New research concludes that the poorest people in the world will be affected the most by higher CO2 levels, which may decrease the nutritional quality of rice. This conclusion, however, is based on at least two flawed assumptions.
On average, across natural habitats all over the world, the western honey bee is the most common pollinator, responsible for 13 percent of flower visits. Researchers also found that 5 percent of the plant species they studied were exclusively visited by the western honey bee.
A recent study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, reveals a supposed association between high pesticide exposure and fewer pregnancies, as well as fewer live births in women receiving fertility treatments.
Exaggerating the extent of the challenges we face might help someone sell a product, but it provides little confidence in its reliability.
Mergers may be a great business decision, but they may not be great for society. If the European Union is not distracted by politics and anti-GMO activists – and if it's able to focus solely on the economic pros and cons of a merger – it is engaging in appropriate regulatory oversight. (But that's a big "if.")
There's the unsupported belief that organic farming is better for the environment. While there are many reasons this isn't true, German and Sweden researchers have just found another: While the carbon footprint associated with both conventional and organic diets is roughly equal, an organic diet requires 40% more land.
Reputations are funny – they take years to build but seconds to destroy. Cargill, a company that provides all manner of agricultural products and services, ruined its reputation with farmers and science writers by announcing a partnership with the thoroughly wretched Non-GMO Project, an anti-biotech organization.
An increasing regulatory burden has a disproportionate impact on the small farmer. Larger farms can absorb the high cost of increased compliance, and can afford to hire lawyers and compliance personnel to navigate regulations. As a result, farms and agricultural businesses are forced to get big, or shut down.
Outside of the Western world, insect consumption is common. The Chinese, for instance, will eat just about anything that crawls on six (or more) legs. Centipedes and fried scorpions appear on the menu. Not only is entomophagy widespread, it's also probably healthier for people -- and the planet -- than eating other animals.
Organic farming produces 20% fewer crops. An inefficient food production system is, by definition, not sustainable. The authors also underscore this point by noting that “if all US wheat production were grown organically, an additional 12.4 million hectares (30.6 million acres) would be needed to match 2014 production levels.” Extrapolate that out to the rest of the globe, and one can easily see how organic farming cannot feed the world.
The stoic farmer farmer of today is much like the stoic scientist: neither likes the idea of self-promotion. But because neither group likes that task, the discourse about their work is instead framed by well-funded detractors.
We ve taken NYTimes columnist Mark Bittman to task many times for his superficial understanding of the food business, economics, or even common sense. His most recent story is no different: he advocates for weed foraging on city streets as a source of nutritious, organic food in underserved