Sunday, 25 May 2008

New Opportunity or new threat?

Will a new initiative aimed at promoting local produce have it's desired effect or will it have a negative effect on small independent shops? Read here.

Forgotten Fruits

Forgotten Fruits is a natural and social history guide to Britain´s heritage of traditional fruit and vegetable varieties. Read more here.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

International Day of Biodiversity

Today is International Day for Biodiversity and the special theme this year is Biodiversity and Agriculture. The Conference of Parties to the CBD is in full swing, debating many burning issues related to this theme.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Nuala O'Faolain

The sad passing of Nuala O'Faolain.

Ireland second in terms of effective aid to Africa

The Centre for Global Development in its Commitment to Development Index (CDI) has ranked Ireland second in its commitment to development in Africa. The report ranked Ireland together with Sweden and Britain as the three European nations doing more to assist the continent in seven development categories. Read more here.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Before and after!

Clear evidence of neglect before the event and dereliction of duty and care afterwards. Number of deaths fast approaching 100,000. Who is preparing the indictment?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Well I have only been here three weeks and I am still trying to figure out where to start.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The Mulino at Maccarese

There is a lovely collection of photographs depicting rural life in the Maccarese area outside of Rome in the Bioversity International publication, 'The Mulino at Maccarese' which is written by my friend Jeremy Cherfas over at the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog. The photographs are from the Migrazione e lavoro exhibition and have been provided by Ernesto Benelli. The book containing the photogaphs can be downloaded from the Bioversity website which also contains some useful information on the the history of Bioveristy, the Maccarese area and Italian plant genetic resources. A nice read!

Doing porridge!

I forgot to mention earlier how in the last few months I have got seriously back into porridge, experimenting with a diverse range of nuts, dried fruits and anything else that will sit nicely in the sticky mix. I highlight this because I had a rather disturbing experience with porridge when as a young child my mother put butter milk in the mix instead of normal milk. I don't think there was anything sinister intended but it certainly left a bad taste (Frank McCourt, you know nothing about the miserable Irish childhood!). Anyway, the bad experience is now in the past and I am back enjoying a two bowls of porridge each weekend. Why only two? 'Well, I'd eat it all the time if it wasn't for the cleaning of the pot', I actually overheard a group of slightly inebriated pensioners in a pub in Belfast recently discussing porridge and this was what one of them remarked about the delicacy. I tend to agree, especially when one is living on their own. It's easier to live on pints of porter! But the hard work is worth it and I foresee porridge being a major part of my diet for years to come. And to think I might not be eating porridge at all if a few oat seeds had not been unintentionally carried along with other cultivated cereals into the more moist cental and northern parts of Europe a few thousand years ago.

Crisis, what crisis? The food crisis, a case of deja vu?

Over at the Global Crop Diversity Trust there is a nice analysis of the current food crisis and repeating events. Check it out here.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Propitious Esculent, The Potato in World History

There is ordinary food, and then there is the potato: the superfood. It grows at the altitude of Mont Blanc, or at sea level. It survives in the arid lands, it flourishes in the glacial north, it runs wild in the rainforest. Each tuber contains all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, calories and cellulose necessary for life: a healthy adult could survive indefinitely, though perhaps unenthusiastically, on potatoes alone. Read more about John Reader's latest book, Propitious Esculent.

Monday, 5 May 2008

The Future Control of Food

THE FUTURE CONTROL OF FOOD: A Guide to International Negotiations and Rules on Intellectual Property, Biodiversity and Food Security is the first wide-ranging guide to the key issues of intellectual property and ownership, genetics, biodiversity, and food security. Proceeding from an introduction and overview of the issues, comprehensive chapters cover negotiations and instruments in the World Trade Organization, Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, and various other international bodies. The final part discusses civil society responses to relevant changes and developments in these issues, how they affect the direction of research and development, the nature of global negotiation processes and various alternative futures.

Published by Earthscan and IDRC the book is available for download here.