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Positive Trends
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Gardening apps are getting better all the time
8 August 2017 - Gardening apps are getting better all the time, supplanting manuals and textbooks as the way people dig for information. Many university Extension services are developing the digital aids to extend outreach to clients. 'Extension apps provide reliable, research-based information,' said Christopher Enroth, an Extension educator with the University of Illinois, who evaluates gardening apps for their relevancy, customization, and ease of use. The word 'app' is short for application -- software designed for use on smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. (more)

India: Poet Laureate Kuvempu's Kuppalli house comes alive at Lalbagh Flower Show
6 August 2017 - Marking 50 years of the first Jnanpith Award (1967) to Rashtrakavi Kuvempu, this year's Annual Flower Show at Lalbagh has a major attraction -- a replica of Kavimane, the Poet Laureate's house in Kuppalli, Shivamogga. Governor Vajubhai R. Vala inaugurated the show yesterday. (more)

US: A princely sun worshipper
5 August 2017 - There's a golden-flowered plant that's starting to bloom in native gardens all over Santa Fe, New Mexico this month. Helianthus maximiliani, also known as the Maximilian sunflower, is a showy, native prairie plant that grows up to 11 feet tall. While it looks more like a daisy, it is in the sunflower family ('helianthus' is Greek for 'sunflower') but doesn't much look like its more popular cousin, the larger headed Helianthus annuus, or common sunflower. The Maximilian sunflower was named for German explorer, ethologist, and naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, who led an expedition into the American West in the 1830s and discovered the flowering plant in Missouri. (more)

US: Ask a Master Gardener - Lacing the lawn with lavender
5 August 2017 - The sweet smell of lavender (Lavandula), a wonderful addition to most landscapes. This plant is a native of the Mediterranean region and is prized for its fragrant flowers and oil. And, it is quite desirable in many regions for being drought tolerant, almost deer-proof, and easy to grow. It is also a favorite of bees and butterflies. The addition of this plant to your landscape will encourage visits by these valuable insects. (more)

US: Food is free for the taking at floating 'forest' in NYC
5 August 2017 - An old construction barge planted with vegetables, apple trees and fragrant herbs is giving apartment-dwelling New Yorkers a chance to pick something and eat it. Part floating garden, part artwork, and part community organizing project, the barge called Swale is currently docked on a river in the South Bronx and will move to Hudson River Park in lower Manhattan from September 15 to November 15. (more)

Cambodian organic farmers soak up Thai advice
3 August 2017 - Cambodian organic farmers seek to glean advice and experience from the more developed organic agriculture sector in Thailand. For Cambodian organic farmer Por Koung, the journey to Bangkok was more than just a chance to exhibit his products at an international expo, it was an opportunity to glean some experience from fellow organic farmers in Thailand, a country that is spearheading the region's commercialisation of organic agriculture. Thailand's organic agricultural sector is growing at about 7 percent a year. Last year, the country produced $80 million of organic food products, generating about a third of this revenue from exports. (more)

US: Montana mill targets booming demand for non-GMO foods
3 August 2017 - Montana Specialty Mills has started work on a $20 million mill dedicated to producing non-GMO grain products and organic oilseeds, Food Business News reports. According to a recent Packaged Facts report, there are about 2,000 non-GMO products launched in the U.S. each year, up from just a few hundred products annually a decade ago. (more)

US: University of California, Santa Cruz celebrates 50 years of organic farming (+ video)
3 August 2017 - A half century of pioneering work in organic farming was evident this past weekend as hundreds of farmers, educators, scientists, and alumni gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Alan Chadwick Garden -- and all that has followed. The founder of the garden that today bears his name, Chadwick was a master gardener who introduced organic farming and gardening techniques to the campus and sparked a movement that would spread those principles far and wide-- decades before anyone coined the phrase 'sustainable agriculture.' (more)

India: HP to bring 2,00 hectares under organic farming, develop 200 bio-villages
31 July 2017 - Himachal Pradesh is set to bring 2,000 hectare of additional land under organic farming besides developing 200 bio-villages. Nearly 22,000 hectare of land has already been brought under organic farming in the state and 40,000 farmers have ... registered under the scheme. A senior official from agriculture department said, to encourage farmers towards organic farming, the state government has announced attractive prizes for the farmers with excellent work in organic production. (more)

Medicinal herb farming flourishes amid Egypt's ailing economy
29 July 2017 - Like most of his peers and neighbors in Agamyeen village in Fayoum Valley, 42-year-old Abdul Nabi inherited farming from his ancestors. For decades, Abdul Nabi grew wheat, rice, cotton, and corn in his 50-acre farm. But 13 years ago, the man decided to shift to the cultivation of organic medicinal herbs to earn more money. The middle-aged man started a company to grow, process, and export herbs and is now sending his produce of some 20 species of medicinal herbs and spices to Europe, the Americas, and China. 'They told me that European companies have tested the soil and the weather here and said they are unique for growing medicinal herbs.' (more)


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


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)

Compass Green: Maharishi School graduate plants seeds of sustainability
15 March 2015 - Justin Cutter is a young, visionary, ecological gardener and educator who found a unique way to bring the message of sustainability to communities across the country. Several years ago Justin and Nick Runkle, his schoolmate from Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, set out to realize Nick's idea of creating a mobile greenhouse in a box truck. This became the Compass Green project, which has been featured on the Disney Channel and backed by leading national brands such as Dr Bronner Soaps, Frontier Natural Products, and Chipotle. Justin now travels the USA teaching thousands of students how to grow their own food and inspiring administrators to start school gardens. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Keith Kloor's Endearing Love Affair With GMOs
18 August 2017 - Few science writers have worked as hard as Keith Kloor to impact public opinion on genetically modified organism (GMO) agriculture. An adjunct professor at New York University and former editor for Audubon and blogger for Discover, Kloor has spent years championing GMO products and portraying skeptics and critics as scientifically illiterate quacks. Kloor's one-man crusade to paint environmental advocates as nitwits includes a classic of the Kloor canon: his self-aggrandizing piece in Issues in Science and Technology comparing demands for GMO transparency to the tactics of the Trump campaign and the anti-vaccine movement (a favorite bugbear). The public has known for some time that Keith Kloor loves GMOs. What they haven't known, until now, is how hard he's worked with industry-funded 'experts' ' to present corporate talking points as journalism and then try to cover his tracks. (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)

Toxic waste from U.S. pot farms alarms experts
6 August 2017 - Pollution from illegal marijuana farms deep in California's national forests is far worse than previously thought, and has turned thousands of acres into waste dumps so toxic that simply touching plants has landed law enforcement officers in the hospital. Growers use fertilizers and pesticides long restricted or banned in the United States, including carbofuran and zinc phosphide. In previous years, it was commonly sold fertilizers and pesticides that were used illegally, law enforcement officials said. Use of any chemicals in national forests is against federal law, as pesticides have killed sensitive species and fertilizers can cause algae blooms and bacteria problems in rivers and streams. (more)

US: Research in Hawaii links beehives, pesticides
6 August 2017 - Another study looking at pesticides in beehives is underway in Hawaii. And results are showing a connection between agriculture-dense areas and an increase in the chemical glyphosate -- the active ingredient in Roundup -- in honey. Concentration within the samples that tested positive was an average of 80 parts per billion -- ranging from zero to 330 parts per billion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't set a tolerance limit for glyphosate. In the European Union, the tolerance level is 50 parts per billion. ... The purpose of the study is to monitor the migration of pesticides from their point of introduction, and relationships between urban development, golf courses, and industrial areas were also analyzed. (more)

US: Drought in High Plains the worst some farmers have ever seen
15 July 2017 - Drought in North Dakota is laying waste to fields of normally bountiful food and hay crops ... Some longtime farmers and ranchers say it's the worst conditions they've seen in decades -- possibly their lifetimes -- and simple survival has become their goal as a dry summer drags on without a raincloud in sight. (more)

One of worst droughts in decades devastates South Europe crops
14 July 2017 - Drought in southern Europe threatens to reduce cereal production in Italy and parts of Spain to its lowest level in at least 20 years, and hit other regional crops including olives and almonds. Castile and Leon, the largest cereal growing region in Spain, has been particularly badly affected, with crop losses estimated at around 60 to 70 percent. Spain and Italy are also among the world's top producers of olive oil. Production in both countries is expected to fall, but the decline is likely to be particularly steep in Italy, where drought is the latest headache for olive growers already plagued by insects and a bacterial disease in recent years. Other crops have been damaged, and Italy's agricultural association Coldiretti has estimated the drought could cost the nation's farmers more than 1 billion euros. (more)

Dow launches new GMO corn after landing China import approval
14 June 2017 - Dow Chemical Co [U.S.] secured import approval from China for its next-generation Enlist corn variety and announced it would be commercially available in the United States and Canada next year, but the company was still awaiting approval of Enlist soybeans from the world's top soy importer. China on Wednesday [14 June] approved two new varieties of genetically modified (GMO) crops for import from June 12, including Dow's Enlist corn, engineered to combat weeds resistant to the widely used herbicide glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Monsanto's ... Roundup herbicide. (more)

Brazil approves world's first commercial GM sugarcane
8 June 2017 - Brazil has approved commercial use of a genetically modified sugarcane, setting a milestone for the country's highly competitive sugar industry as this is the first time such permission has been granted anywhere in the world. Brazil exports sugar to about 150 countries and some 60 percent of them do not demand regulatory approval to import sugar made from genetically modified organisms. (more)

Arctic stronghold of world's seeds flooded after permafrost melts
19 May 2017 - It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world's most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity's food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel. No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide failsafe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change. (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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