Crop Talk, May 8, 2017

Warmth Seekers

  After a cold night and a chilly morning, the piglets came out to eat lunch in the sun today. Two litters of piglets were born last week, and another is due any day. Toward the end of this week, we'll have a chance to watch geese and turkeys hatch in the incubator in the market -- that will be a first for us.

   Strawberries are ripening slowly, with high temperatures only in the 50s today and tomorrow, so if you're planning to pick, you might come later in the week. The CSA garden is now fully planted with crops for harvest in late spring and mid-summer.

   You-pick bonus this week: two quarts of strawberries, plus a bundle of asparagus. Wagons will leave at 9:15 and at the top of every hour thereafter.

   We're beginning to build CSA delivery routes. Delivery days will be published in Crop Talk later in May.

   Remember: Admission to the farm is included with your CSA membership. 

Can Hydroponic Farming Be Organic? The Battle Over The Future Of Organic Is Getting Heated

   Last month, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met in Denver, Colorado to discuss what might be the most hotly-debated subject in all of eco-agriculture: What, exactly, does "organic" mean?

   The United States is unlike most countries (or regions, like the EU) in that our organic certification can legally be extended to crops that are not grown in soil. Hydroponic and aquaponic produce is, typically, grown in perpetually-flowing water in which nutrients are dissolved, and in the US, some farms using these methods can be certified organic. Proponents of the hydroponic organic certification say that their farms can be more energy- and water-efficient than soil-based farms, that they can reduce transportation costs by being built basically anywhere (including indoors, smack in the middle of cities), and that they can be just as sustainable and eco-friendly as any traditional farm.

Read more here.

The government is going to try to persuade you to like GMO foods

By Caitlin Dewey, from The Washington Post

   The Food and Drug Administration will fund a campaign to promote genetically modified organisms in food under a bipartisan agreement to keep the government funded through the end of September.

   The deal to avert a government shutdown allocates $3 million to “consumer outreach and education regarding agricultural biotechnology,” which includes genetic engineering of food and commodity crops. The money is to be used to tout “the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian impacts” of biotech crops and their derivative food products.

More than 50 agriculture and food industry groups had signed on to an April 18 letter urging the funding to counter “a tremendous amount of misinformation about agricultural biotechnology in the public domain.” But some environmental groups and House Democrats have derided the provision as a government-sponsored public relations tour for the GMO industry.

Read more here.

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