Another great talk — by Abby Harned from Three Sisters Farm in Redlands CA — at our Redlands horticulture meeting last night. (One advantage of being program chair is you get to invite wonderful speakers.) We learned first-hand how an organic farm is set up, and how they attract natural predators –insect and mammals that include coyotes and weasels — to take care of pests. They also plant rows of native plants and pollinator-attracting plants that provide habitat for beneficial insects. It was obvious that Abby and her husband, Jason, really love what they do. [Read more…]
In writing an article for the Organic Trade Association I came across an interesting program that certifies livestock producers (ranches, farms) for having wildlife-friendly and even predator-friendly practices. They allow carnivores such as coyotes and foxes to co-exist with their agricultural practice. What a great concept. [Read more…]
It’s nearing October and I’m still seeing some butterflies around – a few Western Tiger Swallowtails although they’re much fewer, some Cabbage Whites and a variety of those little orange ones that I’ve given up identifying. I checked in with a couple butterfly aficionados on what plants were ushering in the butterflies during the late summer months. [Read more…]
Note: A more recent post is available that discusses the milkweed varieties (tropical vs native) in the comments section
An article on page three of today’s Los Angeles Times talked about declining monarch butterfly numbers in Mexico where it winters. But here is an important takeaway that was buried a bit in the article: the use of genetically modified crops (GMOs) in the midwest where the monarch breeds contains Roundup (glyphosphate) that is killing the monarch’s vial food source — the milkweed plant . [Read more…]
Buying organic or shade grown coffee is an easy way to support biodiversity. We’ve been buying bulk coffee beans online – from Higher Trading Grounds – for about eight years now. You might come across the term ‘shade-grown’ coffee and wonder what that means, so here is some info on it. Jennifer Yeatts from Higher Trading Grounds, where we’ve been ordering our bulk coffee beans for many years, explained that organic coffee is almost always shade grown, and shade grown coffee is almost certainly organic. “So when you buy organic, you’re supporting biodiversity and birds,” she said
I’ve been following the campaign dollars and the newspaper endorsements surrounding Proposition 37 –where a yes vote would approve the genetically engineered foods labeling initiative.
Polls conducted two months ago showed 2/3 voters supporting it. Now, after a huge ad blitz against the initiative – according to a Reuters article today, $46 million have spent – it’s expected to fail. [Read more…]