Here’s five stories you should read today, February 17.
California is the midst of the state’s worst drought in recent history. The state, which produces nearly a third of the nation’s produce, is left with a choice — spend millions of dollars on finding and trucking water to the dry areas, or let thousands of acres of farmland go empty this growing season.
How will the world feed itself during and after climate change? Mark Hertsgaard, who has written about climate change for The New Yorker, Newsweek, and The Nation, shares a few ideas. Hertsgaard argues that GMO seeds aren’t enough. He argues that it’s necessary to take an agro-ecology approach, as well.
According to a study published Sunday in the journal Nature, using fertilizer can be too much of a good thing. Though additional nitrogen will increase the amount of grass grown, some species that are adapted to survive more difficult times could be pushed out.
In honor of Presidents Day, the Zanesville Times Recorder published a nice history of America’s first president’s experience with farming and agriculture. According to the story, Washington once wrote to a friend, “No pursuit is more congenial with my nature and gratifications than (that) of agriculture.”
Offering a line of cheap credit to Kenyan farmers in return for conservation practices has produced some encouraging results. The idea started when Obadiah Ngigi had an idea to give small farmers advice as well as financing. The Farmer’s Life loans system has 50 smallholders that have graduated up the company’s credit ladder. The goal is to eventually offer Africa’s first green bank that would give loans and take deposits.