Sunday, May 25, 2008
Grist had a decent short article this past week on the United States' urgent need for more farmers. Farmers make up 1.6 percent of the US population right now, and onlyy 5.8 percent of those farmers are under the age of 35. Richard Heinberg addressed the same issue around a year and a half ago in one of his Museletters taken from a lecture he delivered to the E.F. Schumacher Society. The situation is no doubt pretty much the same in Canada, and with food shortages becoming more and more of a concern, and as the need for less oil-reliant agriculture continues to grow as we run out of fossil fuels, we can expect to hear about this a lot more.
The USDA has recently decided to eliminate a program used by everyone from environmental groups to industry and trade groups to trace the use and risk of pesticides. Scaled back in 2007, the collection and analysis of data on food crop pesticide usage in the US was regarded as the only ''reliable, plublicly searchable database of its kind'', according to an article in The Daily Green, which also points out that this comes at a time when herbicide use in Monsanto's near-monopoly of Roundup Ready crops has been increasing.