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Positive Trends
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Antibiotics sales for use in U.S. farm animals dropped in 2016: FDA
7 December 2017 - The sale and distribution of antibiotics approved for use in food-producing animals in the United States decreased by 10 percent from 2015 to 2016, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report said on Thursday (7 December). It was the first decline in year-to-year sales since the FDA began collecting the data in 2009, according to food and consumer health groups. (more)

US: Tim Belk's new adventure turned the former retailer into an organic farmer
2 December 2017 - Tim Belk always likes to have some kind of project to keep himself busy. ... It's on that 200-plus-acre property [his family's property in Chester, S.C.] that Belk, the former CEO of the Charlotte [North Carolina] department store chain that bears his family's name, is working on as his latest, albeit unexpected, project: Starting an organic farm. Belk described organic farming as a fast-growing industry that's especially attractive to young people willing to invest in sustainability and their well-being. (more)

High demand for Ukrainian organic berries
29 November 2017 - Berries continue to gain in popularity amongst consumers around the world. Over the past decade, sales of berries have doubled, with forecasts for the next five years even more optimistic. Ukrainian suppliers are creating cooperatives in response, in order to become more and more competitive in the international market, especially in the EU. According to Ivan Kotyash from Ukrainian Fresh and Frozen Products (UFP), organic berries are even more interesting to producers, with demand at least two times as much as conventional. (more)

Growing demand for Spanish organic fruits and vegetables in Sweden
15 November 2017 - The Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX) is once again organizing a space to publicize organic products from Spain at the Nordic Organic Food Fair... in Malmo, Sweden, where it has detected business opportunities for organic products. The agency stated that a total of 24 Spanish companies would participate in the fair, nine more than in the previous edition. They also stated that the Swedish consumers had a good image and appreciation of Spanish agricultural food products in general, and their ecological version in particular. In recent years, there has been an important increase in the demand for organic fresh products (fruits and vegetables) from Spain; this is also one of the segments that is growing the most in terms of large scale distribution. (more)

US: Untapped economic opportunity in organic farming
15 November 2017 - Organic farming in Iowa is on the rise, and proving to be an important economic opportunity for small to mid-size farmers. This growing industry is significant for our state because it gives farmers an important and often untapped avenue to continue farming and make money. In a tough farm economy, strong and viable economic opportunities such as this are a valuable option for farms. Demand for organic products is growing at such a high rate that consumer need is exceeding domestic supplies. The U.S. is now spending more than $1 billion a year to import organic products. This rise in demand gives Iowa farmers a good opportunity to jump in on the higher price premiums -- up to three times as much as conventional products. (more)

Nepal: Farmers embrace organic farming in Makwanpur
13 November 2017 - Farmers of Makwanpur district are gradually getting attracted to organic vegetable farming, as demand for green produce is growing among the health conscious. Vegetables that are not laced with chemical fertilisers and pesticides are called green produce. Earlier, most of the vegetables in Makwanpur were grown using a lot of chemicals. (more)

US: Arkansas pushes ahead with summertime ban on Monsanto, BASF weed killers
8 November 2017 - An Arkansas regulatory body voted on Wednesday [8 November] to bar the use of a weed killer critical to Monsanto Co's seed sales for a second consecutive summer, ratcheting up a standoff after the company sued the state to prevent restrictions on the product. The Arkansas State Plant Board plans to prohibit sprayings of products containing a chemical known as dicamba between April 16 and October 31, 2018, after an estimated 3.6 million acres of U.S. crops suffered damage linked to the herbicides this year. A state legislative subcommittee must approve the ban before it becomes official. (more)

US: California bans use of some farming pesticides near schools
8 November 2017 - California has banned farmers from using certain pesticides near schools and day care centers under a new rule announced Tuesday [7 November] that regulators said is among the toughest in the U.S. The new regulations take effect January 1 and apply to crop dusters flying over fields, air blasters spraying orchards, and fumigants along with most dust and powder pesticides that could be blown onto school grounds by the wind. Some California counties already require buffer zones between schools and areas where pesticides are sprayed on crops. But the new rule is the first statewide standard of its kind, the department said. (more)

Jamaica: Rita Marley Foundation conducts organic farming training programmes for students
7 November 2017 - The Rita Marley Foundation recently conducted organic farming training programmes for high school and kindergarten students in an effort to help youths value the importance of organic agriculture and its tremendous benefits to humankind. A news release from the foundation said that a total of 105 students at Bustamante High School in Clarendon received instruction on the characteristics and practices of organic farming from US-based agricultural consultant Steven Herbert. (more)

India: Maharashtra to connect farmlands with solar power
4 November 2017 - Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday [4 November] laid foundation stone for a pilot project under which farmlands in the state could get upto 12 hours uninterrupted power tapping solar energy, officials said here [Ahmednagar, Maharashtra]. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Creating 'an army of future farmers' to redesign, restructure food and agriculture systems
9 September 2017 - Students in the Regenerative Organic Agriculture Certificate programme at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA started selling the fruits of their harvest at the Fairfield Farmers Market just a few months after they began working on the student farm. The 10-month programme's purpose is 'to create an army of future farmers who can redesign and restructure the current food and agriculture systems', said Dr. Appachanda Thimmaiah, programme director. 'Graduates will have confidence to farm or start their own business in regenerative organic agriculture.' (more)

Veteran plants the seeds of a dream in the new MUM Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program
15 August 2017 - US military veteran Kyle Amsberry was introduced to Transcendental Meditation (TM) and its beneficial effects on combat veterans while serving his country. He soon learned about Maharishi University of Management (MUM) and was drawn to the idea of studying Sustainable Living while also working toward becoming a TM Teacher. Enrolling in the new MUM Regenerative Organic Agriculture programme, Kyle worked for weeks on a business plan to open a TM Retreat and Education Center for Veterans that included a working organic farm in southern California. 'Right now it's just an idea and a dream', he said, 'but through the Regenerative Organic Agriculture programme, I know I can make it a reality. The networking opportunities and possibilities are endless in this programme and at this university.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management pioneers first complete farm-to-fork program in Regenerative Organic Agriculture
25 July 2017 - Maharishi University of Management in Iowa has launched the world's first complete programme to train the next generation of farmers in an agricultural paradigm that can fully reverse climate change and provide abundant and healthy food for our planet's growing population. Termed 'regenerative organic agriculture', this 10-month certificate work-study programme is a collaborative effort among five internationally renowned organizations in the field of organic and biodynamic agriculture - directed by Dr. A. Thimmaiah, an expert in climate-smart agriculture who has developed many low-cost farming solutions using natural resources that are benefiting thousands of farmers in different countries. He says few schools or organizations offer even one course in regenerative organic farming systems, which he distinguishes from common organic farming. Regenerative agriculture is a self-sufficient, closed-loop system in which farmers, on their own farms, produce all the inputs required, using only naturally available resources there. (more)

Maharishi University of Management launches Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program
28 December 2016 - Maharishi University of Management is launching its new certificate programme in Regenerative Organic Agriculture this month. Under the directorship of Dr Appachanda Thimmaiah, the 10-month programme is the first of its kind in the US and will give students the knowledge and hands-on experience to master a system of agriculture that embodies the best and most sustainable aspects of organic and biodynamic agriculture, as well as traditional agricultural knowledge systems from around the world. 'From home gardening, to transforming the urban landscape with neighborhood food forests, to professional organic farming and food entrepreneurship, to food activism and advocacy - this programme is a great first step in taking on each of these missions,' said Dr Thimmaiah. Students will also learn Transcendental Meditation, which is a powerful tool that they can use to get in direct touch with the deep laws of nature that govern agriculture, thereby improving their effectiveness in farming. (more)

Infosys founder offers scholarships for Regenerative Agriculture students at Maharishi University of Management
26 October 2016 - S.D. Shibulal, a cofounder of technology giant Infosys, and Mrs Kumari Shibulal, announced recently that their foundation will provide scholarships totaling US$100,000 for students from India who enrol in the new Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program beginning in January at Maharishi University of Management, USA. (more)

Maharishi University of Management: Certificate in regenerative organic agriculture to be offered
21 October 2016 - Those interested in being part of the next generation of organic farming will be able to enroll in a 10-month certificate programme in regenerative organic agriculture at Maharishi University of Management in the USA, beginning this January. This regenerative method of organic farming is a self-sufficient, closed-loop system in which all the inputs required for production are supplied and grown using only the naturally available resources within the farmstead. 'This course will be of interest to anyone who has a passion to create radical change in the current food and agriculture systems,' says programme head Dr A. Thimmaiah. 'The students can be food activists, farmers, food advocates, home and urban gardeners, or future organic farmers.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management's Dr Thimmaiah is helping Bhutan adopt organic agriculture
6 October 2016 - Bhutan is the first country in the world that is becoming 100 percent organic. The man behind this transition is Dr Appachanda Thimmaiah. Currently an associate professor of sustainable living at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, from 2008 to 2013 he served as the organic agriculture consultant to Bhutan. His biodynamic agriculture consultancy company in India was the first to develop large agricultural projects transitioning to organic agriculture. Helping farms in Bhutan maintain self-sufficient, 'closed-loop' systems where no outside products need be purchased has caught on with the government, along with 'no-cost' organic certification for farmers, and training programs for instructors in organic farming methods. Dr Thimmaiah upholds that for a country that puts great emphasis on its unique Gross National Happiness metric, which measures progress through the spiritual, physical, social, and environmental health of its citizens, switching to organic agriculture would have an enormous positive influence on its citizens. (more)

Providing food security to families in developing countries
3 September 2016 - Kim Strubell had several careers in his life, but was motivated to obtain a master's degree in Maharishi University of Management's Sustainable Living program after seeing environmental devastation while on a business trip to Panama. 'The Sustainable Living program is excellent,' said Kim. 'The professors are the most important part. We had some teachers that gave us world-class education. This program is for change-makers.' With his organization called Charity Seeds, he has partnered with a business that teaches sustainable, mini-farming methods in Africa. Kim also extends his influence to South America and plans to support local artists and offer internships to MUM's sustainable living students in permaculture and biodynamic agriculture. This is currently being featured on the Excellence In Action page of Global Good News. (more)

Maharishi University of Management faculty present at Harvard on Sustainable Agriculture
2 June 2016 - Faculty from Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, USA recently had the opportunity to present a more profound view of agriculture at a conference on 'The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture' hosted by Harvard Divinity School in Boston, Massachusetts. Three natural approaches to agriculture were presented in a workshop: 'integral agriculture' by Dr Travis Cox, Dr John Fagan introduced Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, and Dr A. Thimmaiah's presentation advocated Biodynamic agriculture. Dr Thimmaiah also addressed the plenary session saying, 'It's agriculture such as Vedic and Biodynamic agriculture that gives deep respect and reverence for - and humility toward - farmers and farming'. He said, 'Many had not heard about MUM before, and afterward we were mobbed by people eager to talk to us and ask questions . . . they appreciated the universal laws of nature articulated by the MUM faculty.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management alumnus develops sustainability programmes
10 July 2015 - Shane Zisman, graduate of Maharishi University of Management and Vermont Law School in the USA, says the main benefit of MUM and Consciousness-Based Education for him was 'learning how to become clear within myself'. He accepted a position with Earth Open Source, a nonprofit organization that supports agro-ecological, farmer-based systems that conserve soil, water, and energy and that produce healthy and nutritious food free from unnecessary toxins. Shane couldn't be happier doing this kind of work, which uses both his legal skills and his passion for sustainability and social justice. 'I couldn't have scripted a more perfect job for my interests,' he says. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Monsanto offers cash to U.S. farmers who use controversial chemical
11 December 2017 - Monsanto Co will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use. (more)

Argentina permits new enetically modified soybean seed as EU debates weed-killer glyphosate
24 November 2017 - Argentina authorized on Friday (24 November) the use of genetically modified soybean seeds resistant to herbicides other than glyphosate, as the European Union (EU) debates whether to extend the license of weed-killers containing the ingredient. The EU debate comes amid concerns the active ingredient in Monsanto Co's popular weed-killer Roundup causes cancer. That has caused concern in the South American country, the No. 1 exporter of soybean meal and soybean oil and No. 3 raw soybean exporter, that its exports to the EU could be in jeopardy. (more)

AP Explains: Farm runoff and the worsening algae plague
16 November 2017 - Harmful algae blooms have become a top water polluter, fueled by fertilizers washing into lakes, streams and oceans. Federal and state programs have spent billions of dollars on cost-sharing payments to farmers to help prevent nutrient runoff, yet the problem is worsening in many places. . . . The U.S. isn't alone. Many countries are experiencing 'disturbing trends of increasing bloom incidence' and growing economic losses, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. (more)

Scale of 'nitrate timebomb' revealed
10 November 2017 - Huge quantities of nitrate chemicals from farm fertilisers are polluting the rocks beneath our feet, a study says. Researchers at the British Geological Survey say it could have severe global-scale consequences for rivers, water supplies, human health, and the economy. In a paper in Nature Communications, the scientists from BGS and Lancaster University estimate that up to 180 million tonnes of nitrate are stored in rocks worldwide -- perhaps twice the amount stored in soils. They say this is the first global estimate of the amount of nitrate trapped between the soil layer and the water-bearing aquifers below. They warn that over time the nitrate will inevitably slowly seep into the aquifers. (more)

Pesticide residue on fruits and veggies tied to infertility
31 October 2017 - Women who eat more fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue may be less likely to get pregnant than women whose diets don't include a lot of this type of produce, a U.S. study suggests. ... women who ate the highest amounts of these foods ... were 18 percent less likely to have a baby. 'We already knew that women occupationally exposed to pesticides and women exposed to pesticides used in agriculture by virtue of living in or near agricultural production areas experience greater risk of infertility, pregnancy loss, and other adverse reproductive outcomes,' said senior study author Dr. Jorge Chavarro, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. 'Our study is the first to show that exposure to low doses of pesticide residues, such as those achieved by consuming conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, may also have adverse health effects,' Chavarro said by email. ... buying organic fruits and vegetables makes sense for foods that typically have high levels of pesticide residue, he said. (more)

Israel's water worries return after four years of drought
23 October 2017 - It was a source of national pride -- technology and discipline besting a crippling lack of water. But four years of drought have overtaxed Israel's unmatched array of desalination and wastewater treatment plants, choking its most fertile regions, and catching the government off-guard. The Sea of Galilee, technically a lake near the border with Syria, is forecast to hit its lowest level ever before winter rains come, despite the fact that pumping there was massively reduced. Underground aquifers, the other main freshwater source, are nearing levels that will turn them salty. How to cope with the crisis is becoming an increasingly touchy subject in Israel. (more)

Not so sweet: 75 percent of honey samples had key pesticide
5 October 2017 - When researchers collected honey samples from around the world, they found that three-quarters of them had a common type of pesticide suspected of playing a role in the decline of bees. ...That demonstrates how pervasive a problem the much-debated pesticide is for honeybees, said authors of a study published Thursday [5 October] in the journal Science. ... Results varied by region. In North America, 86 percent of samples had the pesticide; Asia, 80 percent; Europe, where there's a partial ban, 79 percent; Africa 73 percent; the Australian region, 71 percent; and South America, 57 percent. Overall, 75 percent of the samples had at least one neonic, 45 percent had two or more, and 10 percent had four or more. (more)

EU rules Italian ban on GMO crop unlawful
13 September 2017 - Europe's top court ruled on Wednesday (13 September) that Italy had been wrong to ban cultivation of an EU-approved genetically modified (GMO) maize as it had failed to show there was a serious risk to public health or the environment. The European Union approved use of the GMO maize, Monsanto's MON 810 in 1998, but the Italian government asked the European Commission in 2013 to ban it after two Italian scientific studies questioned its safety. (more)

US: Twenty-eight states make it illegal for counties and cities to pass seed laws
18 August 2017 - More than two dozen state legislatures have passed 'seed-preemption laws' designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs. ... Nearly every seed-preemption law in the country borrows language from a 2013 model bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The council is 'a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on 'task forces' to advance their legislative wish lists,' essentially 'voting as equals' with state legislators on bills, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. ALEC's corporate members include the Koch brothers as well as some of the largest seed-chemical companies -- Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont -- which want to make sure GMO bans, like those enacted in Jackson County, Oregon, and Boulder County, Colorado, don't become a trend. (more)

Austria finds some egg products contaminated with insecticide
14 August 2017 - Tests show that some imported egg products in Austria have been contaminated with a potentially harmful insecticide, Austria's food safety agency said on Monday (14 August) adding to the list of countries affected by an international health scare. Millions of chicken eggs have been pulled from European supermarket shelves as a result of the scare over the use of the insecticide fipronil, and hundreds of thousands of hens may be culled in the Netherlands. ... fipronil is considered moderately toxic and can cause organ damage in humans. Germany received at least 28 million possibly contaminated eggs, nearly three times the number previously reported . . . (more)


Global Good News provides the latest information on agriculture

Worldwide demand for natural, organic food is growing. Many scientists, farmers, and consumers are concerned about the health and environmental risks associated with agricultural chemicals and genetically modified foods. Educated consumers are seeking natural approaches to health, economically viable solutions to global hunger, and sustainable practices for the health of our planet.

Global Good News provides the latest information on the benefits of organic agriculture, organic gardening, and Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture—a programme of the Global Country of World Peace for harnessing the full potential of Nature's intelligence in the field of agriculture, to create healthy food for a happy life.

Genetically modified foods (GM foods, also called genetically engineered and genetically altered) are plants, animals, and bacteria in which the genetic material has been directly manipulated and distorted. Natural processes—such as selective breeding, grafting or splicing—do not directly manipulate the DNA. Many experts fear the irreversible loss of our food crops' diverse gene pool. Altered plants easily cross-pollinate with conventional crops, making it impossible to separate the natural from the unnatural.

Agricultural companies began aggressively marketing GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in the mid-1990s, claiming an increase in crop production. They cite evidence of pest resistance and crop spray tolerance, meaning the crop can be sprayed with amounts of pesticides that would normally kill the plants.

However, research has found that traditional crop cultivation delivers better results. Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD, a biologist in the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Food and Environment Program, says, 'The biotech industry has spent billions on research and public relations hype, but genetically engineered food and feed crops have not enabled American farmers to grow significantly more crops per acre of land.'

In March 2009, Dr Gurian Sherman published a report entitled, Failure to Yield—Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops in which he states, 'This report is the first to evaluate in detail the overall, or aggregate, yield effect of GE after more than 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization in the United States. Based on that record, we conclude that GE has done little to increase overall crop yields.' The report continues, 'Recent studies also suggest that organic and other sophisticated low-external-input methods can produce yields that are largely equivalent to those of conventional agriculture, even though limited investment has been made in these agro-ecological methods.'

Organic gardening is the time-honoured approach to working with Nature's intelligence. Some studies have shown that organic foods have much higher nutritional value than genetically modified and conventionally grown crops, which use pesticides and fertilizers.

Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture goes beyond the most rigorous existing standards for pure, organic food. It includes the understanding of how Nature functions, and how to align man's intelligence with Nature's intelligence to support health, happiness, and abundance.

Vedic Organic Agriculture is an important part of Maharishi's Programmes for creating a disease-free society, and eradicating poverty. Practices which are economically viable for farmers worldwide can supply the growing demand for pure, natural food.

Global Good News is the source for positive news and education pertaining to organic gardening, organic food, and the development of organic agriculture around the world.

See: www.mvoai.org

www.globalgoodnews.com/environmental-news.html



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