The Science of Sustainability

Tag: agriculture

Lessons from a Global Garden: Growing More Food with Less

Lessons from a Global Garden: Growing More Food with Less

Farmers and community gardeners from around the world gather in Mendocino, California to explore a method for growing more food on less land — that reduces the need for precious resources.

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Searching for Memories on an Altered Landscape

Searching for Memories on an Altered Landscape

While prairie is converted to cropland at a breakneck pace, one conservation biologist in Nebraska is finding an alternative way to jog the collective memory of the Great Plains landscape.

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Groundwater Wars: Potatoes versus Trout

Groundwater Wars: Potatoes versus Trout

In a state with more than a quadrillion gallons of groundwater, central Wisconsin residents have watched water levels in streams and lakes drop for years– where did the water go?

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Tough and Tasty: Recasting a Resilient Weed as a Wild Edible

Tough and Tasty: Recasting a Resilient Weed as a Wild Edible

Find out why some residents of a drought-plagued state are welcoming a weed to their gardens—and their dinner plates.

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California's Farm Belt Didn't Dodge the Summer Heat Wave

California's Farm Belt Didn't Dodge the Summer Heat Wave

Autumn is here, so says the calendar. Living on the coast, it might be easy to think that California escaped the heat wave suffered by much of the nation this summer. While that may be true for most of the large coastal population centers, it was a different story for much of the state's interior farm belt.

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Heat and Harvest: Calif. Farms on a Climate Collision Course

Heat and Harvest: Calif. Farms on a Climate Collision Course

New pests, a shrinking water supply and rising temperatures will alter agriculture in California.

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Farmworkers Pay a Heavy Price for California's Bounty

Farmworkers Pay a Heavy Price for California's Bounty

California farmworkers work long days for about $7.50 an hour to pick fruit in orchards doused with nitrogen fertilizers. A UC Davis study released in March found that nitrates from fertilizers and dairy waste have contaminated groundwater supplies. Because farmworkers live near the fields they work in, they're at high risk for nitrate-contaminated drinking water.

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Songbirds as a Measure of Farm Sustainability

Songbirds as a Measure of Farm Sustainability

John Quinn, a researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, explains how he collects and uses bird calls to establish an indicator for farm healthiness known as the Healthy Farm Index.

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Herbicides: Help or Harm?

Herbicides: Help or Harm?

Recent headlines have brought to light some of herbicides’ unintended effects. Herbicides can provide farmers and gardeners with advantages over unwanted weeds—but they also come with drawbacks.

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Prince Charles Delivers Landmark Speech, Says Sustainable Farming Can Feed The World

Prince Charles Delivers Landmark Speech, Says Sustainable Farming Can Feed The World

Prince Charles is a long-time supporter of organic and sustainable farming, but this speech took his advocacy a step further.

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How Green is Biomass Energy?

How Green is Biomass Energy?

When you think of where energy comes from, you might picture a power plant or maybe wind mills. You probably wouldn't think of a pile of 12 tons of almond shells.

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Land Preservation on the Chopping Block

Land Preservation on the Chopping Block

Under Governor Jerry Brown's proposed budget, state funding for the Williamson Act would be eliminated.

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A Food, Forest and Education Center by the Freeway

A Food, Forest and Education Center by the Freeway

I live in Hayes Valley and there has been a transformation a few blocks down from where I live. Hayes Valley Farm blooms in an abandoned concrete space; it is a 2.2 acre non-profit community run farm and urban agriculture education and research project.

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Reporter's Notes: Backyard Seed Banks

Reporter's Notes: Backyard Seed Banks

Today, most backyard gardeners opt for buying seed packets or seedlings at the garden store. But a handful of Bay Area groups are working to create local seed saving networks, where local gardeners can learn to save seeds and share them.

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Reporter's Notes: Catching the Drift

Reporter's Notes: Catching the Drift

In this week's Quest radio piece, I talk to two pregnant organic onion workers who got sick after an apple farmer sprayed pesticides on a nearby orchard. Following a nearly three month investigation, the Kern County Ag Commissioner issued citations finding both the apple grower and the organic company at fault.

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Reporter's Notes: High Tech in the Vineyards

Reporter's Notes: High Tech in the Vineyards

Wine making is indeed an art form, but it is increasingly becoming more scientific. I knew growing wine grapes requires a lot of attention to detail — there is the terroir, pests and diseases and all those microclimates. But who would have known, driving down Hwy 29, the main thoroughfare through the Napa Valley, that many of those vineyards are totally wired.

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Stamping out the Apple Moth

Stamping out the Apple Moth

A tiny moth, new to California, is at the center of a controversy pitting state officials against Bay Area residents and politicians. The Light Brown Apple Moth is seen as a threat to California crops. Now the State Department of Food and Agriculture is planning to spray a synthetic hormone over Bay Area neighborhoods this […]

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