Archive for the ‘#sustainable’ Tag

Green: The new color of rice   Leave a comment

Rice consumers worldwide can now look forward to eating “green” rice with the launch of an initiative that will set environmentally sustainable and socially responsible rice production management standards.

The “Sustainable Rice Platform” will elevate rice production to a new level by helping farmers – whether subsistence or market-focused – boost their rice production, keep the environment healthy, facilitate safer working conditions, and generate higher incomes to overcome poverty and improve food security.

“There are many different sustainable technologies and practices for rice – the world’s most important food crop that feeds half the planet,” said Mr. James Lomax, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that initiated the Sustainable Rice Platform.

“The trouble is, we need a way to deliver and upscale these practices,” he added. “The Sustainable Rice Platform is an exciting opportunity to promote resource-use efficiency and sustainable trade flows in the whole of value chain of the global rice sector.”

The Sustainable Rice Platform will learn from established commodity initiatives that promote sustainability such as for sugarcane, cotton, and coffee, and apply them to rice. It will set sustainability targets, develop and promote regional and global standards of best practices for rice production, and support rice farmers to adopt these practices. It will also identify criteria to assess how well the sustainability targets are being met and whether farmers are implementing the practices.

“For example, we will harness our know-how to set standards to better manage insect pests in rice to reduce the unsafe and ineffective use of pesticides, which can damage the environment and the health of farmers,” said Dr. Bas Bouman, who will lead the work at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) – one of the project partners.

“We can also develop and promote the use of specialized field calculators to determine the environmental footprint of water, carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, or chemical use,” he added.

Rice presents a unique challenge for any quality control system because it is mostly grown by hundreds of thousands of poor farmers who have only very small farms of less than 1 hectare each. Moreover, 90% of rice is grown in developing countries in Asia, where access to knowledge and support is limited.

“Our formula for success lies in our track record of working with rice farmers and others in rice research and development across the private and public sector at the international, national, and local level in major rice-producing countries,” Dr. Bouman said. “To create an impact in rice, we need to move forward in two directions: public policy development and voluntary market transformation initiatives.”

National government agricultural departments could explore and test management practices to make them nationally relevant and to promote them to rice farmers. Non-government organizations could help develop the sustainability criteria to safeguard or improve environmental health. Rice farmer, production, processing, or trade organizations and businesses could use the Sustainable Rice Platform to secure a premium rice market or higher prices.

Kellogg Company Chief Sustainability Officer Ms. Diane Holdorf said, “Rice is an extremely important food crop, for Kellogg Company and the world. As a major user of rice, we support UNEP in the mass adoption of more sustainable rice-growing practices to help improve the world’s food supply and the lives of the farmers and the communities producing it.

“In addition to financial support,” she added, “we are fast-tracking sustainable techniques into our contract growing programs. We’ll share the results with the Sustainable Rice Platform and use them to inform our global rice policies and direction.”

Provided by International Rice Research Institute

via Green: The new color of rice.

Posted December 3, 2011 by arnoneumann in agriculture, Rice, UNEP

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The TH Interview: David Holmgren, Co-Creator of Permaculture : TreeHugger   Leave a comment

“TH: Can a person who wants to experiment with permaculture principles try them in an urban environment?

DH: Yes. For example, weve had a presentation on our website that is a positive view of the suburban towns, which are usually seen as the most unsustainable form of living, since they are car dependent.

From a permaculture point of view, the suburbs are very adaptable to the future of continuous energy descend were facing, whereas the high density cities are more problematic to redesign.

There are many strategies about how we can change the way we live in the suburban landscape producing food in the gardens, start adapting buildings to make them more independent self heating, self cooling, collecting water of the roof and reusing it.

Another powerful idea connected to food supply in cities is community supported agriculture, where a group of people have a financial relationship with a farmer usually not far away from where they live, who provides most of their organic fresh food in a box every week and they pay in advance for this.

This forces the farmer to grow many different things, and makes the consumer eat with the seasons. So it drives the production system towards a more ecologically balanced approach, and the consumer to change his behavior in a way that is synchronized with the region and environment where they live.

This is expanding rapidly in Australia and is popular in California, but comes originally from Japan, where 5.5 million households get their food directly from farmers.”

via The TH Interview: David Holmgren, Co-Creator of Permaculture : TreeHugger.

Posted November 1, 2011 by arnoneumann in Permaculture

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