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Tag archives for Agriculture

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.

Corn Remains King in USDA Irrigation Survey

By Brooke Barton Senior Program Director, Water Program, Ceres It’s no secret that our agricultural industry is very thirsty, gobbling up 80 percent of the freshwater that America consumes each year. It takes a lot of water to feed the nation, and every five years we get an accounting of just how much it takes,…

Feeding Conservation: An African Vision for Restoring Biodiversity

By Dale Lewis

Since 2003, the non-profit company Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) has been working in Zambia to help poor farmers improve their skills, grow surpluses, and receive above-market prices for their produce in exchange for meeting conservation targets. In managing the production and sale of these nutritious and chemical-free products, COMACO has committed itself to passing on above-market-price profits to farmers in the form of raw materials if they commit to conservation.

Conservationists Playing with Fire

By Julie Kunen

For millennia, tropical civilizations cultivated their crops through a practice known as slash and burn agriculture. In this practice, vegetation is cut down and burned to clear land and improve the soil with the resulting organic matter and nutrients. Fire also kills or drives away pests and encourages the regeneration of grasses in natural pastures. When used over extensive areas in a cycle of planted and fallowed fields, the practice is sustainable. Today, many agricultural communities that lack access to machinery and chemical inputs depend upon fire for their livelihoods, using it to clear and maintain the fertility of agricultural lands and to delimit property boundaries. Yet, fire is also a great danger to humans and there are many risks associated with the use of fire as a land management tool.

WWF’s Living Planet Report echoed on the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on the planet composed of almost 3000 individual reefs. For decades, the Great Barrier Reef has enjoyed World Heritage Status and been synonymous with diving, tourism and with Australia. But the reef is under threat of industrial development projects. Text and Photos by James Morgan.

Flooding the Landscape: The Site C Dam on B.C.’s Peace River

The broad flat valley bottom of Peace River in B.C. is home to farms and ranches all along its sunlit northern border. In the middle of the river and along its southern shore are a profusion of low lying islands, wetlands, riparian zones and boreal forest and it is clearly evident why this rich valley is one of the most important wildlife corridors along the entire Yellowstone to Yukon migration route. The the region is under threat of a 60 meter high proposed Dam that would create a massive 83 kilometer long reservoir extending back to Hudson’s Hope, flooding the landscape and turning it into a giant reservoir. Text and Photos by iLCP Fellow Garth Lenz.