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Positive Trends
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Kazakhstan goes organic in bid to build niche in grains market
19 July 2018 - Kazakhstan is tapping growing consumer demand for organic crops to help it better compete in the food-export market. The country wants to use much of its vast uncultivated lands to grow soybeans and other non-genetically modified crops for markets such as China and the European Union, Agriculture Vice Minister Gulmira Isaeva said. By offering non-GMO and pesticide-free produce, it hopes to carve out a niche in a crops market dominated by giants such as Russia, Australia, or the U.S. (more)

India: Government to showcase Sikkim's success in organic farming
13 July 2018 - In a move aimed at giving a push to organic farming across the country, the Agriculture Ministry has decided to showcase the performance of Sikkim in organic farming as the model for its Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY). As per officials, the initiative would help in encouraging farmers to adopt organic farming. ... Sikkim, a small state in the northeastern region that borders China, has achieved the tag of organic state under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who had taken the decision to bring the state's entire agriculture land under organic farming in 2010 and the state was declared an organic state in 2016. (more)

India: Rising demand for chemical-free produce, farmers encouraged to adopt new practice
9 July 2018 - In view of rising demand for chemical-free fruits and vegetables in the local markets, farmers' groups in and around Pune are encouraging cultivators to adopt such practices of production. Tushar Agarwal, the director of Swami Samarth Farmer Producer Company, that runs 20 weekly farmers' markets in Pune and Mumbai said they are making efforts to push for agricultural practices to meet the increased demand from urban customers. (more)

India: Goa's agriculture minister wants farmers to use 'cosmic farming' instead of fertilizer
4 July 2018 - For the past week, farmers in the tourist haven of Goa have been getting WhatsApp videos promoting a new technique to improve crop yields -- by chanting ancient Hindu mantras. Goa's crop mantras are part of a nationwide effort to find alternatives to chemical fertilizers and return to traditional farming amid rising alarm in India about the effect of fertilizer on human health. The mantras demonstrated in the WhatsApp videos are said to reinvigorate microorganisms in the soil so that fertilizers can slowly be phased out. (more)

US: Solar power gaining popularity on South Arkansas farms
4 July 2018 - Fields across Arkansas seem to be sprouting solar panels as multiple growers take advantage of the one thing they can count on: the sun. Solar energy is catching on with Arkansas farmers, which is a trend that is very promising for the state, said Rick Cartwright, head of the Cooperative Extension Service for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. (more)

Why young professionals are taking up farming in Thailand
2 July 2018 - In Thailand, dozens of young men and women are turning their backs on big city life and returning to the countryside to build a new life through agriculture. They are in good hands: A grass-roots network of experienced farmers has developed an agricultural community called Dare to Return that helps the younger generation establish farms with modern and sustainable methods. (more)

US: Many schools keep gardening efforts going all summer
26 June 2018 - The school year runs just the opposite of the growing season, making it difficult for educators to teach children how to garden. But many [US] school systems enlist volunteers to prep garden beds while students are on summer break, making the crops ready to tend when classes resume in September. School gardens have been used as an educational tool in the United States for well over a century ... Fresh student-grown edibles augment public school menus, contribute to healthier nutritional habits and food safety, teach record keeping and marketing, provide exercise, and build a life-long appreciation for the environment. (more)

Brazilian consumers lend farmers a hand to go organic
21 June 2018 - Every week, farmer Thiago Kaiser fills his truck with dozens of boxes of organic food to be delivered directly to those who will eat it in Brasilia, Brazil's capital city. Kaiser is one of a growing number of Brazilian farmers paid by customers to grow organic fruit and vegetables through a shared-production system. His farm does not sell any of its produce on the open market, including restaurants and supermarkets. (more)

Iranian startup offers saffron farmers opportunity to sell directly to consumer
9 June 2018 - Coming from a saffron farming background, three young entrepreneurs based in South Khorasan Province have launched a startup named Keshmoon ['sowing'] which seeks to provide customers with the chance to purchase quality saffron from experienced growers directly. The startup is gradually gaining traction with Iranians. (more)

One tiny India state is leading the charge to ban pesticides
8 June 2018 - Fifteen years ago, the tiny Indian state of Sikkim launched a radical experiment: Its leaders decided to phase out pesticides on every farm in the state, a move without precedent in India -- and probably the world. The change was especially significant for India, a country whose progress in agriculture was defined by the introduction of fertilizers and pesticide ... But with the indiscriminate use of pesticides came a spike in cancer rates in industrial farming areas. Rivers became polluted, and soil infertile. Sikkim's leaders say they were driven to go all-organic by those concerns and because pesticide residue -- including from some chemicals banned in other countries -- was tainting fish, vegetables, and rice. (more)


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


Maharishi Vastu home, organic farm featured in Westchester County, New York
17 May 2018 - With the help of an architect versed in Maharishi Vastu, or ancient Vedic principles of architecture, the owner built a stunning 5,000-square-foot home northeast of New York City, reports LoHud (New York). Maharishi Vastu architecture ensures that a building will have only nourishing influences on its occupants. This results from the use of several key natural law-based, Vedic principles. Then she set out to create an organic farm and orchard on the nearly 5-acre property. Each year, Amba Farms yields nearly 10,000 pounds of produce; some goes to local restaurants for farm-to-table dining, but much is donated to local food pantries. There are also eggs from chickens and nearly 100 fruit trees. (more)

Maharishi University of Management faculty present in India, Rwanda, South Korea, and Bali
15 May 2018 - Maharishi University of Management (MUM) faculty have been making an impact worldwide in recent months, giving presentations in a number of countries around the world, including India, Rwanda, South Korea, and Bali. (more)

Teaching regenerative organic agriculture to Bhutan refugees: Maharishi University of Management faculty
2 January 2018 - During a recent workshop on regenerative organic agriculture, Maharishi University of Management (MUM) faculty Dr. A. Thimmaiah helped a group of Bhutanese refugees learn to grow their native food while also learning to heal themselves and the planet. The workshops with Dr Thimmaiah are sponsored by Lutheran Social Services in Fargo, North Dakota. Dr. Thimmaiah is associate professor of sustainable living at MUM and heads the BA in Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program. He is a former agriculture advisor to Bhutan and a top expert in organic and biodynamic agriculture who authored the national organic standards for Bhutan. (more)

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)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Europe's blistering heatwave is ruining this year's harvest
19 July 2018 - EU grain growers brace for smallest harvest in six years. Looking out over his parched fields south of Berlin, dairy and grains farmer Thomas Gaebert is wishing for rains to save his crops after relentless hot weather. He's one of many farmers battling for survival after a heatwave and drought swept across northern parts of the continent, damaging crops from wheat to barley. Many German growers could go bankrupt if they suffer another crop failure, and too much rain in France is set to reduce output there. All combined, it's shaping up to be the bloc's smallest grains harvest in six years. 'It looks like a desert out there,' Gaebert said of his farm in Trebbin. His colleagues, who have been farming for 40 years, say they've never seen anything like this. (more)

In India's parched Bundelkhand, drought brings a tide of migration
5 July 2018 - As ever-lengthening drought becomes the new normal, Bundelkhand, a parched region split between India's Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh states, is clearing out. The central Indian region of nearly 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) once received about 800 to 900 mm (31-31 inches) of rain a year, according to India's Meteorological Department. But over the last six to seven years, in particular, that total has nearly halved, with the number of monsoon rain days falling from 52 to 24 over the June to October monsoon period, according to D.K. Dubey, a scientist with the agency. That has caused repeated and widespread crop failures -- and a growing tide of farmers abandoning their land to try to find work in nearby cities. (more)

Iraq bans farming summer crops as water crisis grows dire
5 July 2018 - Iraq has banned its farmers from planting summer crops this year as the country grapples with a crippling water shortage that shows few signs of abating. Citing high temperatures and insufficient rains, Dhafer Abdalla, an adviser to Iraq's Ministry of Water Resources, told The Associated Press that the country has only enough water to irrigate half its farmland this summer. But farmers fault the government for failing to modernize how it manages water and irrigation, and they blame neighboring Turkey for stopping up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers behind dams it wants to keep building. (more)

Tens of thousands of Kenyans go hungry after floods - aid agencies
4 July 2018 - Tens of thousands of survivors of Kenya's worst floods in recent years are living on the brink with barely enough food to eat two months after the disaster, aid workers warned on Wednesday (4 July), calling on authorities to provide increased funding and support. Incessant heavy rainfall in March and April caused dams and rivers in parts of the East African nation to overflow, submerging crops, and washing away homes. At least 186 people died and more than 300,000 others were forced to flee. (more)

German farmers see big crop losses due to warm weather: paper
24 June 2018 - German farmers could lose around half their harvests -- and in some cases all of them -- due to unusually warm temperatures and dryness seen in May, the head of the German Farmers' Association said in an interview published on Sunday (24 June). 'We had the warmest May this year since weather records have been kept,' Joachim Rukwied, the head of the farmers' group told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. 'In the north and the east, the crops have dried out. As a result, we expect crop losses of 50 to 60 percent in some regions, all the way to total losses.' (more)

Pakistan's 'shocking' spring heat drives up water use, health risks
31 May 2018 - Nawabshah, a city in Pakistan's southern Sindh province, made headlines last month when it hit what may be a new record world temperature for April: 50.2 degrees (122 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the World Meteorological Organization. But that blisteringly hot day was just the latest of many for Pakistan this year, as it faces fast-rising spring temperatures, with 45-degree Celsius days coming as early as March, weather officials say. ... But today, as temperatures get warmer and spring weather drier, 'soil moisture is around 80 percent less compared to some eight to 10 years ago,' [said Khalid Ahmed Kazi, an agro-meteorologist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department's station in Tando Jam, in southern Sindh province]. (more)

US: Antibiotics in meat could be damaging our guts
25 May 2018 - The F.D.A. banned the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals last year. One organic cattle farmer is sure the ban is being flouted. In 2015, Sandy Lewis, a small-time organic cattle farmer in upstate New York, bought 13 bulls ... from a breeder in Oklahoma. A few weeks after the animals were trucked to his farm near the Vermont border, Mr. Lewis discovered that two of the bulls had died. He could see holes in their abdomens from where they had gored one other. A field autopsy proved inconclusive. When two more bulls among the new herd fell sick, Mr. Lewis shipped them off to Cornell University to be examined. One died along the way, but a blood test on the living bull provided the answer: It had anaplasmosis, a bacterial illness that destroys red blood cells and deprives the animals of oxygen, causing them at times to act violently. (more)

Shorter, hotter, earlier: Shrinking spring slashes Pakistani harvests
21 May 2018 - Pakistan's farmers are struggling to bring in a harvest as the country's weather patterns change as a result of climate change. Warm spring weather, now coming as early as March, has led to fruit trees flowering before bees arrive to pollinate them, for instance, or fruit and vegetables ripening at unusual times. Farmer Muntazir Khan has seen his harvest of beets and tomatoes fall by 40 percent this year on his 3-acre family farm in Taxila, about 35 kms (22 miles) from Islamabad, despite planting seeds on time and applying the right fertiliser. ... The problem, the farmers agree, is that spring is getting shorter, hotter, and earlier. (more)

Emergency alerts loom as drought takes hold in war-torn Afghanistan
23 April 2018 - Afghanistan faces the threat of serious drought this year after recording the lowest snowfall and rain in years over the winter, officials said on Monday (23 April), with at least 20 of 34 provinces already suffering badly. The 20 provinces in the war-torn country saw a 60 percent shortfall in rain and snowfall during the winter season. . . . snowfall in Afghanistan's last winter season was the lowest since 2002. Snowmelt is an important source of water for crops and irrigation in a country where food is scarce for many households. (more)

Heavily used herbicide tied to shorter pregnancies
2 April 2018 - More than 90 percent of pregnant women in a small Indiana study had glyphosate in their urine, and higher concentrations were associated with earlier deliveries. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the most heavily used herbicide in the United States and worldwide, the study team writes in the journal Environmental Health. (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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