Local woman launches Web site to help you grow your own food (Google / The Beaufort Gazette)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

http://www.beaufortgazette.com/310/story/620826.html

Local woman launches Web site to help you grow your own food

Published Tue, Nov 18, 2008 12:00 AM
By MARK ALLWOOD
mallwood@beaufortgazette.com
843-986-5538

Eve Sibley is disturbed by the fact that in the United States the average meal travels 1,500 miles before it arrives at a dinner table. “It’s a lot of gas and oil dependence,” said Sibley, adding that during World War I and World War II, 40 percent of American produce was grown in small home gardens. “It’s a common bond that we all have, the need to eat. Food gardening is a way to unify people across cultural lines and relate to the Earth. The Internet is just so incredible in that we have this capacity.”Taking advantage of the vast reaches of cyberspace, Sibley and her Lady’s Island-based organization, World Food Garden, recently launched worldfoodgarden.org. The site encourages people around the world to start their own vegetable gardens and seeks to promote a modern Victory garden movement. Continue reading Local woman launches Web site to help you grow your own food (Google / The Beaufort Gazette)

Improving plant growth with a soil conditioner in the drylands of Tamil Nadu (India)

A Belgian group around the Past-President of one of the Rotary International clubs in Antwerp (Belgium), Dr. Stany PAUWELS, and SCAD (Social Change and Development), an Indian NGO directed by Dr. Cletus BABU in Tamil Nadu (South India) were recently introducing trials on the use of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) for improving plant production in the drylands of Tamil Nadu. The Belgian group offered an important quantity of TerraCottem to SCAD and trials were set up at SCAD headquarters in Cheranmahadevi, at SCAD KVK Agricultural Center and in different villages in the drylands of Tamil Nadu.

SCAD has initiated intensive training programmes to promote the use of Terracottem and to motivate the rural people to set up kitchen gardens. The period of June – July is the prime Agriculture Season of Tamil Nadu. Farmers who received some soil conditioner have started application in their test plots.

As far as the test plots raised at KVK are concerned, the Terracottem-treated fields are showing a lot of favorable results. The Bhendi (okra)-fruits harvested from the treated plots are healthier and more vigourous than those of the control plots.

Since the farmers have started their work with TC recently, they are yet to see the results.

This year, SCAD has fixed 2000 Kitchen Gardens as a target in the Tuticorin District alone. In the first phase local native seeds have been distributed to 1250 gardens, along with the seeds offered by the Belgian groups. The production in these gardens will be closely monitored.

SCAD is also interested in “bottle gardening“, an idea launched in a former posting on this blog (see “My vegetable garden in plastic bottles“, 2008-02-13). SCAD has already given a training on bottle gardening to the Self Help Groups (SHG)-members. They showed a lot of interest on that method, motivating local people to eliminate plastic bottle from their environment.

Nowadays, SCAD KVK-scientists are closely monitoring the effect of TerraCottem (TC) on vegetables and other plant species and on the planned Kitchen Garden programmes. Promotion of TC among the farming community is going on in selected SCAD-sponsored villages. Feedback from the communities will be send later.

Family gardens or kitchen gardens are relatively new to this dryland region. The rural population has no tradition in gardening during the dry season. Together with bottle gardening, this method can improve food patterns and public health in a significant way. It can also alleviate poverty, offering farmers a chance to take their vegetables produced locally to the nearby market, thus competing with vegetables important from distant production centers in other Indian states.

Here are some pictures illustrating the actual situation in June-July 2008 :

2008-06 : Village Vedanatham – Mrs. Mariyammal – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans, etc. (DSCN 1768)

2008-06 : Village Vedanatham – Mrs. Mariyammal – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans, etc. (DSCN 1769)


2008-06 : Village Vedanatham – Mrs. Mariyammal – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans, etc. (DSCN 1770)

2008-06 : Village Vedanatham – Mrs. Mariyammal – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans, etc. (DSCN 1787)

2008-06 – Village M.Velayudhapuram – Mr. Muniyasamy – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans etc. (DSCN 1835)

2008-06 – Village M.Velayudhapuram – Mr. Muniyasamy – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans etc. (DSCN 1838)

2008-06 – Village M.Velayudhapuram – Mr. Muniyasamy – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans etc. (DSCN 1839)

2008-06 – Village M.Velayudhapuram – Mr. Muniyasamy – Crops raised : Gourds, Sesbania, Cluster beans etc. (DSCN 1840)

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4430) – Mixing the TC with top soil.

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4439) – Applying TC to Drumstick (Moringa) tree

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4449) – Mrs. Pushparani applying TC to Brinjal (Egg Plant) raised in a small pot (Container Gardening). Asparagus and Alternanthera in the small containers.

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4464) – Proud owner of the garden with Zinnia, Marigold plants. In the rear end, some papaya trees.

2008-06 – Village Thulukkan kulam – Mrs. Pushparani – Crops raised : Zinnia, Bhendi, Amaranthus & other greens (DSCN 4477) – Little girl sitting in her TC-treated kitchen garden with Amaranthus greens.

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Women SHG members – Test Plots showing healthy Bhendi (Okra) fruits – (DSCN 7690) – SCAD Anbu Illam cook is harvesting the Bhendi fruits (Abelmoschus esculentus).

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Women SHG members – Test Plots showing healthy Bhendi (Okra) fruits – (DSCN 7692) – Healthy bhendi plants with long fruits.

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Women SHG members – Test Plots showing healthy Bhendi (Okra) fruits – (DSCN 7695) – SCAD Anbu Illam cook in the TC-treated Bhendi garden

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Women SHG members – Test Plots showing healthy Bhendi (Okra) fruits – (DSCN 7696) – Fresh and healthy bhendi fruits harvested from TC-treated bhendi garden.

2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Training for Kitchen gardens by KVK Staff Members – (DSCN 7712)


2008-06 – SCAD KVK – Training for Kitchen gardens by KVK Staff Members – Self Help Group of Women after training. -(DSCN 7713)


Grow-it- yourself gardening ‘is back’ (Google / American Farm)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

http://www.americanfarm.com/growtopstory7.01.2008a.html

Grow-it- yourself gardening ‘is back’

7.01.2008

From blueberries to houseplants ‘grow it yourself’ — or GIY — is the new mantra for both seasoned gardeners and beginners as folks turn “back to the future” to simplify their lives while gardening for the greener good. Fueled by rising prices in gasoline, milk, bread and produce combined with an eco-culture to do something good for the environment, the trend toward GIY is exploding. “Gardening is back!” says Susan McCoy, trendspotter for the gardening industry.  “Everyone, particularly young people, is planting vegetables, herbs, perennials and shrubs – anything they can grow themselves with enthusiasm and gusto.” Continue reading Grow-it- yourself gardening ‘is back’ (Google / American Farm)

Bangladesh : Homestead gardening becoming popular (Google – The New Nation)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/06/23/news0218.htm

Homestead gardening becoming popular in Barind area

BSS, Rajshahi

Gardening around homesteads in both summer and winter seasons in the Barind region is becoming increasingly popular with production of different fruits and vegetables. Marginal farmers and the poor people in the vast region are mostly engaged in this venture by making the best use of spaces around their homes over the last few years. Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) have been providing all-out cooperation with necessary training and required inputs to the farmers to grow fruits and vegetables for their own consumption and extra earning by selling those. DAE and BARI officials said that use of vacant spaces for producing fruits and vegetables has been seen as potential means for gradual development in the life of downtrodden in the region. Continue reading Bangladesh : Homestead gardening becoming popular (Google – The New Nation)

Gardening a connection to fresh food, community (Google / az central)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/06/12/20080612greencolumn0530.html

Gardening a connection to fresh food, community

by Greg Peterson – Jun. 12, 2008

Special for the Republic

I have a good friend who I call Margaret the Condo Gardner. Her garden is quite the contrast from mine, but she will tell you that it is every bit as gratifying. Most everyone I know who enjoys gardening shares this same sentiment-growing your own food really grows on you! From condo-size to farm and everything in between, the rewards are much the same. And it really is so simple to do.

I started gardening with my family at the age of 13. Today, 34 years later, many people know me as Farmer Greg because I have transformed my home into the Urban Farm. I live in North Central Phoenix, on a street with 24 other 1940s-built homes, and I’ve landscaped my one-third-acre lot entirely in edible plants. These include 60 fruit trees and a wide variety of integrated herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers. In addition to my goal of fresh food, the Urban Farm also is designed to inspire visitors to look anew at where their food comes from and consider growing some of their own. Continue reading Gardening a connection to fresh food, community (Google / az central)

Fun Family Gardening Activities (Google / Herald Review / NGA)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

http://www.herald-review.com/articles/2008/06/02/familyfeatures/lawn_and_garden/lawn_and_garden3141.txt

Gardening With Charlie – Fun Family Gardening Activities

(Family Features) – Gardening is a great way for kids to get exercise, spend time outdoors, and learn about the environment, food, and wildlife. However, many kids grow up today without the benefit of having a gardening or farming background and access to free play outdoors. They often don’t know what to do in a garden. That’s where parents and grandparents come in. Adults can help kids learn about growing plants in a fun and engaging way. Plus, it will be a special time together outdoors, exploring the land, food, and flowers. But what if you don’t know where to start in the garden? What should you do with your kids so they won’t be bored, but you won’t be in over your head? Here are some simple activities that will inspire your kids and keep them interested in the natural world. Continue reading Fun Family Gardening Activities (Google / Herald Review / NGA)

Sunflowers a perfect gardening project for children and beginners (Google / Columbia Missourian)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2008/05/21/sunflowers-perfect-gardening-project-children-and-/

Sunflowers a perfect gardening project for children and beginners

May 21, 2008

Do you enjoy the cheerfulness of sunflowers? Sunflowers are easy to grow, perfect for children or beginning gardeners and come in many varieties. Whether you want pint-sized plants for containers or giants for the garden, sunflowers come in a full range of colors: yellows, oranges, russets, ivory and bicolor. Sunflowers can be enjoyed by anybody with access to the sun, a piece of land big or small, or to a flower pot. They are good as cut flowers as they produce enough blooms for the table and last a long time in arrangements. Continue reading Sunflowers a perfect gardening project for children and beginners (Google / Columbia Missourian)

The European Tribune, food crisis and desertification (Willem)

Do you know the “European Tribune” : http://www.eurotrib.com/ ?

About the European Tribune

The European Tribune is founded by active contributors to the US progressive blogosphere, aiming to emulate its energy, wealth of information, and community spirit with a focus on European and international issues. The European Tribune is a forum for thoughtful political dialogue between European countries on their national and European affairs and also with Americans (and Canadians and others!) on world affairs.

In the context of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror”, official transatlantic dialogue has become bitter and rancorous and we must make sure that citizens on both sides of the ocean have a chance to better understand each other’s problems, internal debates and ideas. Information on the domestic politics of both sides of the ocean – and how it is perceived from elsewhere – are a core staple of the European Tribune. Global issues like peak oil, the emergence of China, the future of the European Union, immigration, pollution will be discussed from various perspectives.

Lighter stories, travel experience, personal testimonies and the like are explicitly encouraged. Continue reading The European Tribune, food crisis and desertification (Willem)

Family gardens, school gardens and urban gardening against the actual food crisis (Willem)

Family gardens, school gardens and urban gardening against the actual food crisis

Drought is described as a very important environmental constraint, limiting plant growth and food production. The World Food Program (WFP) has recently indicated drought in Australia as one of the major factors for the difficulty to deliver food aid to millions of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Drought is seen as the force driving up wheat and rice prices, which contributes directly to food shortage, social unrest and disturbances at the global level. Therefore, mitigating drought and limiting water consumption seems to be essential factors for resolving the actual food crisis and to find long-term solutions to malnutrition, hunger and famine, particularly in the drylands.

Application of water stocking soil conditioners, keeping the soil moistened with a minimum of irrigation water, and seeding or planting more drought tolerant species and varieties will definitely contribute to solve the food crisis. Scientists in China and the USA have recently discovered important genetic information about drought tolerance of plants. It was thereby shown that drought tolerant mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana have a more extensive root system than the wild types, with deeper roots and more lateral roots, and show a reduced leaf stomatal density. My own research work on the soil conditioning compound TerraCottem has led to similar conclusions : treatment with this soil conditioner induced enhancement of the root system with a higher number of lateral roots. More roots means more root tips and thus a higher number of water absorbing root hairs, sitting close to the root meristem. As a result, plants with more roots can better explore the soil and find the smallest water quantities in a relatively dry soil.

As the world’s population is growing by about 78 million people a year, it affects life on this earth in a very dramatic way. Droughts have caused a rise of food prices many times before, but the present situation is quite different, because it is based on specific trends and facts : the faster growing world population and a definite change in international food consumption trends and habits.

Some experts claim that “major investments to boost world food output will keep shortages down to the malnutrition level in some of the world’s poorer nations“, and that “improving farm infrastructure and technological boosts to farm yields can create a lot of small green revolutions, particularly in Africa”.

It seems quite difficult to believe that “major investments to boost the food output” will be able to “keep the food shortages down to the malnutrition level“, wherever in this world. Indeed, the world’s most famous research institutes have already developed very effective technologies to boost food production in the most adverse conditions of serious drought and salinity. Yet, not one single organization has ever decided, up to now, to use “major investments” to apply such technologies in large-scale programs, which would most certainly change the food situation in the world’s poorest nations.

It seems also difficult to believe that “improving farm infrastructure and technological boosts to farm yields” will be able to create “small green revolutions, particularly in Africa”. It is not by improving a farm’s infrastructure that one will manage drought. Although a number of technological solutions to boost farm yields have already been developed, only those tackling the drought problems are an option to create significant changes.

I do not believe that such changes can be realized at the level of large-scale farms. On the contrary, I am convinced that application of cost-effective, soil conditioning methods to enhance the water retention capacity of the soil and to boost biomass production in the drylands, is the best solution to help the poor rural people to avoid malnutrition and hunger, giving them a “fresh” start with a daily portion of “fresh vegetables”. These rural people, forming the group most affected by the food crisis, do not need to play a role in boosting the world’s food production. They simply need to produce enough food for their own family (“to fill their own hungry stomach“). Application of cost-effective technologies should therefore be programmed at the level of small-scale “family gardens” or “school gardens” and not at the scale of huge (industrial) farms, where return on investment is always the key factor for survival of the business.

Preferentially, major investments to boost the food output in the drylands should be employed to improve food production in family gardens and school gardens, in order to offer all rural people an opportunity to produce more and better food, vegetables and fruits, full of vitamins and mineral elements, mostly for their own family members or kids, partly for the local market.

Splendid examples of long-term combating food shortage with family gardens can be seen since 2006 in the refugee camps in S.W. Algeria (UNICEF project). One can only hope that such a success story will soon be duplicated in many similar situations, where hungry people wait for similar innovative and well-conceived practices, with a remarkable return on investment, laying solid foundations for further sustainable development.

Recently, a number of initiatives have been taken to enhance urban gardening space, not only with allotment gardens, but also with “guerilla gardening” and transformation of open, underused spaces into small-scale garden plots for downtown dwellers, apartment dwellers and even for university students like those at the McGill University in Montreal. Many poor urban people are very keen on harvesting their own crops in such small gardens or applying container gardening on balconies, terraces, rooftops or other unused open spaces. Support for urban agriculture or urban gardening can be seen as a priority for decision-makers to reverse the world’s food crisis.

Food aid, be it with billions of dollars, can only be very effective if priority is given to local food production for the poor rural or urban people, who can not afford to buy the expensive commercial food products in shops or supermarkets. Small-scale family gardens, school gardens, allotment gardens and urban gardens in unused open spaces should be our strategic counter-attack against the actual food crisis.

Jamaica : Farming kits and Urban Backyard Garden Programme (Google / Radio Jamaica)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

http://www.radiojamaica.com/content/view/7423/26/

Farming kits to be distributed as gov’t pushes backyard gardening

Sunday, 20 April 2008 In a move reminiscent of the People’s National Party government of the 1970’s, the current Jamaica Labour Party administration has announced a drive to encourage Jamaicans to establish backyard gardens. In his recent budget presentation, Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Tufton said government will urge Jamaicans to go back to basics by implementing an Urban Backyard Garden Programme. The project is aimed at assisting residents of urban centres to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs in their backyards or community spaces. Continue reading Jamaica : Farming kits and Urban Backyard Garden Programme (Google / Radio Jamaica)