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10 Handfuls of India

While working on farms and learning about seed preservation this past year for the Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, I have really gotten to eat some amazing foods. If my hands weren’t in the soil or toiling with seeds, they were usually grabbing the nearest edible item. People talk about how amazing Indian cuisine is — the thalis, the street foods, the home-cooked meals — and yes, those are all pretty great, but where this creative and intricate cuisine comes from, its ingredients, its flavors, its uncooked beginnings, that’s where the real magic lives. This fertile soil (at least that which is untouched by deforestation, drought, or chemicals) breathes so much beauty into our hands. And I consider myself beyond lucky to have held such raw beauty, however briefly.

Holding the Cosmos in Our Hands

“The seed comes from the tree, the tree comes from the seed. It’s like the chicken and the egg. If people want to understand it, they will break the seed apart — they will actually kill it — to see the cells, the chromosomes and the genetics. There is another way to look at this. I plant a seed and a miracle happens — something new is born out of this carbohydrate and protein, a new life is born. This is a miracle, you see? The miracle of life.”

Crops Rising from a Cracked Desert

By Nexus Media, with Michael Kotutwa Johnson Michael Kotutwa Johnson is an environmental policy expert in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona. He is also a Hopi dryland farmer. He sat down with Nexus Media to share centuries-old techniques for growing food on an unforgiving landscape. This interview…

Biodiversity on Indian Cotton Farms: Field Notes from Andrew Flachs

by Erika Zambello In 21st century agricultural practices, monoculture dominates. “Most commercial agriculture around the world comes in the form of monocultures, where whole fields are devoted to a single plant,” Andrew Flachs writes in a new article at Voices for Biodiversity, “Monocultures are stark landscapes, built around the logic of factories rather than the…

Keeping peace with predators can cut livestock deaths

When predator animals like tigers, lions, bears and wolves attack livestock animals like goats, cows and horses, you need to kill off the predators to reduce livestock deaths, right? Wrong.

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…

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.

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.

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.

June 8, 2014: Diving From 90 Feet Above Havana Bay, Free the Dancing Bears and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they run for peace through the Middle East, honor hero war dogs, play matchmaker for dolphins, safely cycle through crowded city streets, pick the perfect outdoor gear, dive from 90 foot cliffs competitively, recover a 500 year old sunken ship, farm the planet’s oceans, and save a species and a community at the same time.

March 30, 2014: Skiing Everest, Mission Blue, Search for Michael Rockefeller, Violent Animal Reproduction, and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week his guests try to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, figure out if Mother Nature is really trying to kill you, ski off the seven summits including Everest, look inside the city of Damascus during the Syrian War, dive into Mission Blue with Sylvia Earle, look at how much food we waste each year, take a walk on the surface of Mars, and find out what we should pack on a camping trip.

How and Why Our Clothing Choices Matter

In a place where population growth is moving incredibly fast, added pressure on farmers in India in the wake of crushing debt and failed crops calls for a new agricultural approach. Genetic modification and organic farming present promising solutions. Young Explorer Andrew Flachs will investigate the effect of both growing strategies by interviewing farmers in Southern…

Fighting Drought With a New Super Corn

Text and photos by Allie Goldstein and Kirsten Howard So how exactly do you win a tilling competition? We’re at the Prairie Homestead Antique Power and Country Craft Show in Belmond, Iowa, of all places, watching farmers on tractors practicing for the next day’s tillage contest. “You drive as straight as you can,” David Sieck, of…

Genetically Modified or Organic Farming: Which Will Sustain a Growing Nation?

In the newly formed state of Telangana, India, the high-tech science of genetic modification is mediated by a 6,000 year old farming tradition. PhD candidate Andrew Flachs explores how new technologies are changing farmer lives (and how farmers are adapting new technologies to suit their needs).