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Sustainable Farming: Farming of the Future?

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More and more the prevalence of sustainable farming practices as both an agricultural and social issue is increasing. You're not being judged for making a bee-line to the organic foods section at the grocery store. By now most of us have heard the hype around organic and farm fresh foods, but what is behind the sudden urge to go green? Perhaps it's the global movement toward sustainable agriculture. Praised by many for its decrease in pesticides, capacity to feed more people, and a theoretical improvement in the treatment of farm animals, the concept of sustainable farming can be embodied in one simple phrase: from the farm to the table. Essentially a rejection of industrial agriculture, green farming may require about two and a half times the regular labor to produce and harvest food, but it also yields more than 10 times the product. Proponents argue that is not only a promising sign for the potential to feed more people around the world, but can also stimulate the global economy—where agriculture already accounts for 40 percent of the workforce. This way, farmers not only feed more families and sell more product, but they're all bringing home that sweet, sweet organic bacon.

But if organic farming is so effective, why isn't this the agricultural standard? Is sustainable farming simply ideal on paper, but not practical in the real world? How difficult is it to source organic feed for livestock? Check out this playlist to learn more about the positive and negative effects of organic agriculture, and decide for yourself if sustainable farming has a leg to stand on in the world economy. Bon appétit!

10:59
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Visit: http://www.uctv.tv/farming/ or http://www.uctv.tv/prime There's no question agriculture has a considerable environmental footprint. In this episode, you'll see how UC Davis researchers are working with farmers across the state to find ways to reduce that impact. We'll talk about water, soil, and air and we'll take a look at the "Bovine Bubbles" that brought one UC Davis researcher international attention and "cleared the air" when it comes to how much gas cows really produce. Series: "9 Billion Mouths to Feed: The Future of Farming" [Agriculture] [Show ID: 24296]
02:37
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Urban farms are sprouting up all over America. And with more people than ever choosing to live in cities, it makes sense to grow food where most of the world's population lives. Planet 100 digs beneath the surface to get at the root of this new trend.
04:01
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A recent study calculated the environmental costs of a 50-cent fast food hamburger to be 400 times its price at the register. Question: If consumers felt the real costs that go into making a Happy Meal, would they change the way they eat? Jonathan Safran Foer: Well, I don't think the externalities need to be felt by the consumer, but by the corporations.  So there was a study, actually after I published my book that tried to quantify the environmental costs of a 50-cent hamburger, fast food hamburger.  Putting the human health costs, putting aside the question of animal welfare, and the number they came up with was $200 per 50 cent burger.  It's not a hypothetical, it's not an imaginary number—that's what it actually costs.  You know, it's the number one cost of global warming; in fact, a recent study has suggested that it's responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than everything else in the world put together and as the U.N. has said, it's one of the top two or three causes of every significant environmental problem in the world, locally and globally.  So we are paying for this.  And you're right, it's spread out and there's a distance between consumers and this cost.  When we go to the cash register, it sure seems cheap.  So there are people in this country who don't have access to alternatives, who live in what are called "urban food deserts."  And ask them to eat differently is unfair.  We have to ask people to change according to their abilities.  So most people watching this, I imagine, are able to find other kinds of food.  Now, it's true that buying good meat is dramatically more expensive than buying cheap meat. But always the cheapest way to eat is vegetarian and always the healthiest way to eat is vegetarian and always the most environmentally sustainable or sensitive way to eat is vegetarian.  And people should peruse a menu the next time you're in a restaurant and look at what the least expensive options are and they're almost certainly going to be vegetarian options.   Question: How does the food industry manipulate language to deceive the consumer?Jonathan Safran Foer: Well the industry is incredibly manipulative.  They recognize that people care about these things.  Cage-free and free-range eggs are not the fastest growing sector in the food industry in America.  And it's not because the egg distributors have a good conscience and suddenly want to try to promote these alternative methods.  It's because people recognize that putting cages—chickens in a cage so small that they can't turn around or flap their wings—they recognize that it's not right.  It's not right for reasons that are really self-evident.  And so even though this food doesn't taste any better, even though this food isn't any better for our health, people are buying it.  And not just in Berkeley and not just in New York.  They're buying it everywhere in the country.  So the problem is that this extraordinarily manipulative and deceitful industry has found ways to take advantage of our concern.  To ask us to pay more money for something that is in fact, not better at all.  So in the case of eggs, for example, free range eggs, you know, you've probably seen "free range eggs" in every supermarket you've been in, in the last year or two.  They're everywhere.  You've probably even seen them on menus.   Free range is not legally defined.  The U.S.D.A. doesn't define "free range" when it comes to eggs.  It means nothing.  You could keep 100 hens in your toilet and sell their eggs as free range.  Legally.  And ask people to pay more money.  So this should make people angry.  You know, it makes me angry; it makes everybody I've told about it angry.  "Cage-free" is defined, but only in the most literal sense; they're literally not in a cage.  It doesn't mean you can't have 60,000 of them in a windowless shed pressed body to body.  So what we need is some very clear legal terminology that is enforced.  And we need to get those totally deceitful pictures off of the packaging.  You know, when was the last time you saw a windowless shed on a pack of eggs?  Never.  You see a farm or maybe a farmer with a pitchfork or hay or grass or a barn.  And it's total crap.  It has absolutely no correspondence to reality. Recorded on August 26, 2010Interviewed by Max Miller
02:37
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Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2010/02/09/Referendum_on_the_Jewish_Deli_Menu Food Rules author Michael Pollan argues that sustainability in the traditional Jewish deli is achievable. He says that industrial agriculture has changed what once was considered deli food, and favors a return to older methods. ----- What does sustainability mean for the future of Deli cuisine and culture? Local, organic versus industrial systems, externalized costs of cheap food and...collective memory and food traditions. Even "authentic" cuisine can obstruct progress towards more just, sustainable food. How does a business committed to being part of the solution persuade traditionalist customers of the importance of change? For example, towering pastrami sandwiches once signified success, security and abundance, an immigrant's celebration of the American Dream. But given the realities of meat production in America today -- 99 percent is factory farmed -- how can we continue to stand by this as an icon? What taste memories and flavors of The Deli have been provided by an industrial food system? How can we look at our nostalgia critically? How might we evolve a shared cuisine together and how can we bring our people along with us -- away from grieving the disappearing deli, into the conversation and into the future?
02:39
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Rice University ranked No. 2 on a recent list of the top seven healthiest college campuses, according to Neon Tommy, the 24/7, multimedia online news publication sponsored by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. The article highlighted Rice's sustainable dining practices, including using locally grown ingredients, trayless dining, fair-trade coffee and variety of vegan and vegetarian options at every meal. - See more at: http://news.rice.edu/2014/02/07/rice-ranks-high-for-health-and-super-tastiness/#sthash.aGEC3Exw.dpuf
07:47
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http://www.permies.com Helen Atthowe, Missoula County Horticulturist (1995-2010) http://www.veganicpermaculture.com speaks about a variety of experiments with living mulch. She covers minimum till, no till and full till. Helen talks about creating beneficial insect habitats: bees, parasitic wasps, (in april she was experiencing a 1-to-1 ratio of parasitized aphids to non parasitized aphids), spiders, ground beetles ... Broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage yields are explored. Using three foot wide raised beds. The minimum till was done with a single shank chisel plow followed by a light tilling with a tiller/rotovator. Living mulches experimented with include clover which contributes nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but also competes with the production crop. The trick is to find the balance and get the best of all worlds. Podcast with Helen talking about soil http://www.permies.com/t/19840/podcast-soil-science Music by Jimmy Pardo
01:38
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Make The Least Impact - Master gardener William Moss discusses the importance of garden sustainability.
02:43
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The Rainforest Alliance and the world's largest coffee company, Nescafé, team up to teach coffee farmers how to improve productivity, efficiency and long-term sustainability.
05:40
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Cumbria-based Energy4All enables anyone to invest in renewable energy, provided that they have at least £250. It does this by helping communities to set up co-operatives that own wind farm capacity, and by carrying out regulated offers to sell the shares.