. That is how many acres of agricultural land sit fallow in Russia (45 million) and Kazakhstan (35 million).   The 250,000-acre Chilinka Collective Farm, in northern Kazakhstan, was once known as an oasis on the steppes. It was home to 500…

The (Questionably) Honorable Kazakh Tradition of Livestock Theft

With 2,500 head of livestock, it can be hard to notice when a few go missing. Especially for Dauletgali Zhaitapov, whose business Kaz Horse Mugalzhar LTD operates on 75,000 acres of unfenced rangeland in northern Kazakhstan. During fall roundup, Zhaitapov realized his horse herd was 100 animals short. These weren’t just any horses; they were…

Urban Gardens Frame Life in Jakarta

RUSUN MARUNDA, Jakarta–I grew up in east Tennessee where food is love and the Farmer’s Almanac is mandatory reading. A deep-rooted love for digging in the dirt and watching a seed transform to seedling to fruit is something I carry with me always. So when I came across Pak Bambang diligently tending to his garden…

When Cows Fly

It was five years ago, this November, when a team of cowboys transplanted a ranch in a box from the Montana range to the Russian steppes. We traveled by truck, plane, and ship to settle on Stevenson-Sputnik Ranch. The anniversary has me in a sentimental mood, something cowboys are prone to feel anyway. It doesn’t help…

Seeds, Soil and SMS: How Mobiles Promote Resilience Among Small-Scale Farmers in Africa

Despite producing more than 70% of the world’s food, most small-scale farmers live on less than $1 a day. Typically, they lack access to finance, traditional markets and much-needed agricultural products. Not only that, many also live in remote areas without Internet access meaning they have no way to access vital agricultural advice or information, either. In…

Unsurprisingly, American Explorer Terrible at Milking Cows

Cross-cultural explorer and National Geographic grantee Chris Bashinelli tried to live as Mongolian nomad for a month and found himself face-to-butt with the nomads’ livestock. He quickly discovered that “when your face is a few inches from a cow’s teat and a few feet away from the cow’s kicking legs, it isn’t exactly the most comforting environment.”

Farm Water Management Lessons from the Desert

MARICOPA, AZ — In this patchwork quilt of irrigated green farms tucked into a vast expanse of desert, cacti and mesquite, it seems improbable that water-loving vegetables could be sustainably produced on a large scale. Yet Arizona is second only to California as the country’s largest grower of lettuce, spinach, melon and other such crops.…

A Farm Level View on Supply Chain Water Risk

WATSONVILLE, CA—Lettuce is a thirsty crop in parched California. It takes roughly 12 gallons to grow a single head, and Chris Willoughby, a mid-sized grower of leafy greens, broccoli and cabbage, is doing his best to cut back on that amount. When his wells ran salty 10 years ago, following decades of regional groundwater over…

Women Lead on Conservation in Nepal

“Women do most of the work in rural communities, they are the ones collecting firewood or fodder from the forests or fetching water from the faraway spring. Given how connected women are to nature, they are the most knowledgeable about natural resources and their connection to better livelihoods. Communities without empowered women are missing the backbone that strengthens them and helps them climb out of poverty.”

The Karoo Predator Project: Mitigating the human-wildlife conflict

Farmers, scientists and photographers are working together in South Africa’s Karoo to look for ways to ease the tense relationship between farming herds and natural predators.