Posted on October 30, 2013

by Joyce Nelson

In early September, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) launched a major campaign targeting 20 of the largest snack food companies that use palm oil in their candy bars and potato chips. “Cut Conflict Palm Oil, Not Rainforests” says RAN, citing massive conversion of rainforests and peatlands to palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. RAN’s campaign also highlights labour abuses, declining wildlife populations, and violent clashes between communities and palm oil developers.

RAN says these issues cause major risk to the reputations of

Posted on September 05, 2013

by Gavin Fridell
Photo Credit: Simon Granovksy-Larsen

A major coffee crisis is brewing in Central America. Its impact has already been felt by the poorest workers and farmers, and things could get a lot worse. In 2012 an outbreak of “coffee leaf rust” (a fungus that has long haunted the industry) hit Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The outbreak is the worst in over thirty years, affecting over 50 per cent of the total coffee growing area in the region, causing a nearly 20 per cent drop in production and costing the

Posted on March 07, 2013

by Dawn Paley

Even in the quiet of late afternoon, the market down the street from my apartment in Mexico City is a hive of activity. Dozens of butchers cut up all kinds of meat and make sausages. Women display whole chickens, and offer to prepare them according to what a passing customer desires. There’s homemade ice cream for sale across from a fish stand, and a tortilla stand that always seems to have a line-up. I buy my vegetables from a man who stands at the top of a pyramid of lettuces, tomatoes, avocados, carrots, potatoes, and whatever happens to be in season. While heweighs and bags the veggies I select, he often talks about how good Mexican food is, but how so many people don’t eat the healthy and tasty things he offers for sale. Before I started working on this story, I assumed he was just talking up his business.

Posted on March 06, 2013

Land Grab in Guatemalaby Susan MacVittie

In March 2011, ethnic Maya Q’eqchi communities of smallholder farmers in southern Guatemala were violently evicted by state security forces from land they had farmed for generations. About 3,200 people from 14 communities in the Polochic valley were forced off land they believed they had a right to live and work on. Within months, hundreds of hectares of the lush valley in the province of Alta Verapaz were being planted with sugar cane that would be turned into ethanol for European cars. Today, displaced families live by

Posted on March 06, 2013

by Susan MacVittie

When Leesee Papatsie started the Facebook group, Feeding My Family, to raise awareness of the high price of food in the North and to gather Nunavummiut for a demonstration, she began with two people who said they wanted to help. Since that time in May, the FB group has caught the attention of the world, gathering over 19,000 members – more than half the population of Nunavut, where Papatsie lives.

Posted on October 17, 2012

Seed exchange ensures the survival of genetic diversity.

by David Hiatt

I first started saving seeds when I discovered that a variety of squash that I was fond of growing was no longer being offered by Stokes; fortunately, I had about 10 seeds left, so at the end of the next year I saved a fruit for seeds and have been growing it and saving seeds for some time.

Posted on October 17, 2012

The community marketplace not only provides health benefits, it also contributes to the quality of life in rural settings.

Community marketplaces and related endeavours, such as farmers' markets, seed exchanges, and simple networking, are among the best features of rural life. Indeed, such amenities also produce benefits for city dwellers, as produce is frequently brought into urban settings to be sold country style. Vancouver's Granville Island is one of the most successful of such city marketplaces.

Posted on October 10, 2012

Cubans made the most of the break up of the Soviet Union. Losing their source of pesticides and fertilizers, they're growing some of the cleanest produce in the world.

by Robert E. Sullivan - Earth Times News Service

The Cuban revolutionary threat is back. In an innocuous, unmarked building in the Miramar suburb of Havana technicians from Fidel Castro's communist government are training cadres from all over Latin America.

Posted on October 09, 2012

Eventually it's many problems will overcome conventional industrial farming.

by Colin Graham

It is becoming stunningly clear that conventional, chemically based agriculture faces a grim future. Organic farming, on the other hand, seems to have blue skies popping up all over.

Posted on September 25, 2012

by G. Willow Wilson

The city government of Seattle, Washington has declared 2010 the Year of Urban Agriculture. The program, developed through the Department of Neighborhoods, aims to make locally grown produce af­fordable and available to as many of Seattle’s diverse residents as possible, while supporting the urban and exur­ban farmers who grow it. New zon­ing laws will allow backyard farmers greater flexibility in what they grow and raise on residential property. A bold pilot program is in place to cre­ate ten urban farms inside city limits.

This initiative is just the latest stride for a city that has long been the pacesetter for sustainability in the American Northwest. As a transplant to Seattle, I was immediately im­pressed by the vigor of the city’s farm­ers’ markets, where a variety of public benefit programs give struggling fam­ilies access to the


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