I have long felt a sense of outrage that mining companies can invade farmland to tap coal seam gas regardless of the wishes or concerns of the landowner. Accessing this gas usually involves a process called fracking (hydraulic fracturing), where a chemical cocktail combined with sand and water is applied under very high pressure to shale rock, to create new channels to release their petro-chemical components. There are over twenty chemicals involved in the fracking cocktail, some of which have not been identified by the patent holder and some of which are known to be hazardous. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Farming Techniques’ Category
The first leg of my recently completed seminar tour of North America involved my first visit to Canada. We visited Toronto to deliver our Four Day Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture followed by a field day designed to demonstrate biological principles in action. Attendees included large scale cash croppers, Mennonite farmers, permaculturists, consultants and agronomists. The questions flowed like wine and Joel Williams (my co-presenter) and I found it more difficult than usual to stick to the schedule. The Canadians, however, proved to be a warm, intelligent bunch and we thoroughly enjoyed the sharing. (more…)
There is one mechanism in your soil that has more impact on production, sustainability and profitability than any other. If you get it right you will have better soil structure, higher production, enhanced crop quality and reduced need for expensive, chemical intervention. “What is this magic bullet?”, I hear you say “and how can I access it?”, well this one doesn’t come from a bag or bottle. I am talking about the most important process in agriculture – it is called gas exchange. (more…)
A few weeks back, while having my hair cut at a local salon, I was asked about my profession. I said that I taught farmers around the world how to grow with less need for chemicals. I explained that I was constantly researching the links between soil health and human health, with an emphasis upon the importance of nutrient-dense food. The hairdresser responded, “what has the soil got to do with food?” Oh my goodness! Where do I start? (more…)
I was recently asked to do a presentation for the Australian version of TED.com. These talks represent an opportunity to share important ideas with the world. Last year TED talks achieved over one billion views, so it can be a remarkable tool to sponsor change.
I chose to speak about an issue of unparalleled importance at this point in time – the role of farmers in literally saving the planet. The presentation called ‘Humus Saves The World‘, offers a range of proactive strategies that allows everyone the opportunity to replace apathy with action in this most important of issues.
This week the planet reached a milestone where carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 400ppm for the first time in 3 million years. This talk is a desperate call to action and I am hopeful that you might decide to share this message with as many people as possible within your network. This is important because if the video receives enough views, it will attract the attention of those that make the decisions about expanding the coverage to the main TED website. If you can find the small amount of time to watch this presentation, I am sure you will agree that the message is so urgent, that it needs to get out there. Sharing this it will help. Thank you.
Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/8Q1VnwcpW7E
Following my recent address to a crowd of climate change activists on the steps of City Hall in LA, I was flooded with urgent enquiries about the spelling of a word I had used several times during my presentation. I immediately assumed that word was “mycorrhizal”, as this truly is a spelling bee special. To my amazement, the mystery word was “humus” and I was shocked to realise that my uncommon passion for this wonderful substance was just that. It was horrifying to realise how disconnected from the source of our food many of us have become. I was dumbstruck to think that the very life blood of our planet could remain anonymous. (more…)
Imagine a supermarket chain, comprising over 300 stores, offering fresh produce grown with cutting edge technology to ensure maximum shelf-life and superb flavours. This same nutrient-dense food would also contain higher levels of the antioxidants and the phytonutrients that determine the medicinal value of food. Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine made the statement, “let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” but we have largely ignored his directive in the pursuit of cheap food produced by an extractive, industrial agricultural system with little regard for nutrition. (more…)
Mauritius is a sugar cane-draped, island nation off the coast of Africa, suffering from a modern malaise. The 45,000 small producers who grow the fresh produce for the 1.4 million inhabitants of the island are using more acid/salt fertilisers each season and applying more farm chemicals each year, with less and less response. This mirrors the global unsustainability of conventional agriculture, where more chemicals are used every year but every year there is an actual increase in pest and disease pressure. (more…)
During my recent visit to New Zealand, I encountered a frightening scenario where the entire Kiwifruit industry was seriously impacted by a virulent bacterial pathogen not unlike the citrus canker that threatened the Australian citrus industry a few years ago. I offered my help based upon almost twenty years of problem solving experience in diverse crops around the globe. In the process of developing an integrated program for this industry I realised that the principles are relevant to all crops and should be shared with our ‘Nutrition Matters” readers. (more…)
The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is in serious trouble as growers battle the rapid spread of Psa, a bacterial canker disease that has seriously impacted most of the kiwifruit growing regions in the world. 52% of the NZ industry has now been affected and all efforts to halt the virulent disease have proved unsuccessful at this point. Graeme Sait, CEO of leading biological company, Nutri-Tech Solutions (NTS), recently returned from New Zealand where he has been consulting with growers and the key industry body, Zespri, to expand the resistance effort. (more…)