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Tag archives for food security

Soviet Sausage Returns to the Menu in Russia

Mr. Demin shakes hands like a snapping turtle bites a carrot. Then he pulls you close and says, with a mixture of sincerity and urgency, how glad he is to meet you. This one-two punch of a first impression is the secret of success for a man who has salvaged a bastion of the Soviet…

After Winston: Assessing Coral Reefs for Cyclone Damage and Coral Bleaching

Over the next 10 days, through the generous support of Nai’a Cruises — a live-aboard ship that has been diving in Fiji since 1993 — WCS Fiji Director Sangeeta Mangubhai will be surveying coral reefs throughout the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Winston and collect data on coral bleaching. This is the first in a series of blogs on that survey.

Steak Story, Part 1: The MosCowBoy

The ribeye steak was called the MosCowBoy. When I cut into it, juice squished out onto the ceramic plate. Each tender bite made my taste buds light up with all six of the essential flavors (sour, salty, sweet, bitter, and especially umami and fat). This was five years ago, in June 2011, when I’d just finished…

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…

Saving Coral Reefs Requires Halting Climate Change

Local conservation efforts are important to restoring and protecting coral reefs. However, if we don’t halt climate change those efforts will not be enough to save them. That’s why marine biologists and ocean lovers have their eyes on the COP 21 climate negotiations in Paris this week. Last year, I co-authored a New York Times…

Food Fight! (or, Will Russia Let the Tomatoes Fly?)

Which has more firepower: an air-to-air missile or a Roma tomato? One can down an aircraft, but the other can cripple a food industry. When Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet, President Vladimir Putin said he felt “stabbed in the back.” There would be consequences, he promised, for the attack that ultimately killed two…

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…

Home, Home on the…Steppes?

A great migration is underway in the world of ranching. Cowboys from the United States, Canada, and Australia are taking cattle by the thousands to Russia and Kazakhstan. Why? To help solve major food security problems.

New Film Highlights Hydropower Dams and Food Security Concerns in Cambodia

Scientists and conservation experts are urging the government of Cambodia to put a moratorium on the development of hydropower dams, and now Conservation International has released a new short film, Hydropower Impacts and Alternatives, that takes a closer look at the issues surrounding the dam construction in the 3-S basin within the Greater Mekong River System. There is…

World Food Day: A Time to Embrace the Farming We Want

With the support of policy makers, opinion leaders, scientists, business leaders and the public, we can make “the farming we want” a reality in order to grow sufficient, nutritious food for future generations, to bring new prosperity to the countryside, and to make this planet a more diverse – and safer – home for all the species that dwell here.

Economic Prowess Not Translating to Healthier Oceans

  The Ocean Health Index was launched last year to much fanfare; for the first time policy makers and businesses worldwide had a tool to assess how well individual countries – and the world – sustainably use ocean resources and benefits. Measuring ten ocean health goals, the Index defines a healthy ocean as one that…

Small-scale Irrigation Boosts Incomes and Food Security in sub-Saharan Africa

For millions of poor farm families in sub-Saharan Africa, access to water makes the difference between hunger and a full belly, between a well-nourished child and one stunted by malnutrition, and between a productive livelihood and one mired in poverty.  For many, the long dry season is a trying time of one meal a day.…

Our Oversized Groundwater Footprint

We don’t see it, smell it or hear it, but the tragedy unfolding underground is nonetheless real – and it spells big trouble. I’m talking about the depletion of groundwater, the stores of H2O contained in geologic formations called aquifers, which billions of people depend upon to supply their drinking water and grow their food.…

Drip Irrigation Expanding Worldwide

As the world population climbs and water stress spreads around the globe, finding ways of getting more crop per drop to meet our food needs is among the most urgent of challenges. One answer to this call is drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to the roots of plants in just the right amounts. It…