5. Cow Fartpacks Are Here (Outside)
The White House recently took a stand on dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions (that is, cow farts) as part of its climate change mitigation strategy, planning to reduce methane production by 25 percent by 2020. Meanwhile, a team of scientists from Argentina may have found a creative way to get the ball rolling. Meet the cow “fartpack,” an apparatus that siphons up to 300 liters of methane from a cow’s rumen and converts it to energy. While the new invention shows promise, when it comes to its potential to help the administration reach its ambitious goal, you might actually want to hold your breath.
6. How Buying Local Food Grows Local Economies (EcoWatch)
Farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture, farm stands–what kind of impact does direct-to-consumer agriculture have on local economies? A new study from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences found that local agriculture has a positive effect on total agricultural sales in certain parts of the country, particularly the Northeast and Midwest. Furthermore, total agricultural sales are linked to an increase in individual income levels nationwide, an indicator of overall economic growth. These results suggest that local agriculture, albeit a small fraction of the overall U.S. economy, can make a strong impact on economic vitality at the community level.
7. Open Source Seed Initiative Aims to Preserve Seeds for All of Us (NPR)
Earlier this week, a group of activists and plant breeders made 29 varieties of crops available as “open source seeds” that can’t be patented, licensed, or otherwise turned into someone’s intellectual property. The effort is part of a larger campaign to encourage growers to share seeds, knowledge, and practices with one another and to combat the increasing privatization of the seed industry. Seed companies typically patent their products, which ensures that growers have to continue buying seeds year after year if they want to keep growing the same crops. Food justice advocates argue that defending seeds from corporate patents is critical to maintaining a safe, healthy food supply and preserving cultural traditions.
Like the story?
Join the conversation.